Tag Archives: montana

Thursday 24th June 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… really tiring day today – so much so that I was stark out for a couple of hours round about midday and ended up having a very late lunch.

And that’s really no surprise because in what time was available I did quite a lot of work.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I struggled out of bed and went off to take my medication. And then back here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

I’d been to see a band play – it might have been Strife – and then a while later they were in a rehearsal room or village hall setting up for a kind of concert. They were going through a few things before they started, talking about stuff on the stage and said “we’re a bit overwhelmed with basses as well because Eric has his stuff here as well and someone else has his stuff” and so on. A little later on he took me on one side and said “did you learn the three numbers like I asked?” I replied “well to be quite honest no I didn’t”. He said “right” and fetched a pile of paperwork out. He said “someone worked out a way of teaching people how to follow music a bit like some kind of game. All you need to do is to watch your ‘phone and watch the paper”. He drew this kind of musical anotation thing with each string going down to the end of the page and then it doubled back going the other way rather like Chinese writing. He said “this is far the easiest way to learn and I’ll show you how it all works in a minute”. I was really intrigued by this method. Anyway sometime during this I’d been to the supermarket or the chip shop or something and while I was waiting around for this group to turn up I bumped into a girl and she gave me a really nice smile. I looked puzzled and she said “you don’t remember me but I was the girl in the shop yesterday. I made a special effort to remember everyone’s faces because I’m new here”. She was really extremely friendly about this kind of thing and that took me by surprise as well.

Having organised myself as well as I can these days I had an hour or so attacking the photos from August 2019. Right now I’m in Montana on the verge of making a fabulous discovery.

That was followed by a shower and – surprise surprise – a haircut. And having tidied myself sort-of-ish and set the washing machine of on a cycle (a very clever washing machine, mine) I hit the streets.

lorries unloading at quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that I had actually managed to proceed very far before I stopped to take a photo.

Yesterday we had seen the two Jersey freighters Normandy Trader and Thora here in the port. By the time that I went out this morning they had both cleared off back to Jersey but it looks as if they (or at least, one of them) is going to be back fairly soon.

These two lorries here are the reason for that. The only reason that they would be here in the port area is if they are bringing merchandise to the quayside for the little freighter to take away back to Jersey with them.

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFull of curiosity I went to see what was going on in the loading bay but I was distracted.

Marité, the old fishing vessel now used for training and sightseeing trips has been away from port for the last week or two but this morning she is back. She’s definitely the star attraction of the waterfront so a photo was in order.

Every time that I see her I’m tempted to find out how and when I can go off on her for a sail but I’m not a big fan of the people who run it. Every time that you go down to their office and ask a question they scowl at you as if “how dare you interrupt us?”, tell me that “everything is on our website” and then go back to chatting amongst themselves.

It’s the kind of thing that makes me wonder if they are Belgians. They certainly know all about Belgian customer service.

It was a long, hard climb up the hill to LIDL this morning. I remember a few times when I sailed up there like a Spanish galleon or if I was on my way to invade Poland but those days are over. After my operation I’ve aged 20 years and I felt every single, solitary step up that hill

At LIDL I didn’t buy anything special but even so the bill today came to almost €13:00. I did buy myself an energy drink because I reckoned that that would be the only way that I’d get up the hill at the other end of my journey.

roofers fitting laths around chimney rue de la houle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back, I hadn’t gone all that far before I came to a stop.

Here in the Rue de la Houle they have been reroofing a house and today they are fitting a series of laths around the chimney as if they are going to be tiling that too. In fact, if you look further along the roof, you can see a chimney that has already been tiled by the roofers.

It’s a strange way of going about things, tiling a chimney like that. All kinds of things can be going on to the chimney, the brickwork and the cementing underneath the tiles and you won’t be able to see it until the chimney collapses. And as I looked at this one, it certainly needed a bit of fixing before they go to seal it in.

digger building site rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing upon which we have been keeping an eye is the building site on the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

There used to be a little cafe here but that had long-since closed. They demolished it and fenced off the site a few months ago, and then a notice appeared to the effect that planning permission had been granted for a 4-storey block of flats.

Today though, I noticed that things might be starting to get under way at long last. As well as some equipment that has been deposited on the sire, there’s a digger here and it looks as if he’s just dug a big rectangular hole in the middle of the plot.

As for why, we’ll have to wait and see. I pushed off down the hill into town where I became entangled in a schoolkids’ crocodile that had obviously just set off from the youth hostel.

As I passed through the town I noticed my first “G” registered car. The turnover is about 2 years and a couple of months for a letter, but the “F” plates started in October 2018. It shows you just what effect Covid had on the new car sales market.

wood on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallUp the hill I staggered underneath my heavy load, wishing that I had a shopping trolley to take with me, and made several stops to catch my breath – one of which was the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay.

That pile of wood wasn’t there yesterday evening and it won’t have come over from Jersey because wood travels in the other direction. It made me wonder if that was what one of the lorries had brought in this morning for one of the Jersey freighters to take away.

Over the next couple of days I’ll have to be keeping my eye open on the quayside. The turn-round of the freighters in the port is so rapid these days that I miss their visits quite regularly. By seeing when the load has gone from the quayside, that will tell me when one of them has been in here.

square potel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRight behind where I’m standing is the Square Potel, which at one time had the famous unstable set of steps.

Work has been promised to start on here in 2022 but the other day we saw a digger in here and it looked as if it had just brought down the set of steps. I was wondering if that was going to herald the start of the work, a year or so ahead, but that was being rather optimistic, I reckon. The digger has gone and the site is fenced off and that looks to be it for now.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the way that the patrimony of he town is treated is a disgrace. The whole place seems to be tumbling down around our ears and the council is showing no sense of urgency.

fishing boat towing dinghy baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHeading back up the hill on my last leg(s) home I noticed something else going on.

There was a boat out there, moving quite quickly and towing a smaller boat behind it. Thinking that it might have been the patrol boat that we have seen a coupe of times just recently I took a photograph of it so that I could have a closer look when I returned home.

However when I enlarged it back at the apartment I noticed that it was simply an ordinary fishing boat heading out to sea. So why it would be towing another boat behind it I don’t know, unless it’s to go closer inshore when it arrives at wherever it’s going.

Back at the apartment I put the frozen food in the freezer, made myself some hot chocolate and cut myself a slice of fruit bread, and then came in here to carry on working.

At some point I crashed right out completely and I don’t know when, because it was another one of those occasions when I didn’t remember going off to sleep.

And this is something that worries me because if I’m going to be out driving around in Caliburn here and there, I would really like to know when I’m becoming tired and ready to sleep so that I can find a suitable place to stop and sleep it off. Just “switching off” like this is the kind of thing from which accidents are made.

Round about 14:00 I awoke again and it took me a good 10 or 15 minutes to orientate my head into the right direction. And when I finally managed to stand on my own two feet I was somewhat unsteady as I staggered around the apartment but I eventually managed to find my way into the kitchen to make a rather late lunch.

After lunch I had a task to complete. Well, to start actually. I have a huge pile of medical receipts that need scanning and then sending off to my insurance company to claim reimbursement. I made a start on some that I had to hand, and then had to break off to go for my afternoon walk.

hang glider point du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHardly had I managed to set foot outside my front door before the dark shadow fell upon me.

It’s the kind of thing that makes me understand what the Hobbits went through as they were being overflown my the Nazgul in LORD OF THE RINGS but of course there’s very little that is sinister in this particular occasion because we all know what’s going on here and there is no evil intent, unless one happens to crash-land on your head.

Yes, we have quite a wind (yet again) today and so the hang-gliders are out in force. There is probably half a dozen out there this afternoon.

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not all of the aerial activity. Not by a long shot.

After the incident with the hang-glider I’d probably gone no more than half a dozen paces before I was overflown by something else. That’s right, someone has got his chopper out this afternoon and is flying around the headland.

It’s not the usual yellow and red air-sea rescue helicopter that we have seen on so many occasions but its grey-green colour suggests to me that it’s a military machine and I wonder why one of those has decided to come out to entertain us today.

Nevertheless it reminds me of the story in which a class of schoolchildren were asked to write a sentence including the words “chaste” and “by helicopter”. And one boy wrote “the boy chaste the girl and by helicopter”.

hang glider beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that I always like to do is to go out and check on the beach and see how the tide is doing and whether there are any people taking advantage of it.

One thing that you’ll notice is just how much beach there is compared to YESTERDAY AT ROUGHLY THE SAME TIME. There’s about 50 minutes time difference between each high tide, so comparing this photo and that of yesterday give you some idea of how quickly the water comes in

But anyway, there are a few people out there enjoying themselves on the beach this afternoon, even if they are about to be overflown by the Nazgul that is hovering away in the distance.

tape marking path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier this morning round about 07:15 or something like that I heard a lot of noise – schoolchildren cheering and all that kind of thing. But I couldn’t see anything from here.

But what I noticed this afternoon as I went on my afternoon walk around the headland is that some kind of path had been marked out by all of these tapes. It made quite a circuit and so I wondered if there had been some kind of race going on around the headland. And maybe that might explain the presence of the schoolchildren whom we saw earlier who seem to be lodging in the youth hostel.

But whatever was happening, it was all over now and there was no-one around to ask. Not even anyone coming to take away the rubbish that they have left and to remove the tapes. Maybe I’ll find something in the local paper tomorrow that might give me a clue as to what has been going on with all of this.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow how I wish that I’d come out for my afternoon walk about 5 or 10 minutes earlier. I might have been treated to an exciting spectacle.

The blue and green object on the ground over there near the gun emplacement is the parachute or whatever they call it of one of these Nazgul It seems that one of the bird-men of Alcatraz has come to grief over there and I was quite disappointed at having missed the spectacle.

Quite a few other people didn’t by the looks of things and there are plenty of people with mobile phones and cameras over there who presumably have recorded the incident. But anyway, the pilot or whatever you might call them doesn’t seem to be injured or anything and he’s up and about on his own two feet organising himself and his parachute.

hang glider taking off pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce he’d gathered up his wits, presumably from wherever he might have dropped them, he made his preparations for getting back into the air.

And getting back into the air seemed to be quite easy. He just lifted up his parachute and the wind filled it full of air. Gently, he rose up and away from the ground, and once he had sufficient height he was able manoeuvre himself and his parachute around and head off back the way that he had come.

The crowds of people watching the spectacle clearly enjoyed it. They had all taken enough photos and even a few films about all of the activity. when they return home to wherever home is, they’ll have plenty of exciting films and photos to show the grandchildren

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile all of this was going on, my eyes had been roving around and when they came back they pointed out more goings-on out at sea.

And so I took off down the path and across the car park down to the end of the headland for a closer look at what was happening. And living in a fishing port, you can expect that there is always something to do with fishing.

With issues going on involving the Channel Islands, which need to be resolved within the next seven days or so, the local fishermen are busy trying to exploit new fishing grounds that don’t fall within the scope of the Treaty of the Bay of Granville that the British Government unilaterally revoked under the pretext of Brexit

And so the Baie de Mont St Michel has become a favourite fishing ground at the moment for several local boats who are trying to see whether they can do any good here.

But the story of the Treaty of the Bay of Granville is that it was signed in 1839 between the Channel Islands and the fishermen of Brittany and Normandy to give fishermen from the three regions equal access to the bay. It was reinforced on many occasions, the latest being in 2000.

The Channel Islands are not and never have been part of the European Union and they are also free to negotiate on their on behalf in local affairs independently of the British Government so there is no reason for the British Government to intervene in the affairs of the Channel Islands.

However, the UK has claimed a 12-mile limit around the Channel Islands after Brexit and has revoked the Treaty without consulting either the Channel Islands or the local fishermen who have fished together in peace since 1839, and this is the subject of the dispute.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the meantime while I’m talking about the Treaty of the Bay of Granville another boat comes in from down the Baie de Mont St Michel.

It’s coming in at quite a rate of knots too so I imagine that it must be late for a tea break or something like that. And as it’s surrounded by seabirds, I’m assuming that it must have quite a harvest on board. And that’s why many of these little shellfish-catchers have canopies or tilts across the cargo space – to prevent dive-bombing by the seabirds eager for a cheap and easy meal.

But I’m not going to hang about too long watching it. I’m taking to the path, despite all of the people ignoring the Prefet’s regulations on face masks, to see what’s happening in the harbour.

yacht rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd today, we have another change of occupancy in the chantier navale.

At the moment we’re down to just one boat in here, the yacht Rebelle from London. The other boat that was in here, the fishing boat Gwenn Ha Ruz, or “White and Red” has now departed, presumably back into the water to carry on with whatever it is that she does.

Who will be the next arrival in the chantier navale, I wonder. as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … a thriving ship repairing business is good for the port because it encourages people to base their boats, whether working boats or pleasure boats, in the port where they can be assured of a good and reliable repair and maintenance service.

fishing boat aground ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut this issue of people leaving their fishing boats to go aground when the tide is out instead of mooring them in the inner harbour is still continuing.

There’s another one moored over there this afternoon, right at the ferry terminal. So here’s hoping that none of the joly France ferries to the ile de Chausey want to go out or come in. We know that the Channel Islands ferries Granville and Victor Hugo won’t be going out any time soon.

But as for going out, I’m going back in. I’m ready for a nice piping hot coffee and then I can carry on with the work that I’m doing, sorting out the receipts for my medical expenses and getting them ready to submit to my insurance company.

And by the time I’d sorted them out, I found that there were two months missing. I remember one month where I wasn’t seen by a doctor at the hospital and so didn’t receive a prescription, but I don’t know what happened to the other month. I certainly had a prescription but there’s no mention anywhere of me going to a pharmacy to collect the medication, so I can’t have done.

By the time that it was guitar practice, I was still a long way from sorting them out, never mind scanning them. That’s a job for tomorrow. and so is guitar practice, I reckon, because I’m not making all that much progress with what I want to do. It’s a slow, laborious task.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, because I bought some this morning, followed by apple pie and coconut whatsit. But that’s the last of the coconut so I’m going to treat myself to some custard tomorrow and Saturday.

And now I’m off to bed. I’ve finally caught up with everything that I did today and I’m ready for a good sleep. Tomorrow I’mm continue sorting out my receipts. There must be €1000 here so it’s “spend spend, spend” I don’t think.

Saturday 17th April 2021 – REGULAR READERS …

fisherman throwing fish back into sea beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… of this rubbish will recall that we have watched fisherman after fisherman standing on the rocks, or in boats, or on the beach, day after day after week after week and never ever catching anything at all.

And here we are today, watching a fisherman with a fish in his hand, and what is he doing except throwing it back into the sea. The first one that we’ve ever seen caught around here.

Mind you, this is a bit of a cheat. It looks as if he’s had a fishing net out on the beach while the tide has been in and while it’s on its way out, he’s gone out there to retrieve his catch. But as for why he would want to thrown one of his catch back into the sea is totally beyond me. I don’t understand this at all.

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s not the only thing that’s been puzzling me this afternoon. We’ve had another one of these aerial afternoons today, with an endless stream of aircraft going by overhead.

Not any big stuff unfortunately – that is to say, nothing that I could see, and that is no surprise given the thick 10/10ths clouds that we’ve had today. We probably couldn’t see a thing about two or three thousand feet. Instead we’ve had a procession of all kinds of light aircraft going past me while I was on my afternoon walk.

This is just one of the machines that flew by me. It’s a helicopter of course but it’s of a type that I don’t immediately recognise with its twin outriggers at the rear. The make will probably occur to me once I’ve pressed “send” and published these notes, as this sort of thing usually does.

This morning I was up with the lark and the first alarm yet again, and then after my medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I had actually been in Vienna. It was something to do with the cathedral. It was a huge place and there were all kinds of things happening to it so they had set up a team to keep watch on there. Some of the watching was discreet and some of the watching was public. There was a theatre there and a couple of people who were involved in this, at the end of the night when everyone had gone would audition acts who would act out in the theatre. There would be actors, dancers, that kind of thing and I’m often stay up at night and watch. I really couldn’t tell the difference between a good actor and a bad actor from the standard at which they were dealing because they weren’t dealing with the ordinary run-of-the-mill stuff and some of the acerbic comments that they were making about some people I didn’t understand at all because it was way over my head. But it was extremely interesting. The cathedral authorities were receiving notes or finding notes such as “what about the damage to such-and-such cathedral over 11 years that went un-noticed and they were spending all of their time examining what was happening here?” These were generally dismissed as being to work of ineffective or weak people whereas some notes they were taking far more seriously because of the style in which they had been written. This dream went on for ages and ages and there was much more to it than this. I just wish that I could remember it all.

First task this morning after the dictaphone was to deal with the photos from August 2019. And I’ve found to my dismay that I’ve made a rather serious error. While I was in North America I visited the site of Fort CF Smith in Montana and although the remains have been described as “difficult to see”, I couldn’t see them at all.

With everything that I’ve been through, I would have thought that I would have been able to discern something so I was disappointed.

But examining a few aerial and satellite photographs I’ve discovered that the Lady Who Lives In The Satellite has some how made an error of about 200 metres because while the GPS co-ordinates on the Satnav gave me one reading, the same co-ordinates typed into a satellite viewer come up with a place on the other side of the road.

And to make things even worse, from the satellite, the outline of the fort is clearer than anything similar that I have ever seen.

Ahh well. You can’t win a coconut every time. I shall just have to go back there again.

There was a break in the middle of all of this for a shower, and then later on I went for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread. No shopping today as I’m off on my travels on Wednesday at … gulp … 05:55.

There have been a few things that I needed to do this morning too. Like emptying out the mailbox, claiming a refund for my delayed train the other week before the time period runs out, and then trying to make a recalcitrant shipping company reply to a message that I’ve sent them four times now.

After lunch I came back in here to carry on with some work but unfortunately I crashed out yet again. I was away for over an hour as well and I’m not very happy about that. But at least I’ve managed to catch up with some outstanding work that I’ve been meaning to do, and that’s another task completed.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a break for my afternoon walk of course and so I went out with the NIKON D500 and peered over the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

This afternoon I wasn’t expecting to see very much because the weather was totally depressing. Dark, overcast and miserable. There were a few people walking around down there but not too many actually making themselves comfortable.

The members of the little group in this photograph were just about the only people standing around, although I suspect that they were more interested in the little kiddy that was running around

And of course, there was the fisherman with his net …

Nothing else was going on around here and I had the footpath on the top of the cliffs to myself

boat le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour, was swathed in darkness today in the miserable weather.

So much so that in fact I was surprised to note that it wasn’t illuminated, especially as the tide was well out today and the rock was exposed. There was a fisherman around there too, in his rubber boat, having a go at the sea bass and being singularly unsuccessful.

There wasn’t anything else going on out there this afternoon. For a change, there were no fishing boats in the Baie de Mont St Michel either. They must be having the weekend off.

So in the absence of anything else exciting, I carried on along the path and across the main road where a Mercedes actually stopped to let me cross. Wonders will never cease.

cherie d'amour chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe yellow fishing boat was down there in the chantier navale and once again the ladder was propped up against the hull so I couldn’t see the name on it.

With nothing better to do, I went for a walk down there for a closer look and I can now tell you that she’s called Cherie d’Amour. She’s up there on her chocks and blocks, but I couldn’t actually see any signs of work that was being undertaken on her.

They aren’t very big, these fishing boats. But all they do is to go back and to to the shellfish beds and lay the odd lobster pot. And as I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … they have a cover over the boat to stop the seabirds diving down to steal the catch.

aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was down there, I took the opportunity to have a look at the other more longer-term occupants of the Chantier Navale, like Aztec Lady over there.

She’s actually the longest inhabitant of the Chantier Navale and she’s been there longer than I can remember, and longer than I ever thought she would when she first arrived here all that time ago.

And despite all of the time that she’s been in here, she looks as if she has a long way to go yet. Her hull is looking rather shabby and in need of a coat of paint. I would have thought that they would have given the paintwork a good going over to freshen her up while she’s been here.

anakena chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe other boat that has been in here for a good length of time is this one, Anakena.

And seen from this angle, out of the water and up on blocks, you can see that she’s a very serious piece of kit, well beyond what you’d expect to see in a port like this. The carrying capacity of the portable boat lift is 95 tonnes and I bet that she’s pretty near the maximum.

What I do know is that she’s 23 metres long and 5 metres wide and she would have been the kind of boat that I would have considered for a trip up to the far North except that she’s only single-hulled.

Nothing else of any note in the Chantier Navale so I wandered off back towards the apartment.

f-brnq Piper PA-28R-200 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHalfway home, I started to encounter the aerial flotilla that I mentioned earlier.

This particular one is a Piper PA-28R-200, serial number F-BRNQ. I’ve no idea where she had come from but she was picked up on the radar just to the west of Chartres. She then disappeared off the radar somewhere to the south-west of St Hilaire du Harcouet about 15 minutes before I saw her.

Apparently she had taken off from Lognes at the south-east of Paris at 14:47 and landed at Granville at 16:22. And at 17:18 the took off again and flew back to Lognes. She spends a lot of time at Lognes, so it seems, so it’s a fair bet that Lognes is her home airfield.

light aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe saw the helicopter earlier on. That was the next thing to fly past, but then it was followed by this machine.

This is a type of machine that I’ve seen before. I recognise the shape, but it’s another thing to which I cannot put a name. It’s something else that I’ll probably discover quite soon after I’ve posted this on-line.

But I really don’t understand why it is that there would be so many aircraft, one after the other, flying past over my head this afternoon as I was walking home for my hot coffee. It did make me wonder what I’d be encountering next before I reached my own front door.

modern morgan v twin rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it goes without saying that after all of this I was going to encounter something unusual before my journey finished.

This machine roared past me as I crossed over the Rue des Juifs and at first glance I thought that it might have been the Holy Grail of road vehicles – a V-twin three-wheeler Morgan. That’s probably what it might be, although it’s not what I was hoping for. A lose look at the engine and the front of the chassis shows that it’s a modern reproduction.

What I was hoping to see was a 3-wheeler Morgan from the 1920s and 30s fitted with the old V-twin JAP engine, something that I would sell my soul to own if ever one became available. But I doubt whether one will ever come up for sale in the near future.

Back here there was football. TNS v Penybont on the internet. As expected, TNS ran out winners 1-0, but they were made to work hard for it.

Penybont defended really well but like most Welsh Premier League clubs, were devoid of very much firepower. Sam Snaith is the one player whom they have who can pull something out of nothing but taking him off the field after an hour because he hasn’t doe anything much as yet and replacing him with a player who doesn’t have the same flashes of inspiration and who needs much more service was a tactic that was never going to pay off.

And that’s a surprise considering that Penybont’s manager Rhys Griffiths was one of the greatest strikers that the WPL has ever produced.

While I was doing that I was copying the CDs that I had received from the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival. I’m going to be doing a radio programme in the near future that features music from the Festivals.

Tea was out of a tin tonight, followed by one of the desserts that I made the other day. And now I’ve done my notes, I’m off to bed and hopefully having a lie-in tomorrow. And about time too. I’m ready for this.

Thursday 15th April 2021 – THERE’S BEEN SOME …

hermes 1 going back into the water with the portable boat lift aztec lady nyx 3 anakena notre dame de cap lihou chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… excitement this morning over at the chantier navale.

If you look closely at this photo that I took this morning of the place, you’ll notice that Hermes I has now disappeared from its blocks in between Anakena and the pleasure craft Nys III and left them all on their own with Aztec Lady at the back and with the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou over there on the far right.

And if you look even closer still, you’ll see the portable boat lift poised over the drop into the water over on the left-hand side, with Hermes I suspended in its cradle.

So it’s goodbye to Hermes I after all of this time.

anakena nyx 3 aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not all of the excitement over there either.

When I was out there for my afternoon walk and went past the chantier navale, I noticed that there had been yet another change of occupant. The lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou has also gone back into the water, presumably on the same tide that took Hermes I away earlier.

Things are really moving over there right now. And here’s hoping that they will have a few replacements over there to keep the yard busy.

Talking of things being busy, I’ve been quite busy today too. And I started quite early too, having leapt out of bed just after the first alarm went off at 06:00.

After the medication I attacked the photos from North America from August 2019. And by the time that I knocked off for my shower I’d dealt with another big pile of them. I’ve now left the site of the Battle of Little Big Horn and I’m actually at a coal mine at Decker in Montana on my way to the site of the Battle of the Rosebud.

After the shower I headed off into town for my weekly shopping excursion, having a glance at what was going on at the chantier navale on my way.

roadworks rue general patton Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown in the Rue General Patton I had to step pretty smartly to avoid being squidged by a mini-digger.

It looks like it’s the local water board that are doing all of the work here, judging by the fittings and pipes that they had all lying around, so there’s probably been a water leak that has required fixing.

First port of call this morning was the railway station to pick up my rail tickets for my trip to Leuven next week.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I like to collect my tickets a few days before I travel because the printing machine at the station isn’t all that reliable. The ticket office doesn’t open until long after my train departs and if there’s a fault with the machine and it doesn’t print off my ticket when I arrive for my train, I’m snookered.

emptying tarmacadam for road surface rue du rocher Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way from the station to LIDL there was more excitement going on.

There’s a little narrow street close to the railway station and it looks as if they are replacing the tarmac on the street. They can’t get the lorry down there so they are tipping the tarmac into a small dumper that it taking the tarmac down to the end.

In LIDL there wasn’t much that I wanted so it was just the usual same old bits and pieces with a few extra things that I need sometimes, like yeast, oats, flour and suchlike, just to make up the weight. There’s no point in going all that way and back again and coming back with almost nothing.

Back here I sorted out the shopping, put the frozen food away and came in here to do some work but ended up going to sleep – a proper, deep, exhausting sleep for quite a while too.

As a result my lunch was quite late and then afterwards I made the desserts for the rest of the week. I had some of this powder stuff that when heated an mixed with milk, sets into a kind of mousse. With a few spoonfuls of desiccated coconut and a tin of apricots I made four desserts for the next few days.

And then I had a totally new experience. I attended a virtual funeral.

This was one to which I had been invited but due to the virus the number of attendees was quite restricted. There is a service offered by some of the larger crematoria where there’s a webcam and people can subscribe to the service. I’d been sent the log-in details and so I used them to watch the funeral

It was actually a quite moving experience

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the service it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk. Of course the first port of call was to see what was going on on the beach so I took myself across the car park to the wall at the end so I could look down there.

Despite the reasonable weather and the fact that the schools are still out for now, there were very few people down there on the beach. I had to look long and hard before I actually saw anyone. There were no bright yellow ones today to give the game away.

There was also the bird of prey flying around, and at one point it stopped to hover around. And just as I focused the camera it swopped down out of my shot.

trawler in english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a great deal of maritime activity out there this afternoon.

From my vantage point I could see out to sea and I noticed a couple more fishing boats out there in the English Channel, performing the same routine as the two yesterday had been, only slightly farther round to the west today.

The sun was really bright over there in that direction, and that made the photography difficult. But it was interesting to see the reflection of the clouds on the sea. That was certainly something different today.

There weren’t very many people wandering around this afternoon so it was pretty comfortable out there this afternoon, avoiding the crowds. Just one or two cars on the car park this afternoon.

trawlers in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last couple of days we’ve seen fishing boats working in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

There were a few more out there today as well. It seems that the offshore fishing grounds must be divided up into areas that they work by rota, and it must be the turn of the bay to be worked at the moment. I wonder how long they’ll be working that area before they move on.

From there I moved on too. Along the footpath on top of the cliffs towards the port.

We’ve already seen what has been going on at the chantier navale so I didn’t spent too much time there. With the tide being well out right now there was no activity of any kind going on in the outer harbour

cherry picker repairing aerial square pelley le pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much going on in the inner harbour either, but the people who were on the cherry picker yesterday working on the aerial in the Square. This seems to be a long, complicated job.

But one thing that I haven’t noticed before, and I don’t know why, is the red and white aerial on the skyline to the right of centre. And when I think of the number of times that I’ve photographed this end of town and the number of times that I’ve walked that way (and anyone who mentions “talcum power” is disqualified) including this morning, I’m surprised.

So instead I walked on back home to my apartment where I had my hot coffee and then came in here to do some work but instead, I fell asleep yet again. That’s something that’s really getting me down. It seems that the slightest effort is making me crash out and I’m fed up of this – fed up completely.

As a result I missed some of my guitar practice and that annoyed me even more. I’m not doing very well at all just recently.

For tea I made a curry with mushrooms, potatoes, a sweet potato and a tin of chick peas. It was delicious. And one of the puddings that I made, with coconut soya stuff and chocolate sauce was delicious.

Now I’m off to bed. later than usual but it can’t be helped. For the next two days I am not planning to go anywhere or do anything so I’m hoping to start on another one of the projects that I shelved a while ago.

There are quite a few of those.

Saturday 3rd April 2021 – HAVING HAD …

… a rather late night last night, I’ve had rather a hard day today.

Despite all of that I was still able to stagger to my feet at the first alarm and take my medication. And then after that I dashed off another batch of photos from August 2019 and my trip around North-Eastern USA.

By the time I finished I was crossing over the Powder River and approaching the border between Montana and Wyoming on my way to Fort Phil Kearny, the scene of probably the greatest defeat of US forces prior to the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

A shower followed that and I set the washing machine off on a cycle (pretty clever, my washing machine) and I set off for the shops with Caliburn. And as I slammed the door the rattle and tinkle inside told me that the handle mechanism has disintegrated.

Now I’m having to scramble out of the passenger door until I can take the interior padding off the door and find out what’s happened.

old cars alpine renault noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut never mind that at the moment – let’s admire what I found parked up outside NOZ this morning.

It’s been quite a while a while since we’ve featured an old car on these pages, so here’s one to be going on with for now. It’s an Alpine Renault and by the look of the rear spoiler it’s an A310 fitted with the 2664 cc V6 PRV engine. The alloy wheels would date it from the late 70s.

The earlier models were fitted with the old Renault 1605 cc or 1647cc 4-cylinder in-line engine but it was woefully underpowered. The new engines made them go like stink but they had a great deal of trouble keeping the back end on the road – hence the rear spoiler.

old cars alpine renault noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was France’s answer to the baby Lotuses and German Porsche 911s but never really caught on. Its rather unusual rear engine and front wheel drive didn’t endear it to the public.

All in all there were about 9,000 examples of the V6 model sold, most of them sold in France. And the small numbers of sales and 40 years since the last one was manufactured make it quite surprising to actually see one still on the road in a place like this.

Now that I’ve taken my photos of the car I went off into NOZ to do my shopping. And it was rather a disappointment in there because there was nothing of any interest in there. All I came away with was a couple of cartons of that smoothie stuff. No Banana this time, just strawberry, but that’s nice too.

Having parked up in LeClerc I went across the road to Intersport where I bought another roll-up rain jacket like the one that I lost somewhere in Canada (a different one and a different place to the one that I left in a Hotel in Calgary).

Now that the weather is warming up I won’t be wearing my winter coat to Leuven. But I’ll still need something light, comfortable and durable to roll up in the backpack in case it rains.

Leclerc came up with nothing whatever of any interest so I bought the minimum that I need and then I drove on home.

But talking of driving, with France going in to a tighter lockdown tonight, the roads into Granville were in gridlock with Parisians fleeing to the coast to escape the lockdown, bringing the virus with them and infecting all of us. Going to the shops was difficult – going home was a nightmare.

Armed with my hot chocolate and slice of sourdough fruit-bread, I came back in here and ended up having a lengthy chat with Liz on the internet.

After lunch I sat down to start on the arrears of my Central European trip but unfortunately crashed out completely and definitely for a good hour or an hour and a half. This meant a rather late walk around the headland.

bathers coming out of water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLooking down over the wall at the end of the car park down onto the beach, I was rather surprised to see a group of people running out of the sea.

Whilst I hadn’t actually seen them in the water I had no doubt whatsoever that they had been in there. And even if I hadn’t been as nesh as I am you wouldn’t have caught me being in the water today. Despite the sun, there was a howling gale blowing and it was freezing. I was dressed for an Arctic winter and I was still cold.

Despite the cold, there were hordes of people prowling around outside. Most of them tourists, I imagine, come over here from other parts of France. The car park for mobile homes was absolutely full and there were vehicles turning up and turning away, disappointed.

f-gbai Robin DR.400-108 Dauphin 80 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking along the path on top of the cliffs, I was overflown by an aeroplane flying in the other direction towards the airport at Donville les Bains.

This aeroplane is F-GBAI, another one of the Robin DR 400s of which we have seen plenty around here. This one is a model 108 Dauphin 80, construction number 1289 and is owned by the Aero Club de Granville. She took off from Granville at 11:11 this morning for an unknown destination.

She took off again from Avranches Le Val Saint-Pere Airport at 16:09 and landed back at Granville Airport at 16:25. That flight corresponds with the time that I saw her.

There was nothing at all going on out at sea that I could see. Not one single boat, so I headed off across the lawn and the car park.

bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the reinforcing in the concrete on the roof of one of the old bunkers here at the Pointe du Roc.

This is the actual bunker concerned. Unfortunately the entrance has all been filled in so it’s not possible to go inside it. But I was interested to see the round aperture just to the left of centre in this photo. It’s actually, would you believe, a periscope so that the people in there could have a good look around without exposing themselves to enemy fire.

And I was right about the tourists. Just looking at the number plates on the cars I could see reference to départements from all over France. It seems that so very few people here care whether they spread the virus around or not and that’s a real disappointment.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I would have had the army out patrolling the roads and preventing so much movement a long time before this.

With nothing at all going on out at sea I walked around the path on the other side to see what was going on in the port.

chausiais joly france ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver at the ferry port we have not only Chausiais but one of the Joly France boats that provides the ferry service out to the Ile de Chausey.

It’s no real surprise to see them over there at the terminal today. With all of the tourists appearing in the town today I would imagine that there are many who will be travelling out to the island today, some of whom will be staying for quite a while.

That would mean that not only will there be plenty of passengers wanting to travel out there as soon as time permits, there will be a lot of freight, like food for example, going out there too and for that they’ll need the services of Chausiais to ship it all out there.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut what doesn’t seem to be going out today are the fishing boats.

There are so many in the inner harbour that they are even having to tie themselves up in the loading bay underneath the crane. It’s a surprise because despite the wind the sea isn’t all that rough and it’s a bright sunny day, just the right kind of day to be out there hauling in the nets or the dredges.

It’s even more of a surprise too when we hear that the temporary agreement made a few weeks ago between the fishermen of Normandy, Brittany and the Channel Islands has been renewed for another short while, and also when there are so many tourists in the town who might be interested in trying some of the local produce.

Having seen or there was to see outside I came back in for my hot coffee and to carry on with my work until it was time to knock off for tea. Taco rolls with the rest of the stuffing from Thursday and followed by the last of the apple crumble with the remains of yesterday’s custard. Thoroughly delicious.

Bedtime now, and a nice lie-in because it’s Sunday. And with it being Easter, more hot cross buns for breakfast. I’m looking forward to that, I can tell you. And then I’m having a baking day, seeing as I’ve run out of pizza dough. I need to sort that out.

Friday 2nd April 2021 – IT’S BANK HOLIDAY …

… today. Good Friday – the day that follows Maundy Thursday, which presumably follows Sheffield Wednesday. And so I had a lie-in and didn’t surface until about 10:30.

Mind you, I didn’t go to bed until 02:30 this morning. And that wasn’t a wasted time either because I spent the couple of hours when I couldn’t sleep working on today’s batch of photograph and probably did about 20 of them too before I went to bed.

Plenty of time for me to go off on one of my travels. Abd hello, Rhys. It’s been a while since you’ve been on a nocturnal voyage with me. I was on a holiday with a group of people and part of this holiday involved a train trip across the USA. There was the opportunity to step out from this train ride for 24 hours and catch the train the following day so I made arrangements to meet Rhys. The train pulled into the station and I climbed out. A couple of other people climbed out as well and went their separate ways. I was waiting because I couldn’t see Rhys’s car. In the meantime I had my rucksack and everything so I took a photograph of the train. Then I noticed Rhys sitting in the bar with a pint of beer in front of him. We said “hello” and he got up to go. I said “no, we don’t have to go – get your drink, drink your beer”. he replied that it wasn’t his beer but the beer of a friend of his. He’d bought it though. Anyway so we came out and started to get my stuff. I had the idea that I would follow him in Caliburn because for some reason Caliburn was there. Then I thought that I didn’t have the insurance on Caliburn so it probably wasn’t a very good idea. We got my stuff and threw it into Rhys’s car. He asked “are you staying the night with us?”. I replied “I don’t have any plans at all” which was quite true. The train was a steamer and had a huge load of freight, oil tankers, that kind of thing on the front of it before you reached the passenger accommodation which was at the rear of the train.

After I’d had my medication I came in here and transcribed the dictaphone notes and then finished off today’s photographs. There was a break for breakfast of course.

With it being Easter I’d dragged out a pack of frozen Hot Cross Buns from the freezer. They’ll keep me going for the Easter period. After all, Easter isn’t Easter without Hot Cross Buns. A big thank you to Liz and Terry for bringing them to me from the UK at Christmas.

When I’d finished the photos I had to go back again and amend some of them. For some reason that I have yet to understand, I never synchronised the times on the two cameras that I was using.

With being in the car now, I’m using the NIKON 1 J5 much more than I did before while I was in the Arctic and there’s a one-hour difference between the time on that camera and on the big NIKON D500.

What’s happening is that I’m editing a batch of photos on one camera and suddenly discovering that I’ve missed a batch off the other, so I have to go back and do some renumbering in order to keep everything in sequence.

But anyway, now they are in proper order to date, I’m now heading down a dirt-track road near the border between Montana and Wyoming looking for the site of the Battle (if you can call it that) of Powder River in 1876.

After that I started again on the arrears of my Central European trip last year. By the time that I knocked off there are just another 12 photos for which I need to write the text, and then it’s all done and I can turn my attention to the trip on Spirit of Conrad down the Brittany coast.

There was a break of course while I went off on my afternoon walk around the headland.

man on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis particular guy down there on the beach is very well camouflaged and it’s difficult to pick him out amongst the rocks down there.

But I don’t blame him at all for being wrapped up like that because while the sun was bright and there were very few clouds, we were back with the wicked wind again and the temperature must have dropped 15 degrees since yesterday. There weren’t any people out there sunning themselves on the beach and I wasn’t surprised at all about that.

It might be a Bank Holiday in the UK but it isn’t in France so the schools are still in and there weren’t all that many people wandering around. I had the path on top of the cliffs pretty much to myself this afternoon as I wandered along.

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut while there weren’t so many people walking around on the ground, there was a lot of activity going on in the air.

As I was walking along the path I heard a very familiar noise in the air and, sure enough, a minute or two later an autogyro flew past overhead. I was expecting it to be our old friend the yellow one but in fact it’s one that I’ve never seen before – a bright red one. A different one, unless it’s the yellow one that’s been repainted.

She’s probably on her way to the airport at the back of Donville les Bains, although I’ve no idea where it is that she will have come from. She never seems to file a flight plan and flies so low that she’s underneath the radar.

concrete reinforcement bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAcross the lawn I went, via a different route today that took me across the ruins of a bunker that housed 15 German soldiers during World War II.

What caught my eye was the wire meshing in the roof that reinforced the concrete that they had poured for the roof. It’s a good heavy duty stuff probably about 10mm in diameter and would withstand most things when set in concrete.

The construction of the Atlantic Wall was supposed to be Hitler’s great secret but what he didn’t realise was that he was betrayed by this even right at the very beginning. The company that had the contract for supplying the concrete was a Belgian company that was run by a guy who was actually a Secret Agent for the Russians, so he told the Russians and they told the British.

Of course the British never let on that they knew, because to admit that the Communists had helped them would have been a terrible thing to do, and it wasn’t until the British wartime papers were released in 1994 that the world knew about it.

f-hgsm Robin DR400 160 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs if the autogyro wasn’t enough, while I was there standing on the roof of the bunker an aeroplane flew past overhead.

This one is F-HGSM, Robin Dr400-160. She is owned by the Aero Club Des Grèves de Mont St Michel and took off from Rennes Airport at 11:49 this morning. She disappeared off the flight radar when she was half-way along the route to Granville so I imagine that she’s been doing a little bit of low-flying exercises as well.

Having photographed the plane I walked down to the end of the headland to see what was going on out in the bay. But the answer to that was “nothing at all” so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs down towards the viewpoint overlooking the port.

lorry load of chains unloaded by pallet lifter rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere was something extremely interesting.

There was a lorry parked down there with a pile of chains in the back. And there was this pallet-lifter nearby, and another small pile of chains on the ground at the back of the lorry. It looks as if the new mooring chains for the harbour have arrived at last and the pallet-lifter is taking them out of the back of the lorry.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw at least one of the diggers being taken away by a lorry. Today, it seems that both of them have gone now. I wonder if they will be back after the Easter Holiday.

joly france victor hugo fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe diggers might have gone from the harbour but most of the fishing boats are still here, tied up at the pontoons.

Now idea why they weren’t out working today. There was plenty of wind but the seas weren’t all that rugh so I would have expected them to have been out working.

The two Channel Island ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville are still in there tied up. They won’t be going anywhere for a good while yet, and not at all if the Channel Islanders refuse to put their hands in their pockets and contribute towards the subsidy to keep the ferries running.

And one of the Joly France boats is over there too. There must be nothing going on at the Ile de Chausey either.

Back here there was football on the internet. A really important match in the Welsh Premier League between Penybont and Haverfordwest County. This is the last weekend in the first half of the season. The League splits into 2 after this weekend – the top 6 compete for the four European places and the bottom 6 compete to avoid the two relegation places.

These two clubs were 6th and 7th in the league and whoever won would go into the top half and whoever lost would be in the bottom 6. From the kick-off it was quite clear that Penybont would win this – barring accidents of course. They were fitter, keener, much more organised and played the ball around between themselves with much more skill and confidence.

And I was right too. The final score of 2-0 to Penybont was exactly what I would have expected from the play. The only surprise was that Penybont were as low in the table as 6th because they looked much better than that today.

While I was eating my tea – more of those soya nuggets – I was at a party. My friend Esi was having a Zoom party and I’d been invited. It was nice to see her, even if it was via the computer, because we haven’t met since Christmas.

And while I was washing up, I dropped and broke a storage jar. I’m not having much luck with that.

So now I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow at Noz and Leclerc so I need to be on form. I won’t be having another lie in until Sunday and Monday. Can I survive until then?

Wednesday 21st August 2019 – WE GAIN …

… an hour tonight.

Well, we don’t actually. We really gain two hours tomorrow night but seeing as we are not going near any community tomorrow during the day we will put our clocks back one hour tonight and we’ll do the other hour tomorrow night.

And I can’t say that I’m sorry, because I’m exhausted. And for once I had a decent night’s sleep too. Took me a while to drop off but once I was gone I was gone and I remember nothing at all until the alarms went off. I only just beat the third alarm – and by a matter of seconds – too.

It was a late breakfast but I didn’t take advantage because we are now in another fjord hard by Disko Island with the Eqip Sermia glacier at the end of it. Only a small glacier but a very lively one – one of the fastest glaciers in the world apparently.

Too fast in fact, for just as we were unloading the ship a large piece of ice broke away and calved, causing a tidal wave that crashed one of the kayaks against the rocks and damaged it before the crew had time to secure it..

The resultant chaos took ages to sort out and a 09:00 departure was more like 10:30.

We had a good sail around the face of the glacier watching some calving while they prepared a decent landing for us and eventually they were ready for us at the landing site.

An easy landing, and a beautiful environment but due to the earlier mishap not enough time to visit it properly. By the time that I’d had a geology lesson from Marc and a lengthy history chat with Rachel I was struggling to reach the waterfall.

But when I did – drat and double-drat! I’m not sure how many waterfalls I have visited just recently but I don’t recall visiting even one that didn’t have the sun shining directly over the top spoiling the photos. And this one was no different.

For the money that we are paying for this voyage, you would think that the company would have turned the earth around 90 degrees to give us all a sporting chance.

Back on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour we had a barbecue and then I had a shower and washed my expedition clothes. They’ll dry quite quickly. And I … errr … closed my eyes for a second or two (or maybe more.

We had some more lectures (during one of which I fell asleep) and then tea time. I sat with Jerry Kobalenko the explorer and we had a good chat too about all kinds of things, especially diet in the High Arctic.

Another good day for photo editing though. I’m now on 19080785 and just leaving South Pass on my way back to Montana and Winnipeg. So it’s not going as quickly as I would like it. But I’ll get there somehow some day.

Although I’ve a feeling, comparing my screen with a known photo that I took a while ago, that I might have to do all of this editing lark again when I get to a decent screen, whenever that might be.

Only time will tell.

Friday 2nd August 2019 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… I can’t sleep tonight and I don’t know why.

So effectively I’ve given up and I’m back working again. But for how long I don’t really know.

Just for another change, I slept the Sleep Of The Dead last night with just the odd tossing and turning until the alarm went off. After the medication I had yet another shower and then pressed on with a pile of work, including doing some tidying up.

The soup bowl that the landlady lent me came in useful yet again because I made my porridge in it, and at last I had some decent breakfast.

Eventually I hit the road and headed off northwards along the Powder River. I managed to identify on the map by virtue of the text in the old histories the sites of two of the engagements between the US Cavalry and the Native Americans (the others are impossible to locate) in the earlier Powder River Wars but accessing them is something else completely. We know about the Americans’ mania for private property and guns.

One site I could pick out (just about) with the telephoto lens but you’ll have to take my word for the other.

And damn and blast if I didn’t have a puncture. Another tyre on a hire car ruined on a dirt road. Luckily everything was much more accessible on this car than the old Dodge and it didn’t take too long, even though the jack and wheelbrace were the usual cheap rubbish.

Space saver tyre too, and how I hate those with a vengeance.

So in the wilderness miles from anywhere on a dusty dirt road. And to the three motorists who stopped and asked if I needed help (after I had almost finished), many thanks again.

And to the three people who drove on by without stopping, you aren’t Christians at all. Just the worst kind of hypocrites. I would never leave anyone standing by the side of the road in those conditions.

But that’s just USA Christians, isn’t it? Total hypocrites. Pro-life when it comes to someone else’s body and personal issues, yet carry guns to blow away intruders and clamour for the death penalty when it’s their own affairs. They aren’t pro-life then.

Hell is full of hypocrites like them

So back into town where I have just come from, and 1 hour later and $115 lighter (no second-hand tyres to be had) I can set off again.

Down another dirt road, all 70 miles of it this time, and I find quite easily the site of the Powder River Battle of the 1876 campaign. Although the US Army inflicted some damage on the Cheyenne, it simply drove them into the arms of the Hunkpapa and Ogallala Sioux and when the US Cavalry caught up with them again, the combined numbers of Native Americans was sufficient to inflict Little Big Horn upon them.

But the drive along the Powder River is one of the most beautiful in the whole of the USA and I would gladly come here again. I enjoyed the drive considerably.

Back on Highway 14 in the sweltering heat (I have a lovely photo of a couple of diesel locomotive shimmering in the heat haze like in a spaghetti western) I found a nice shady nook under a few trees behind an abandoned corn silo to eat my sandwiches. And they were very welcome.

But I was disturbed as two railway locomotives travelling light rattled within about 20 yards of where I was parked.

Onwards pressed I and after a couple of hours driving I ended up at Fort Phil Kearny about which I shall talk tomorrow. 5000 feet up in the Rockies and it’s beautiful here. And the Ranger there put me in touch with the local motel in Story – the only one in the neighbourhood.

They had a sot-of room left, the emergency room. And if they keep this room aside for emergencies the main rooms must be wonderful. It’s the most expensive place yet, but once more it’s right where I need to be (right in the battle zone with one of the conflicts just down the road a few hundred yards) and it really would be worth the money.

For some reason she couldn’t make my Canadian debit card work so to end all issues I paid cash. Now I need more funds.

So having sorted out loads of things, charged everything up, dealt with the dashcam and programmed it properly, and showered (again!) and washed the dust off the clothes from the tyre incident, I called it an early night,

But now I’m still up. I’m hungry but I can’t go out to the car as there’s a bear outside in the yard at night and he doesn’t recognise my smell yet (s if he would want to). So I’ll just carry on.

Thursday 1st August 2019 – HERE I AM …

… holed up in a dusty motel at a dusty crossroads in a dusty town in Montana called Broadus. Yes, I’m in another State that I had yet to visit although I did cross over a corner of Wyoming (which I visited in 2002, whenever that was.

All this dust explains very well why this area is called the “Powder River” country. Because of all the dust in it, the river is said to be “too thick to drink, but too thin to plough”.

Last night was a beautiful night’s sleep. I went to bed, thoroughly exhausted, before even 20:00 and despite awakening on several occasions during the night, I didn’t finally show a leg until the alarms went off.

There was plenty of time to do everything, including a shower and general spruce-up. Make myself look nice. I even managed breakfast too.

So then packed and off into the sunset looking for the Walmart that I glimpsed yesterday evening. And that took some finding too.

‘Twas a good idea for a good clean-up because the lady at the check-out told me “ohhh do talk some more. I just LOVE your accent”. She didn’t knock anything off the bill though.

At a suitable petrol station in the vicinity I fuelled up the Kia. And it’s not as economical as you might think – 11 US gallons (about 40 litres) to travel about 610 kms.

It had been cloudy and overcast earlier but as I headed into the Black Hills it started to rain. Not enough to dampen my spirits (I was in surprisingly good form today and I’ve no idea why) but rain nevertheless. It didn’t detract from the journey and the beauty and I even wired up the dashcam so that you can see it later.

Round about midday I arrived at Deadwood and headed for Mount Moriah cemetery up in the hills. There I found, lying side by side, the graves of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. And listened excruciatingly as a Septic tourist guide explained to his tourists slowly, in words of one syllable (and they were Septics too) that he is NOT the same person as Buffalo Bill.

I despair.

After a while looking around the cemetery and the scenic viewpoint there I headed into town where I was waylaid. This time by a motorcycle restorer who allowed me to catalogue his exhibits.

Pride of place without any doubt at all must go to the Indian 4-cylinder in-line from 1939. Rare as hen’s teeth, which is hardly a surprise as the torque on that motor rotating in the same direction and the heat at the rear cylinder would have made for a very brief riding experience.

Nevertheless I would have taken it home in a heartbeat.

Main Street was nothing to write home about. The parking fee was horrendous so I didn’t stop. I filmed it instead for posterity. Nothing of the original seems to remain. The place has been swept by fire on several occasions since the Gold Rush.

For the first time since Toronto (whenever that was) I had lunch. A butty with hummus and bread followed by a banana. And then I pushed on for almost 140 miles in the now-glorious sunshine across the corner of Wyoming and into Montana.

Reaching Broadus I found a motel. And I’m glad that I did because it’s here that I need to be. It’s in the Powder River Valley and all long here for 50 miles north and south are the sites of skirmishes and fully-fledged battles between the Native Americans and the US Military farces.

Everything about this motel is very 50s, except the landlady who looks old enough and stern enough to have fought the Indians out of this plot of land single-handedly back in the 1880s and, of course, the prices, which are very 21st-Century.

But there’s no other motel for at least 60 miles and it’s right slap-bang where I want to be so it’s not all bad news.

My neighbour is friendly too. Another motorcyclist on his way to the Sturgis motorcycle rally. We had a good long chat about bikes and all sorts of things.

The filter on the air conditioner hasn’t been cleaned in donkey’s yonks though, and having let it run for a couple of hours, my room now smells just like my socks did before I washed them earlier. Yes, I’ve done the laundry, and washed myself at the same time.

Two showers in a day! Whatever next?

The landlady lent me a soup bowl so I’ve had tomato soup (with some pasta) and bread for tea. Three meals today. I hope that it’ll stay in today. And plenty of vitamin drink to keep up the health even though I’m not eating much.

Tomorrow I’m off on the war path so now I’m off to bed. Another night like last night will do me the world of good.