Tag Archives: mushroom

Friday 3rd December 2021 – JUST A QUICK …

… few lines because I’ve been busy this afternoon and this evening and now I’m absolutely exhausted.

Most of that though is due to the fact that I had yet another dreadful night, but we won’t go into that right now because you’re probably as fed up about these as I am.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I went through the two recipes that I have and made a list of the shopping that I need to do. And then I nipped out to Biocoop for some molasses.

As I was on my way to Noz in the driving rainstorm the tyre fitter rang me up. My tyres hadn’t arrived so my appointment was cancelled. Nevertheless I went to Noz where they had some really nice alcohol-free beer that will be just the thing for the Christmas period.

At LeClerc I bought what I could but the range of French cooking accessories falls a lot short. No glacé cherries, no candied peel, nothing like that at all. And even worse, no essence of alcohol-free brandy in which to soak my fruit.

Back home later I had a coffee and spent the rest of the day trawling through my record collection for Christmas rock songs. In the end I managed to pull out about 15 or so and then I remixed them and began to write out the text for the radio programme for Christmas Day.

sea fog beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021During the course of the afternoon I went out for my walk although I don’t know why because the weather was just as foul as it had been earlier.

It wasn’t just the rain that was annoying either. There was a thick sea-fog and the view was no more than a few hundred yards.

But that was enough visibility for me to say that there was no-one down there this afternoon, and that wasn’t a surprise. I was the only one stupid enough to be out there in this weather this afternoon.

tiberiade baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021That isn’t actually quite correct.

There were some other people out there this afternoon, but they were out there of necessity, not through choice. As I peered out through the gloom a trawler came into view out of a low cloud.

The brief glance that I had seemed to indicate that it might be Tiberiade, one of the larger trawlers that operate out of the port. People still have to eat, regardless of the weather, and as long as they need to eat, the fishermen will still need to go out in all kinds of conditions.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Having taken what photos I could, I went off on my walk along the headland.

From the path at the back of the running track I could just about make out the lighthouse and semaphore down at the far end of the Pointe du Roc.

Although it’s only mid-afternoon, the lights on part of the equipment were already lit. Not that they would do much good because I doubt if you can see tham at any appreciable difference in this fog.

With no-one to disturb me, I carried on down to the end of the path and across the car park at the end.

mushroom pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Nothing going on out at sea (that I could see anyway) and no-one sitting on the bench down below, which was no surprise either.

There was however this gorgeous mushroom growing on the bank and it reminded me of that beautiful mushroom soup that Nerina made for me once many years ago.
“That’s absolutely beautiful” I exclaimed. “Where did you find this recipe?”
“In an Agatha Christie murder story” she replied.

la grande ancre les bouchots de chausey omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021It wasn’t just Tiberiade who had been out there braving the conditions this afternoon.

By the looks of things several others had been trying their luck and were unloading at the fish processing plant.

We can, I suppose, rule out L’Omerta because as far as I can tell she seems to live over there permanently now. But on the extreme left we have La Grande Ancre who pulled away from the quayside almost as soon as I took the photo, and next to her is, I think, Les Bouchots de Chausey .

As for the third boat, the blue and white one, I don’t recognise her at all.

After all of this miserable weather than I had encountered, I was glad to be home. I made myself a nice hot coffee and several plans for the future.

Later on I cleared the decks and prepared everything for the baking session. And I actually knew someone else who was attending the demonstration – my very first tutor from 18 months ago.

The demonstration was quite straightforward although my oven is quite a disappointment at this kind of thing. It took about twice as long as the recommended cooking time, and it would have been even better if I’d bought food-quality bicarbonate of soda rather than general-purpose quality.

treacle banana cake place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021So here’s the finished product. Not quite as crumbly as the previous versions have been but I suspect that the almond-flour and flax seeds might have contributed to that.

It’s supposed to be iced but I’m not sure how a treacle cake would taste with icing on it. I don’t think that marzipan would be a good idea either.

After the demonstration I grabbed a quick tea and then watched the football – Bala Town v TNS. As expected is was all one-way traffic and the score of 4-1 to TNS was not an exaggeration.

It’s not that Bala are a bad side. They have most of the team that was there last season but the quality of the league has increased dramatically.

TNS were always quicker and better and played some nice football. Bala played some nice stuff too on occasion but it was far too little and far too late.

Anyway, now I’m off to bed, and I’m going to try a little experiment. I’ll tell yuo all about it tomorrow if it works.

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.

Tuesday 27th October 2020 – CALIBURN HAS …

… gone off today for his makeover. He’s a teenager now of course, and I promised him a makeover for his bodywork as a treat, as the Controle Technique tester made a couple of remarks about it last time.

It’s not cheap – not at all – but buying a new vehicle is even less cheap. The garage where he goes every year says that he has plenty of life in him, the bodywork repairs will be guaranteed for five years, and I’ll be lucky, very lucky indeed if I get another five years out of my body with this illness. So there’s no point in doing anything else except getting him fixed.

waves on promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire the waves from the latest storm smashing their way into the sea wall over at the Plat Gousset, let me tell you about my day today.

Rather – last night too because after I’d finished writing up my notes, and not feeling in the least bit tired I amended ANOTHER PAGE OF THE ARREARS to include the photos of the day and the voyages that I’d been on during the night.

And consequently, despite the lateness of the hour when I went to bed, no-one was more surprised than me (except you of course) to find that I was up and about – well, “sort-of-about” – when the third alarm went off. I shall have to do this more often.

waves on promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing on the dictaphone either, which was just as surprising. I must have had a really peaceful sleep last night for a change.

And so with no notes to write up, I had a go AT YET ANOTHER PAGE OF THE ARREARS. Well, sort-of, because there weren’t any photos taken that day and I didn’t go anywhere during the night either. So that ended up being something of a non-event.

Before I could take Caliburn off anywhere, I had to find the details of my rail journey at the weekend. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I always like to have my rail tickets in my hand long before the day of my journey.

That’s because on a couple of occasions the printing machine at the station is out of order and as the ticket office doesn’t open until after my train has left, I’d look rather silly if I left it until the morning of travel to pick up my tickets and found that the machine wasn’t working.

waves on promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo having collected the necessary, Caliburn and I set out through yet another driving rainstorm to find our way to the garage where he’ll be staying for the next two weeks.

When the boss came in I handed him the keys and gave him a couple of extra instructions. he needs his annual service of course, he needs his brakes looking at, and there’s the controle technique due on the 5th November – and there will be fireworks if he doesn’t pass.

Mind you, it’s only an emissions check so there shouldn’t be too much of a problem about that – I hope. He runs well enough, which is why I’m keeping him.

mushroom Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back home in the rain I walked down the main Route de Villedieu in the rain, but I stopped when I saw this.

It’s mushroom season now of course and you’ll find plenty of mushrooms in plenty of places, but growing in a flower bed at the side of the road is not one of the more likely places to find one, especially one as big as this.

And do you know how to tell if they are edible?

It’s really quite simple. Take a sample and eat it just before you go to bed. If you wake up next morning, then you know that it’s safe.

alleyway off rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust for a change, after leaving the railway station with my tickets I walked down the “other” side of the Rue Couraye.

And it’s amazing the things that you see that you haven’t noticed before. Granville is honeycombed with little alleyways and surreptitious flights of steps and here’s one that I haven’t ever noticed before.

It leads down across the old railway line and over to the Boulevard Louis Dior, the road that leads to the Parc du Val es Fleurs where we went a good while ago to see all of the animals and where they had that marquee once.

working on shop front rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust across the road from here, the workmen are being pretty busy.

There was a Home Decorating shop there – one with a ghastly aluminium 1960s-style of shop front that they had installed at some point and ruined the aspect of the building. It was sold a couple of months ago and since then it’s been sheathed in wood.

But now they seem to have taken that down and they are busy with the angle grinder cutting into the brickwork and concrete on the pavement. I don’t know what they will be installing there but I’m pretty sure that it will be an improvement on what was there before.

Back here I made some hot chocolate, cut myself off a slice of my banana bread – and then fell asleep in the chair. hardly surprising, I reckon, after all of this walking that I had done.

When I awoke there was enough time to make a good start on YET ANOTHER ONE OF THE BLOG ENTRIES that needed updating now that I’ve finished the photo editing and the dictaphone transcribing.

Plenty of photos and voyages in that one so it took me all the rest of the day, which isn’t surprising in itself considering everything else that I had to do.

kiwi grape kefir Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor example, after lunch my kefir needed attention. It’s been brewing for long enough.

Four nice, ripe kiwis were peeled and put into the whizzer with a few handfuls of grapes and whizzed around until I had a nice mushy liquidy pulp. This was strained through my filter stack into the big jug and the kefir out of the pot followed through the stack, leaving an inch or so at the bottom of the pot.

Everything in the jug was then strained back through the filter stack into a few bottles that I had washed and cleaned.

Then I set another batch of kefir on the way – 40 grammes of sugar, three slices of lemon, a fig cut in half and then the pot filled to within a couple of inches at the top with filtered water.

donville les bains rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on, with the rain having stopped for a brief moment I decided to go out for my afternoon walk.

Crowds of people out there taking advantage of the moment of sunshine that we were having, even though it didn’t look too nice further down the coast towards Donville les Bains. I reckoned (and I was right too) that we would be having another good helping of rain any moment now.

And so no time to hang around. I pushed on around the footpath under the walls dodging the puddles that hadn’t diminished one iota from the last time that I was out.

You’ve seen the photos of the storm that we were having. The rain might have stopped (for the moment) but the wind had got up and was raging away to itself. For a few minutes I watched them crashing down on the Plat Gousset and then headed off across the Square Maurice Marland.

At a walk, I hasten to add. Too many people about for me to break into a run.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s a nice surprise awaiting me in port this afternoon.

How long is it since we’ve seen Thora, the smaller of the two Jersey freighters, here in the harbour? I was thinking about her quite recently and here she is. There’s a huge pile of building material, wood and the like, all kids of stuff, on the quayside so it looks as if she is going to be taking all of that back with her.

But I wasn’t going to hang around at all. There was the storm brewing up yet again and I wanted to be home as soon as possible.

Back here I finished off the blog entry that I mentioned just now, and then had my hour on the guitar. And tonight I just went over a couple of old numbers that I could sing to, just to make me feel better. I wish that I could snap out of this depression that I’ve been in since August last year when a whole lifetime’s ambition was within my grasp and it just melted away through my fingers at the side of a windswept airport runway in the Frozen North.

Am I becoming all maudlin and broody again?

Tea was a stuffed pepper which, strangely, was one of the best and tastiest that I’ve ever tasted. I enjoyed that very much. And my slice of apple pie was even nicer. I’m even surprising myself with my cooking.

light on beach pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith the rain having now died down I went out for my evening walk and runs.

A run up the Rue du Roc and then another one down to the clifftop, and this was the sight that met my eyes. At first I thought that it might have been the reflection of the moon or something in a rock pool but no matter how I changed my position the light remained in the same position.

It’s not a beach down there – it’s where all the rocks are. And there are plenty of rock pools so it may be that there’s someone having a go at night fishing. And he’ll probably catch just as much in the dark as he might do during the day.

moonlight baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy walk continued on to the end of the headland to look out across the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of days ago I tried to take a shot of the moon reflecting on the bay, but the wind was too strong to have a good attempt. Tonight was a little better, but still too windy to use the flat-topped post that I found, so I had to make do with wedging the camera up against the side of the bunker.

And that one hasn’t come out very much better than the previous one either, which is a shame. I must do better

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom here I ran on down the path at the top of the cliffs as best as I could. Not because I was tired but because I had to dodge the huge puddles that were everywhere.

Sometimes late at night, we’ve encountered the Joly France boats coming in from a late-night trip back from the Ile de Chausey, but we won’t be seeing them out at sea tonight. Both of them are moored up over there at the ferry terminal.

Not much sign of life there either. They’ve all packed up and gone home a good long while ago, I reckon.

offices port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHave we had a night-time photo of the port offices yet? It’s no use asking me as I can’t remember.

The offices are right by the gates to the inner harbour and anyone going into there has to make contact with the Port Officer first. But the gates are closed (you can tell by the red light) and so is the office.

The green light is there to tell pedestrians that it’s permissible to cross over to the far side by taking the little pathway across the top of the gates, a route that we have taken quite often.

On my way home I had a quick look down at the harbour. Thora has now left – that was a quick turnround yet again – and there was nothing else going on. I completed all of my runs, somewhat easier than of late. I must be easing up again, which can only be good news.

It makes me wonder where I’ll be by the summer. I’m not pushing myself to extremes like I did last Spring but I can feel that I’m starting to become ready to push myself on.

But right now, I’m going to push on (or push off, more like) into bed. A whole day at home (barring accidents), and as there was no Welsh course this week I intend to spend some time tomorrow revising what I’ve already forgotten – which is probably about all of it.

Another plan of action that I have is, seeing how well the reformatting of the laptop went the other day, to have a go with the little travelling Acer too and see if I can’t tempt that back into proper life. I managed to rig it so it worked well enough to extract the data from it but a disk format and clean installation might possibly do some good.

It was the slowest laptop that I ever had but it was also the lightest and travelled with me everywhere despite everything. It will be nice to make it go again. I’m not too optimistic but if I don’t try, it definitely won’t work.

And in other news, I had a “parcel” today in the post. More of this anon

Wednesday 26th April 2017 – THAT’S TWO MORE …

… ruins crossed off the list this morning.

Two new constructions of which I would have been the first inhabitant.

The first one was a nice apartment but the finishing was terrible. They had installed the kitchen unit and then painted the walls with the result that half of the paint was on the unit. And they hadn’t painted behind the unit either, which gave me a good chance to look at the plasterboard. It wasn’t “hydro” plasterboard but cheap 10mm stuff that wouldn’t last five minutes once it became wet (which is an odds-on certainty behind a kitchen unit). It wouldn’t have been so bad had they tiled it, or even painted it, but that was a load of rubbish and I’m not becoming involved with those kinds of issues.

The second one was a studio, nice and big, but with the black damp already rising out of the floor – and in a new untenanted studio too.

So no danger of me moving into anywhere here.

garden gnome brehal manche normandy franceBut I was disappointed about these apartments anyway, because there is someone living just across the road from here that has a similar kind of sense of humour as me, and that’s something quite rare in France, isn’t it?

This isn’t all that was on display either. The whole garden front, sides and back, was covered in garden ornaments. And I have to be honest and say that the idea of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, a pile of sprouting mushrooms and half a dozen tuinkabouwters living in the immediate vicinity is one that would appeal to me.

old railway station ancienne gare brehal manche normandy franceThat’s not the only exciting thing here in the vicinity either. This building is actually just across the car park from the building that I was visiting, and regular readers of this rubbish will recognise this for what it is.

It is of course a railway station.

Brehal did once have a railway service, on the line between Granville and Conde sur Vire. Opened in 1909, it was another one of these ephemeral local lines – a tacot with a narrow gauge of one metre.

Ephemeral it certainly was. Not quite matching the 8 years of railway line between Pionsat and Gouttieres, it struggled on for a grand total of 32 years, closing officially in 1941 due to “wartime conditions” and never reopening.

However, I have seen in someone’s memoirs a story that it closed in the mid-1930s and that the rails were removed some time round about 1937-38

I’d had a bad night again – not comfortable in my new bed. And far too much noise for my liking. Despite switching off the film early last night, I couldn’t go to sleep and that’s the thing that always puts me in a bad mood.

After breakfast I hit the streets to Brehal to see these ruins, and then wandered off to the bank for some money. And found myself passing a launderette. I was having a free morning, and I had a pile of dirty clothes in Caliburn and having found the washing soap when I had Caliburn stripped out the other day, I spend a pleasant hour in the launderette with a good book while my washing was going round.

Having picked up a baguette, I headed for the beach. Far too windy and hailstormy to sit outside but I did profit by pulling about 6 months worth of rubbish out of Caliburn and dumping it in a waste bin.

oyster beds coudeville plage manche normandy franceAnd having a good look at the oyster beds out here too. With the tide being quite low right now, you can actually see them.

While I was eating my butty I had an interesting exchange of text messages –
“Why didn’t you say hello to me?”
“What?”
“When you walked past me just now”
“Did I just walk past you?”
“Yes you did!”
“Where was that?”
“On the car park”
“Which one?”
“The one right outside the sous-prefecture“.
“But I wasn’t there”
“Where are you?”
“Sitting by the seaside in Brehal in Normandy”
“Ohh dear – I’ve texted the wrong number! Sorry”.

Back here, I sat outside in the verandah with a good book and a coffee for a while. And then I made my tea in the kitchen in the garage.

But I’m really fed up with this. Not only do I have the landlady sitting watching me while I eat my breakfast, she came to watch over me while I cooked and ate my tea. And I’m not comfortable in my new quarters either.

I can’t be doing with this. It’s the cheapest place in the whole of Normandy and it’s easy to see why. I’m moving on on Sunday morning – and I don’t care where to – and it will be a cold day in hell before I ever come back here.

Thursday 26th January 2017- I’VE SPENT MOST …

… of the day asleep today, which is a shame. The exertions of the last couple of days have been far too much for me apparently. And when you consider how far I’ve walked since the weekend, it’s hardly any surprise, is it?

It took me ages to go off to sleep last night but once I’d gone, I’d gone. It was a really hard struggle to force my way out of bed and upstairs for breakfast, and I wasn’t the first either. There are a couple of German women staying here apparently, and they were first in. That meant that I had to make do with the cheap plastic bowls for my cereal and my muesli and soya milk don’t take so good out of those.

I managed to struggle out for my baguette at lunchtime and for tea I made a mega-meal of kidney beans, mushrooms, onions, vegetables garlic and tomato sauce. And I had company too while I was cooking – the two German ladies were there too, although they didn’t have anything to say.

And apart from that, what a miserable day. Most of it fast asleep or otherwise drifting in and out of it all. I’m not having a very good time right now but it’s one of the things that I have to accet, because it’s not going to get much better than this.

Saturday 24th September 2011 – GOING TO MONTREAL

I was aching a bit when I woke up this morning – and no idea why. I’d had a good sleep for 6 hours or so on here, despite being woken up a couple of times by lorries starting up and heading off.

I stopped for fuel and coffee once I was over the border in Quebec and then headed of directly to Montreal non-stop, making a note of things that I saw so that I could make further enquiries at another time.

I reached Montreal well in advance of myself, having gone on the cruise control all the way. This had had the dramatic effect of dropping the fuel consumption to an astonishing 7.4/100. I’ll certainly try the cruise control again.

Here at Canadian Tires, there were some kids having a charity car wash so while I was in there having a wander around, I let them give the Dodge a really good once-over.

With plenty of time to spare before I need to sort out my accommodation, I went for a drive along the St Lawrence. I have to say goodbye.

nuclear power station sorel tracy st lawrence river quebec canadaLast year when I came down here I drove past the nuclear power station on the outskirts of Sorel-Tracy, but I was on the south bank of the river so I couldn’t take a good photo of it.

There’s a much better view of it from the north bank, but I’m not sure why that’s a good thing. And I’m not sure why it is that it’s a good idea to have a nuclear reactor in a built-up area like this.

rio tinto smelting plant sorel tracy quebec canadaI also mentioned a huge refining plant in Sorel Tracy. It’s a Rio Tinto smelting plant for iron and titanium that comes from the company’s own mine right down the Gulf of St Lawrence, and that’s where the ships come from that are unloading here.

It’s a big, noisy smelly place with an impressive flare at night but I suppose there’s no alternative to having it in a place like this where a workforce can be recruited.

mushroom hunters st lawrence river quebec canadaThose people over there are mushroom hunters – I know because I asked them. The guy in the red shirt is the mushroom identifier and he’s telling them which they can eat or not, because they are all going to someone’s house afterwards and having a nosh-up of what they have found.

I asked them if they were worried, and the leader of the part said “no”. Apparently, the secret is not to worry and just eat what you have in front of you, and then go to bed without a care.

If you wake up next morning, then they were edible. And if you don’t wake up, you wouldn’t care anyway.

There’s a lot more to my drive than just that, and you can read it all yourselves at your leisure. I’m off to bed and that is that. My last day tomorrow.