Tag Archives: neptune

7th November 2020 – THIS WEEK IS …

polar bear with cubs north west passage victoria strait canada Eric Hall… International Polar Bear Week apparently so I feel that I ought to join in the fun by posting a photo of a couple of mine.

In case you are wondering, this photo was taken last August in the North West Passage, in the Victoria Strait between the Royal Geographical Society islands and King William Island and is just one of the … gulp 2,500 or so exciting photos that I took while I was out there in the High Arctic and with which I shall regale you in due course.

That is, of course, my long-term project for the coming winter – to sort them all out, edit them and upload them to the internet. I’m hoping that once I clear out the arrears back to June, I can crack on with the High Arctic photos, although I’m not sure when all of that might happen.

At least, I didn’t actually fall behind even further today. Even if I slept through the three alarms and didn’t wake up until long after 10:00. It’s always like that when I return home, after all of the effort that I go through, and even more so when I didn’t return home until late.

Being in bed for as long as I was, there was plenty of time to go on several nocturnal rambles, and I must have travelled miles during the night.

I started off in the USA. I can’t remember exactly what we were doing but it involved my father and a whole group of other people whom I knew. There had been some big kind of political debate. Some politician had made a disgraceful affair and all the other politicians were standing up for him. Someone went to get into their car but found that the locks had been changed. This eveil politician had gone around changing everyone’s locks on everything. At that stage I became quite simply fed up and beat both of them into a pulp. I had to sell someone about something or other and I can’t remember what. It was to do with a car needing work or something. I got into my car which was a very new one. I managed to get in and drove away from the scene. As I came up to a set of traffic lights a police car pulled out of a side road right in front of me, blocked the road and put his stop lights on. When the traffic lights changed he went off presumably to drive round the block to come up behind me. But it was a really inconvenient place to stop. There was an abandoned fuel station just across the traffic lights so I pulled over there, of course bitterly regretting what was going to happen next – I was in no illusions. There were a couple of guys there getting petrol out of this abandoned fuel station. They said something about parking there. I said “that’s all right. I’m waiting here to be arrested”. They looked at me a bit wide-eyed so I said to 1 of them “yes the police are coming to arrest me”. He thought that he had better get a move on and do what he’s doing quickly and get out of the way. Just then I saw a group of my friends coming along. They were carrying an engine lift, tools and everything as if they were going to lift the engine out of a car somewhere after what I’d said to them. I thought “this policeman is taking his time isn’t he? I could nip off if I wanted to leave my car there.” But did I want to leave my car there? Did I want to nip off? Did I want to go? There was a cheap Honda Acty microvan things parked up and I was having a look at that.

Later on I was a kid, a teenager doing something with a house. We’d all been working on bits of it and I’d been painting the bedroom. The 1st coat hadn’t worked properly because some filling needed doing on it. I’d done most of that and painted what I’d already done. It hadn’t appeared too badly and I was reasonably pleased with it. Then the tutor came in and started to give me instructions about what he wanted me to do next but I reckoned that in view of the time factor it would be a good idea just to fill the rest of the wall where it needed filling and paint one coat over it to see where it was low. We could fill it again to make it up in the meantime and the coat of paint would be on it ready for the top coat. We had a lengthy discussion about that and in the end he agreed to let me do it as I wanted. He told me that I would have to put a curtain up somewhere over one part where the walls were uneven but I thought that that was going to be a silly idea – it would just draw people’s attention to it but he was pretty adamant so in the end we agreed that we would talk about this again. I did the calculations that by the time I had finished this room putting these coats and this filler on I would have had my A levels by then in which case no-one would be in a position to contradict me at all and I really could then do it as I liked.

There was something where I was doing something with a pile of musicians – it might have been a certain Welsh rock group friends of mine or something like that. We were just sitting around talking about drugs, all this kind of thing. One of them was saying that he hadn’t shot up for a whole 15 concerts but was quite busy taking the weed – the same with a few of the others. I said that I didn’t even know whereabouts to go to get it. I wouldn’t have a clue. They said “that girl who came to your party in your building. She sold us a bag”. I thought that was a bit if a shame because I liked her. Then we ended up at someone’s house after this – it might even have been this girl’s. It was a much nicer apartment than mine, on the floor below from where I was living. We were all getting ready to go places and were sorting through a pile of things and having to tidy everything up. I was sorting through these stones, I’ve no idea why. Some were precious and some weren’t and I was getting it all wrong. There were 3 gear lever knobs from a vehicle in there. It was a really confused thing that I had to sort through. Someone came over to give me a hand. He clearly knew what he was doing. I had to resort what i’d already done because it wasn’t right. I ended up going for a walk around and having a look at her garden which was really nice. On the way back I saw everyone else coming for a walk around the garden. I thought that I might as well have waited until they decided to come rather than go out on my own

Subsequently I was taping a concert of the aforementioned group, trying to get that organised but it was again something that I was only doing half-heartedly and missing most of the joins, thinking that I would have to go back and check it over again. The question of London came up, the question of a restaurant in the basement of a hotel that we go to near the railway station but it had moved down to South London. A girl I was with suggested that we should go there and have a meal. I thought ” that’s a long way to go for a meal and come back. It’s not as if it’s at the railway station where it used to be where we could be in and out in an evening. With this we have to hike most of the way across London to get to it and it’s not going to be the same, particularly with only another two weekends to go…

From there I was walking along Crewe Road into Sandbach and as I was passing the houses at the end of Park Lane I was thinking that I had to go to the bank. But the bank wasn’t where it is but in the street that runs about half a mile to the south, Hassall Road, so I had to find my way around like a deviation. In the end I got to 3rd Avenue and I remembered that I could walk through there that way. I walked down there – there were some kids playing netball in the school plating area there and a couple of boys playing football. I went on and came to a set of steps that I had to walk down. There were two young girls there who were rolling balls down it. Obviously whose ball rolled furthest down the most stairs won. They had a rake that they were using to pull the balls back up. One of them was pulling a ball back up and the rake swung back over her head and nearly impaled me as I was waling past so I made some kind of light hearted remark about it and they laughed. Then I noticed in one of the swimming pools in the back garden of a house round there was a skeleton so I asked “is that your last victim?”. They laughed again. By this time a woman had come down. She thought that it was funny as well so we had a chat. We got to the bottom and there was a really deep puddle. She was talking about the gypsies who lived in Sandbach and how they ahd sometimes washed their clothes in it. When we reached th bottom she said which way she was going, and I thought that this was the other direction so I said goodbye to her. I turned left and she went a little further on and she turned left too. We bumped into each other again. I said “I thought that you were going the other way”. She said “no, this way. I have to fetch some money from the bank”, a different bank. She started to ask “where shall we go from here?” so I said “hurry up and get your money” so she dashed inside the bank.
Later on I stepped back into this dream. I was walking back to the bus. I got on the bus by the centre door and for some reason I didn’t want to sit down at the front so I chose a seat right opposite the centre door where I didn’t have to go very far. Then this woman appeared, the one with whom I’d walked just now. I was hoping that she would get on the bus and come to sit next to me but that was when I awoke.

There was plenty of other stuff too but I can’t remember them. I know that at one time I caught myself dictating into my hand, but I can’t remember what it was that I was saying.

One thing that was rather disappointing was that I wasn’t joined by any of the usual suspects who I like to accompany me. With all of this and the distance that I travelled, I would have expected at least one of them to be there at some point. Instead, I end up with people from whom I spent 38 years trying to escape. It’s just my luck, isn’t it?

By now it was well into the early afternoon and so I ate the half-baguette that was left from yesterday evening. No chance of going out to the shops now – it was far too late.

woman going to swim Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot having done much throughout the day, I reckoned that I ought at least to go out for a walk this afternoon.

But no matter how little I had done and how much I thought that I ought to be doing, I wasn’t going to emulate this woman down here on the beach at the foot of the steps in the Rue du Nord. As I watched her, she marched slowly out to the water’s edge, peeling off her outer garments one by one.

And then she looked for a safe place amongst the rocks where she could leave them and her towel.

woman swimming in sea Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving done that, she continued on her way out to the water’s edge, bent doan and soaked herself in seawater.

Once she was thoroughly wet through, she took the plunge and dived into the water, swimming away from the shore and out to sea.

It’s not the kind of thing that I would want to do. Even on a hot day I’m not all that interested in going into the water, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, even if in the past I have been swimming in the Mediterranean in November. But I’ve no intention of going into the water around here at any time of the year.

marker buoys english channel donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo instead, once my water baby, I wandered off along the Rue du Nord.

With the number of people who were around, many more than I was expecting in the middle of a lockdown, I didn’t feel like showing myself up by breaking into a run. And it’s just as well because during my gentle walk, my eyes probing out to sea picked up something yellow bobbing about on the waves in the sea off the shore of Donville les Bains.

Closer examination reveals that there are in fact two of them, in a nice line across the bay. We’ve seen all kinds of buoys out there in the past, for all kinds of different reasons, and it’s not immediately clear exactly what their purpose is.

people having swam in the sea plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along the footpath under the walls, I had a look down onto the beach round by the Plat Gousset.

And amongst the people wandering around down there were three young people in something of a state of undress. It looks as if we have had a few more water babies this afternoon, but I was too late to actually see them in the water.

But one thing that I did notice was the absence of face masks on the people down there. I know that it’s the policy on the promenade for the compulsory wearing of face masks, and I would have thought that now, seeing as we are in lockdown, that the compulsory wearing of masks would have extended further out from where it was before

house renovation rue le carpentier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith crowds of people around, I wasn’t able to go for a run across the Square Maurice Marland this afternoon. Well – not with any sense of pride, at least.

But at the top of the Square I had a look at one of the houses in the Rue LeCarpentier. Just before I left, they had erected some scaffolding up around it. But now, the scaffolding is sheeted in a protected netting and it looks as if work has begun.

Interestingly, the company doing the work advertises itself as a “restorer of the country’s patrimoine – a word for which there is no obvious translation but which means basically the intrinsic cultural values and artefacts, whether it’s song, dance, old machinery and buildings, that kind of thing.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that is of course a compulsory activity is to check on what’s happening down at the chantier navale, seeing as I’ve neglected it for over a week.

The yacht that we saw in there the last time we looked is still present and it’s been joined by another boat. It’s not easy to tell from here what kind of boat it is. I shall have to sneak out later tonight for a closer look.

It goes without saying though that the huge mountain of gravel that was on the quayside has gone, and likewise has Neptune, the gravel boat that came into port as I was leaving town. She fetched up a couple of days later in Whitstable where she unloaded, and the last that I heard of her she had picked up a load of something in Dordrecht in the Netherlands and was on her way to Ridham, just down the road from Whitstable.

Back here this evening there was football. TNS were away at Bala Town in the Welsh Premier League, first away at second. It was a good, exciting match and while TNS were clearly the better team, Bala looked extremely dangerous at times and hit the woodwork twice with the keeper beaten and had Chris Venables had a decent touch on a ball in front of goal with Paul Harrison well out of position, Bala could have taken the lead.

As it was, TNS went into the lead after about 75 minutes only for Bala to equalise 5 minutes later. 1-1 was how it ended, a result which was about right altogether.

Tea was pasta with a couple of the burgers that I brought back from Leuven, followed by pineapple rings with chocolate vegan ice cream. No chance of going for an evening walk as there is apparently a curfew and it’s too late now.

Tomorrow will be really busy. I have bread to make – both “normal bread” and banana bread, as that which remained from last time didn’t survive. I have some kefir to make too, and for that I’ll probably use oranges this time.

The sourdough will need reanimating and feeding too, and then next week I’ll have a go making sourdough bread. I can’t use it this time because, having been in the fridge for a week or more, it’s still asleep.

Just like I’m going to be in a few minutes, I reckon. It takes me a couple of days to recover from my efforts in Leuven and I have plenty of work to do.

Friday 30th October 2020 – OUCH!

gare du nord paris France Eric HallThat was an expensive day today!

So while you admire a few more photos of the outside of the Gare du Nord in Paris before they start on any redevelopment, you’ve probably gathered that I’ve been on the move today.

What with France going into lockdown, and the word on the streets (thanks, Alison) suggesting that Belgium might be following suit imminently, I reckoned that if I don’t go to Belgium right I won’t ever go at all

Hence my frantic rush around yesterday to change all of my tickets and organise all of my paperwork ready to travel this morning while I still can.

gare du nord paris France Eric HallMuch to my surprise this morning, I was very very close to beating the second alarm, never mind the third alarm. That’s progress, and it goes to show that I can do it when I really try.

Pleny of stuff on the dictphone too, as I was to discover when I had a listen to it later. I must have travelled quite far during the night.

I was with Mike and Jerry and all of that lot. We were doing something in he mountains. There was a catalogue that I was thumbing through, trying to get ideas for Christmas presents and I got to this illuminated map of the far north of Canada and the entrance to the North West Passage round by Bellot Strait, that area round there. It was a crystal, cut-glass etching upright on a plinth. I thought that that was wonderful so I said to Jerry “here’s what I’m going to get for you for your Christmas”. They all came over and were all poring over this and having a good look at it, working out where they could go to get one, all this kind of thing; It was powered by an old mobile phone thing that you plugged into it bit it really was something impressive

Later on there was something else going on about a girl and boy. They were staying in my apartment. The girl was asleep in bed and all this time this boy was sitting by her, looking at her, making sure that she didn’t fall out, something like that. When she awoke it developed into a kind-of romantic scene between the 2 of them. I was rather disappointed that she’d decided on him but I thought that they would make a very nice couple anyway so I wasn’t particularly bothered by it. Somawhere along the line we were working out some kind of calculations for something or other. I remember saying that we had to add two on for something, but then thinking that there was a load of other little things, fixtures and fittings, tha kind of thing.They would all need costing into this as well. I didn’t really know how much they were going to be and this was going to confuse the issue a lot

This morning, I finished off the packing, took the rubbish out, washed the bins, did some tidying up vacuuming, and even washed the floor round by where the kitchen is, to make sure that everything is clean and tidy for when I come back.

Having fed the sourdough and put it in the fridge, I bleached all of the drain outlets and then hit the streets.

neptune port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis morning proved that I had been right about something.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days ago we saw piles of roadstone gravel being delivered and I predicted that very soon we would be having one of the gravel boats in shortly to take it all away.

And sure enough, as I headed down the Rue des Juifs into town, I glanced over the wall and there moored at the quayside is Neptune, one of the three or four that come in here every now and again.

When I first came here, there was one in the port every month or two, but this is the first since March and before that it was almost exactly 12 months ago. I was beginning to despair of ever seeing one again.

84569 GEC Alstom Regiolis Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor a change, I followed the road along the Boulevard Louis Dior and through the car park of the regional offices of the département, that way to the railway station.

The coffee machine was once again out of order and he train wasn’t in either which meant that we had to wait around on a windswept platform until it finally arrived. Another one of our usual GEC Alstom Regiolis multiple unit.

Just a one-unit train today instead of the usual 2-unit ones, and even so, there was still plenty of room for us to spread out. I had a seat all to myself and spent most of the journey copying files from a portable drive onto the little Acer laptop.

Bang on time in Paris. probably a little early in fact as we had to wait for 5 minutes for a slot to get into the station. Not many people in the Metro either – in fact there was only one person in the queue for Metro tickets at the Gare du Nord so I went and bought another pack of 10.

gare du nord paris France Eric HallNot that I need them yet but usually there’s a queue a mile long and I’m always pushed for time when I need to buy some more, so I may as well get ahead while I can.

There was half an hour before my rain was due to depart so I went outside to take a few more photos of the exterior. As there are plans for the redevelopment of the station, I wanted to make some kind of record of how it looks.

It will be a big shame if they do any damage to the main train shed; It’s a wonderful example of 19th Century railway architecture.

TGV Duplex Inoui 207 Paris Gare du Nord France Eric HallBy now it was time for me to go back into the station and see about my own train.

Much to my surprise, they had already started boarding. That’s not like them at all. Usually it’s 15 minutes prior to departure and not a minute before. And so I quickly took a photograph of our train – one of the TGV “Duplex” double-decker train sets.

Then on to the platform through the electronic gates that check your ticket, and how I wish that they would install them at Lille Europe, for reasons that you will soon find out.

TGV Duplex Inoui 215 Paris Gare du Nord France Eric HallThis is a double train-set and of course, my seat is in the second unit. Right down the end of the train too in the wagon just behind he driving unit. At least it means that I don’t have to walk far at the other end of the journey.

And despite it being a double train-set, i was pretty empty too. Lockdown is clearly working in France and potentially in Belgium and very few people seem to be travelling about.

The journey was pretty uneventful and we arrive in Lille Flanders on time as well. I’m not used to this at all. And then there was the usual inconvenient walk down the road to Lille Europe to catch the train from Montpelier to Brussels.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4512 gare du midi brussels belgium Eric HallThere was only a wait of about 10 minutes before the train came in so we were soon on our way.

And herein lies the problem.

When I went to the railway station at Granville to change my ticket from Saturday to today, the booking clerk typed out the details and handed me the ticket. And like a fool, I didn’t check it.

When the ticket collector checked it, he noticed that instead of 14:45 she had typed 15:54, and so of course it wasn’t valid for the train that I was on. After quite an argument and despite using my best persuasive powers I was still stuck with a penalty fare of €70:00.

And serves me right for my awn stupidity.

multiple unit sncb am80 automotrice gare du midi brussels belgium Eric HallOnce again, there wasn’t long to wait in Brussels for my train to Leuven.

and to my dismay it was one of the ancient, elderly AM80 multiple units. These machines are on their last legs, with old vinyl seats and linoleum floors, and covered in graffiti inside and out. Not a very good advert for the Belgian railway system I imagine that they will be the next batch of machines to be replaced.

Within an hour I’d arrived at Leuven, walked down to the Dekenstraat, picked up my keys and installed myself in my room. Another upgrade this time – business must be quiet.

Later on I went to Delhaize for my shopping where amongst other things I bought a tin of baked beans. That was because the fritkot down the road was open, so tea tonight was chips and beans. Delicious.

Tomorrow I’m having a lie-in. I’ve done enough these last few days so a rest willdo me good. I hope that no-one comes along to spoil it.

Tuesday 10th March 2020 – I WAS RIGHT!

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt WAS a good idea to go out early this morning to have a look at the gravel boat that had arrived during the night to make sure that it was indeed Neptune that had honoured us with her presence.

As you can see, here she is all fully loaded and deep in the wtaer and all of the hatches are battened down. It’s round about 16:00 and she’s not even been in the harbour 24 hours.

This could well be one of the quickest turn-rounds that we have seen.

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAt something like 10:40 this morning when I was out and about to see what was going on, she was nothing at all like in the previous photo.

Loading hadn’t been on the go for long, as you can see. They’ve started loading from the stern and working down towards the bow, she’s well-down at the stern and the bow is quite high out of the water.

That’s a clear indication that they haven’t been going long and they have about 2200 tonnes of gravel to put in her.

This morning, to my surprise, i was awake at about 05:20. But not for long, though. I was soon back to sleep.

Even more surprisingly, I managed to beat the third alarm yet again. That shows a kind of courage and determination that I thought that I’d lost.

After the medication I had a look at the dictaphone. And there was plenty to go at on there. I’d been a busy boy during the night.

At some point during the night I’d awoken to find myself telling a story about some kind of radio programme that I’d been doing that involved travelling on a ship. I was recounting this story and when I reached the end I suddenly found that the day was wrong. It wasn’t in fact going out on the day that I thought it was. The ship was going out some other day so I ended up having to retrace my steps and come back again. It was all extremely weird because it was all so lifelike while I was recounting this story.
Later on I was in some town in between Cologne and Frankfurt and had to go to meet either Jackie or Alison – I can’t remember who. The idea was that I would catch the TGV – there would be one quite regularly between the two, or was it Vienna? Might have been Vienna even I dunno. There would be some kind of TGV regularly between them. I had to start making enquiries but I found that the town where I was staying, there was no TGV. It didn’t stop. I had to go all the way back to Cologne or Stuttgart or somewhere to get onto the train. I thought “this can’t be right”. There must be some kind of local train between here and wherever the other person was. So I started to make enquiries. I found a little station where I could conceivably get a train back to Stuttgart and then get the TGV down there. So I started t think about doing this. Then I suddenly looked at my watch and it was 13:54 and I had to be down there for 17:00. I’d let all this time lapse so I thought that the only way that I was going to get down there is to drive down there. But then I had the problem of leaving my car ad that’s going to be extremely awkward. I was in a library while all this was going on and of course there were some books on display that I wanted to sit and read. In the meantime all kinds of things were going through my head about what would happen if I left my vehicle unattended wherever I was supposed to be and would it be painless about the parking, all that kind of thing. In the end I was totally overwhelmed by all this kind of thing
And at another stage of the proceedings I’d been with another friend of mine again, one who featured a short while ago. We’d been wandering around all the clubs. There was a snooker club place that we went to, a sports club and we went in there again and there was a TV. We thought about watching the football so he was flicking through the channels on the TV trying to find the football but we couldn’t seem to find it. There was some guy, a young guy, sitting there trying to watch something as well but he wasn’t finding anything so we ended up talking to him. He was a down-and-out kind of person. Again it was a case of time running out and we needed to be somewhere else.

There was more to it than that, but as you are probably eating your tea or something right now, I’ll spare you the gruesome details.

After breakfast I attacked the digital sound-file splitting. Two of them were straightforward – quite easy in fact. The third was more complicated as it contained more than it should have done. That involved tracking down through about 20 studio reference files until I found the reference to the version that I had.

But as for the fourth, it was a very obscure album to start with, from 1966 from a record company that has long-since disappeared featuring a couple of artists who have disowned their work from this period.

Reference to the album itself helped me unravel some of it but the rest was … well … not easy. I’ve managed to find a discography of the work of the artists and looking in the tracks for the phrases that represent the titles (it’s a good job that it wasn’t an instrumental) I reckon that I’ve managed to do it justice.

There’s still no clue as to what this master tape relates to, but I’ve now ended up with a very rare, and very special version of Julie Driscoll singing “This Wheel’s On Fire” long before Bob Dylan actually recorded it himself. That must be something.

fishing boats ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThis was the cue for me to go out and see what was going on down in the harbour.

The weather was, once again, completely miserable outside. It wasn’t actually raining but it wasn’t far off and there was haze out everywhere. The harbour gates can’t have long closed because the fleets of fishing boats were out ther eheading to their stations.

At least, I think they were fishing boats. I couldn’t see a thing in this claggy mist.

yacht english cnahhel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallA little closer towards the shore the view was slightly better. Not much, but at least I could see what I was supposed to be looking at.

That’s actually a yacht, heading out in the wind towards the Ile de Chausey in the wind, and good luck to him too. I must admit that it did make me feel rather envious seeing him out there.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m on a fitness thing right now. I’ve upped my daily walks from two to three, I’m doing two lengths of running, and my morning stroll into town for my dejeunette for lunch is the longest way possible

yachts english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallThat means walking right down to the lighthouse and instead of cutting across the lawn, going down the steps and right round the headland where I came to grief last summer.

And as I tuened the corner right at the bottom, I was treated to the sight of three more yachts coming round in squadron formation.

It’s not very often that you see yachts out there in the middle of the week when it isn’t a school holiday, so I’ve no idea what is happening. There must be something special going on to attract them like this.

la granvillaise charles marie trawler chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric halland there’s more excitement round by the chantier navale

We saw the number of boats under repair dwindle down to none at the end of last week, and then yesterday we had a couple in there. But today, joining La Granvillaise and a fishing boat is another fishing boat and the yacht Charles-Marie.

So it’s All Systems Go down there right now, and that’s good news for the port. A thriving and successful chantier navale will encourage boat owners to keep their boats here and assure the success of the port.

digger crane loading gravel neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith the tide being now on its way out, the harbour gates were closed so I could walk across the top to the other side of the harbour to see what was happening with Neptune.

But first, that row of pontoons that I mentioned yesterday that looked as if it might be new. Unfortunately it isn’t. They must have been cleaning them, that’s all because it’s still the same old pontoons – just looking nicer.

So I went to see what was happening down at the other end of the harbour.

digger crane loading gravel neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFor some unknown reason, they aren’t actually using the conveyors to load up the ship.

There’s a digger bringing the stuff out of the gravel bins and dumping it in a heap at the foot of one of the big cranes, and the crane is picking it up with a grab and dropping it into the hold of Neptune.

I”m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before but there’s a quarry near Avranches that produces a very high-grade fine stone that is eminently suitable for mixing with asphalt.

digger crane loading gravel neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere are two asphalt plants in the south of the UK, one near Shoreham and the other near Whitstable and they buy their stone from the quarry here at Avranches, and the gravel boats ferry it across.

And that, of course is a country that thinks that it’s all-powerful and can rule the world, yet it can’t even produce any gravel of its own from the rocks that exist on its own shores. It’s when you think about things like this that you realise just how much of a joke this Brexit really is.

As for Neptune herself, she was built in 1992 in Rosslau on the Elbe in Germany and, rarely these days, flies the British flag. And, surprisingly, she has ice-breaking capabilities.

pointing harbour wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was down here I went to see if there was anythign going on with that scaffolding that they had installed at Marité’s berth.

There were two men working on it and from what I could see, which wasn’t very much I have to admit, it looked as if they might just be repointing the wall.

So on that note, I went to La Mie Caline to pick up my dejeunette and then wandered back slowly to my apartment.

First thing that I did back here was a little bit of tidying up to try to make the place a little more respectable, and then to sort out another pile of albums that need digitalising.

That was the cue then to finish off finding the rest of the music for Project 031 and organise all of that. That took me nicely up to lunchtime.

After lunch I started to write out the notes for the radio project, but had an interruption to go for my usual afternoon walk.

peche a pied grand maree harbour entrance light port de light granville manche normandy france eric hallNo pathetic parking to report – just one of the lowest tides of the year (the real lowest one is tomorrow).

We’ve seen plenty of photos of the marker light for the harbour entrance being submerged up beyond the top of the highest red band, but we very rarely get to see it completely out of the water and surrounded by sand and rocks as it is today.

It’s the time for the peche à pied too. Low water is below the level that is reserved for the commercial exploiters so the general public can go out to the unallocated parts below the traditional low water mark and help themselves.

And there are plenty of people out there too having a go, and there will be even more tomorrow with it being school half-day.

One of my neighbours was out there too so we had a little chat.

On the way back, I had something of a shock.

A gaggle of schoolkids and a couple of teachers went past me on a classe découverte and one of them was the absolute spitting image – and I really do mean that – of someone who has figured in our adventures, in one form or another, on numerous occasions.

It made me look twice to make sure that I wasn’t hallucinating about this. It really was quite unsettling.

Back here I finished off my notes and then dictated them. But I didn’t finish editing them because I … errrr … closed my eyes for a little while. That’s the kind of thing that’s depressing me considerably.

Tea tonight was the leftover stuffing from yesterday mixed with a can of kidney beans and rolled into a couple of taco rolls, with rice and vegetables. Plenty of stuffing left over, so that’s a job for Friday night I recon and my “leftover curry”.

Pudding was apple pie and that coconut soya dessert stuff. And even though I say it myself, my apple pie is delicious and I’ll make some more like that. But I’ll remember to put the nutmeg and cinnamon in it too.

night brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd then I went out for my evening walk, with my little NIKON 1 J5 and the f1.8 18.5mm lens for company.

There was sole wid and low cloud, but apart from that, there was an impressive view and I could see for miles. That encouraged me to have a play around with the camera and the lens to see what it could do.

It was set on shutter priority at varying shutter speeds and I took several photos of the view across to Brehal-Plage from different points with diferent settings.

night brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallWhat with one thing and another, I wasn’t expecting it to do very much and a couple of examples were filed under CS as you might expect.

But given the limitations of what I’m doing and the equipment that I’m using, the results of those that survived the cull are not unacceptable. A blind man would be pleased to see them.

In between all of this, I managed to fit in a couple of runs down my normal track. The first along the north side of the walls and the second across the place Maurice Marland

night brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd to my surprise, I managed to run on for a fair distance too, well past my usual finishing post. even part-way up the ramp on run number two.

But at the top of the ramp I had a look across to the port to see if I could see neptune. But no. In probably one of the quickest turn-round times ever, the harbour gates are open and she’s been and gone already. She’s not there now, the ground’s all flat. And she’s on her way to Whitstable.

It really WAS a good job that I went to see her this morning and didn’t leave it until later.

night brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the best photo of the bunch, taken at 1/20 second at f1.74 on ISO3200, I was feeling so enthusiastic (which is not like me at all) that I continued my walk a little and actually managed a third run down another one of my running tracks.

Yes, I’m keeping the pressure on and I’m determined to improve my basic health even if I can’t do much about my illness. Running 800-900 metres might be no big deal for some, but for someone my age who is slowly dying of a debilitating illness, it’s pretty good.

Back here, I’ve been writing up my notes and listening to music. But now I’m off to bed. I have important things to do tomorrow so I need to be on form.

Monday 9th March 2020 – I WAS RIGHT …

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… about those piles of gravel that had been appearing over the last couple of days on the quayside down in the harbour.

This blurred and illisible photo (I still have a lot to learn about the NIKON 1 J5) shows a ship that I have every reason to believe is Neptune moored at the loading bay by the conveyors where they ship the gravel on board.

At long last we’ve had a gravel boat in the harbour and I shall go out tomorrow (and try to be early) just to confirm that it is indeed she. It would be just my luck for her to have a rapid turn-round and for me to miss her.

But here’s something else quite interesting.

police interaction bad parking boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that bad parking is a regular topic in these pages, particularly in the boulevard Vaufleury which is on a service bus route, is just 50 metres from the High School and is an access road for the fleet of school buses that come in the opposite direction to the service buses.

Where Madame (it is indeed a Madame) is parked is
1) the wrong way round
2) half on the pavement
3) blocking the buses
4) at school chucking-out time
5) just about 20 FEET from a huge free car park
so finally, at long, long last, the local police are doing something about it and they are making her move her vehicle.

That is pretty much encouraging news.

What else is encouraging news is that I was awake before the first alarm went off, and I was out of bed before the final alarm. Crashing out half-way through last night’s entry and so giving up and going to bed was good news in that case.

After the medication, I had a look at the dictaphone. Apparently I was in this labyrinth of a theatre complex last night all the way through this underground reception hall place with doors going off leading into theatre auditoriums and all kinds of things. There were all kinds of announcements about the place, many of them were out of date, 2011 I noticed. There were all kinds of things happening here. But I was just wandering through listening to the radio. They were talking about “hypocrites of the year” I suppose – some guy who was telling us all about how keen he was for this and how good he was going to be for that but while he was doing that he had increased all your library charges. Someone else was going on about how brilliant a cricketer he might have been, all this kind of thing, but he made one fatal mistake and that was heroin. I was drifting through this auditorium that had a couple of very faded leather chairs and the leather was worn out in certain places. Something to do with catching a London Underground train somewhere. There was a thing too about caring for your vans if you were on a limited income, like a hippy, and a warning that the supply of LDV vans even in scrapyards was drying up now – the van that was chosen for an example was a silver LDV M-reg.
A little later I was outside with someone who was supposed to be Liz’s husband but he was more like the father of a couple of friends of mine. He had Liz’s daughter with him. She’d been on a student exchange and she had a student back with them. He was saying “you’ll have to come round for a game of pinocle or something one of these days. We’ll have an evening of five people”. He indicated roughly a place in eastern Manchester, Hyde or that area Stalybridge where he was living but he didn’t go into any further details about that. I was wondering who this “five” was because I knew that he was on his own, the daughter had her friend and there was me, so who was the 5th? I couldn’t think.

After breakfast I had a look at the digital sound files. I managed to unsort three of them too. One of them however needs much more attention because for some unknown reason there’s a load of “additional music” which seems to be a mixture of selections of various tracks, so I’d like to know what was going on there.

It isn’t the first one like that that I had found either.

By now it was time to go for my shower and to clean myself up somewhat, and then head up into town.

floating pontoon support pillar rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNot that I actually got very far before I was interrupted.

Remember yesterday when I photographed all of the pontoon-supporting pillars on the quayside and I mused that they might be assembling them in two rows of four?

Here’s the big floating pontoon travelling across the harbour with one of the pillars within its clutches almost at the place where one would expect to see it if we were going to have a fourth pillar in that row.

scaffolding port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd the scaffolding too. We talked about that as well.

My attention was drawn from a distance that the masts of Marité were not where they would usually be. And that was strange because she doesn’t usually roam around the harbour but stays put in her habitual little corner.

But she’s definitely moved, and the reason for that is that they’ve put the scaffolding, complete with OSB wallboards, in her usual berth and there are a couple of guys down there doing something.

So at least I know that the scaffolding is actually a working platform for some kind of task.

la mascotte boulangerie rue couraye granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom here I headed down into the town centre and up the rue Couraye towards LIDL.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that several weeks ago we watched them fit some kind of protective shuttering around the front of the boulangerie here and start to smash out the old window.

The protective shuttering has now gone and, like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, the new shop front is in glorious display. That’s quite a nice job that they’ve done there. It looks quite good.

Now for the first time ever in my whole life, I’ve seen every till open at the same time in a LIDL. And that will give you some kind of indication of just how busy it was in there today.

No cucumbers, which is a problem, and nothing else of any real interest as far as I was concerned. All in all, a little disappointing. 3-kilo bags of apples was about the closest that I was to a bargain. And they won’t last long now that I’m making my purées myself.

birnam wood dunsinane moving vegetation rue couraye granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I headed to La Mie Caline for my dejeunette but i was held up outside the shop as Birnam Wood went past on its way to Dunsinane.

There was actually a tractor and trailer parked around the corner with several large plants stacked thereupon, and presumably this machine was busy distributing them around the town.

It’s certainly a different approach to beautifying the town. I’ve said often enough … “indeed” – ed … that there isn’t enough greenery in this town and we ought to have some more.

new pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving picked up my dejeunette I headed back home again.

Only half-way up the rue des Juifs before I was distracted yet again. Not that I would know much about these things but they look pretty much like new pontoon supports and new pontoons over there on the west wall of the harbour.

What with one thing and another, I can see that I’m going to be quite busy tomorrow having a look at all of these things. But at least the harbour gates will be closed again by 09:30 or thereabouts so it doesn’t have to be an “early” early.

la granvillais chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd in other news, there’s activity in the chantier navale today too.

It’s been quite busy in there up until very recently, but regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the boats have been going back into the water one by one until just now we had none whatever left.

But that’s all changed now. There are two boats in there now, one of which is a large yacht that might actually be La Granvillaise. I’ll go for a stroll over there this afternoon to check on that.

Back at my apartment I made myself a coffee and then split up a fourth music file. Pretty straightforward except that there were three extra tracks on it that aren’t on the LP that I have, so I had to track down which version of the master tape I had obtained so that I could identify the tracks.

There was still time before lunch to send off my project for this weekend and to start a new one to add to the stock.

After lunch, I carried on with the radio project but didn’t get too far before I was overwhelmed with a wave of fatigue. I didn’t quite crash out but for about 15-20 minutes I was teetering on the edge and didn’t actually do any work or anything while I was sitting there

trawler fishing boat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallBy now it was raining outside when I went for my afternoon walk.

Neptune was due to come into port, that I knew, so when I saw an object the same colour as Neptune far out to sea in the English Channel I took a photo with the intention of enlarging it back in the apartment.

Which I did, and it wasn’t Neptue at all but one of the fishing boats heading back to the port. Neptune must still ne well out of range, which wouldn’t be a surprise because there’s a while yet before the harbour gates will open and she won’t want to sit around outside waiting.

fishing boats trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallShe might not want to, but everyone else is.

The tide is well out and the little creek that leads up to the side of the fish-processing plant is only just starting to fill with water. It’ll be another half an hour or so before she’ll be deep enough to accept the fishing boats but they are all starting to congregate just outside.

There were at least 10 of them out there – maybe more but I had run out of fingers by this point and I wasn’t going to start taking off my shoes and socks. Mind you, had I had my hands in my pockets, I might have been able to count up to 11.

strange house rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was walking round across the lawn by the War memorial, I noticed this.

We haven’t had an earthquake or a landslide or anything. That house is actually built like that. It’s what they call a trompe l’oeil – “something that cheats the eye” and it’s the window thats aligned strangely to follow the contours of the roofs rather than being in the hotizontal/vertical plane.

What’s bewildering me right now though is why I never noticed that before. It’s not like me to miss out on something this.

la granvillais chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnyway, enough of this. I continued on my way around the headland to go to see what was going on in the chantier navale.

And I was right here too. It’s my lucky day, isn’t it? The “G90” painted on the side of the yacht tells us that it is indeed La Granvillaise down there on blocks.

Crowds of people milling round her too so there’s clearly something important going on with her. At least, I imagine that the people are there for her. It’s unlikely that a fishing boat would receive that much attention unless she had caught the Loch Ness Monster.

men in small boat baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallYesterday, you’ll recall that we saw a couple of kayaks out there in the baie de Mont St Michel.

And so when I saw something else quite small out there in that general direction, I reckoned that it might be another one so I took another photograph of it to examine back in the comfort and safety of my apartment.

But it wasn’t a kayak at all but one of the small flat-bottomed boats that they use for transporting the boxes of seafood to the quayside from boats that have for one reason or another not been able to moor at the fish-processing plant.

floating pontoon support pillar rue du port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallAnd earlier this morning we saw the large flaoting pontoon carrying one of the pillars across the harbour.

A short while later the noise of the pile-driver started up and it’s been going on for most of the day. And so I had expected them to have made substantial progress, and I was quite right about that.

It’s been pounded quite well and quite deeply into the bed of the harbour and I imagine that they’ll be connecting up some pontoons to it in early course.

It’s certainly interesting.

And while I was musing on this, I witnessed the “police interaction” that I mentioned earlier.

Back here I did a little more to the radio project but ended up having an hour or so playing with the bass guitar and the 6-string electric/acoustic. It’s been a good while since I had a decent play about and I must work harder on this and make more of an effort.

Tea was a delicious stuffed pepper with rice, followed by some apple pie and coconut soya stuff. And despite the absence of spices, it was really nice. I’ll have to make a few more like that one of these days.

But I’m really going to have to buy a bigger fridge and a bigger freezer.

high winds storm plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallFor my evening walk I went to see what was going on with the winds.

The tide is well out now but the wind is still causing the waves to smash against the wall down on the Plat Gousset. I bet that they didn’t do much repair work on that wall today.

My two runs weren’t a problem, except that my first run had to be on a different course due to waterlogging. And then I went to have a look at Neptune.

Now i’m back here and ready for bed. I’ll finish (I hope) the radio project tomorrow and then I can deal with another outstanding matter.

However did I find the time to go to work?

Sunday 8th March 2020 – I DON’T KNOW …

… whose idea it is to ring that cacophony of church bells at 11:00 on a Sunday morning but it’s almost as if they don’t want you to have a decent lie-in on a Sunday morning when they go around awakening the dead like that.

It certainly put paid to my morning reverie and I was obliged to leave the comfort and warmth of my beautiful bed.

It wasn’t the first time that I had had to leave the bed either. Round about … errr … 04:00 or something like that, I had to go for a ride on the porcelain horse. I thought that I had passed beyond that, but apparently not.

So I went off and had my medication.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the high winds that we were having and the storm that was raging somewhere out in the Atlantic Ocean, let me tell you about my morning.

First thing that I did of course was to check on the dictaphone. And sure enough, I’d been on a little voyage. I was with someone last night who resembled a girl with whom I had worked for a while although it wasn’t her I’m sure, someone like that. We were discussing languages. Something weird had come up and we had a reply to do which we had done in French or Flemish or something. This led to some kind of discussion about languages and what do we do, how did we behave, all this kind of thing. I made the point sometime during this discussion that what we did is that we’d have the radio on if we were at home and just listen to a French programme or a Flemish programme. It didn’t really make any difference to the two of us what we were listening to. Any of the languages were usually pretty good for us.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter that, I carried on with the project that I’m undertaking – of digitalising my collection of LPs.

On thing that I’ve been able to do is to find about 120 digitalised sound files of albums that I own, and I downloaded them all. I’ve then had to split them into individual tracks.

It isn’t easy because many of them are studio master tapes where the tracks are recorded in “recorded order” of course which is quite often very different than the order in which they are published on CDs and LPs

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnother issue is that some of the tapes include tracks that were never ever published – rejected for one reason or another – and which I don’t have a clue what they are.

And sure enough, one of the sound files on which I was working was one of the latter.

Eventually, after a great deal of effort, I tracked it down. It seems that I have somehow managed to lay my hands on a rare Swedish-only version of a master-tape with one additional track that was only available in a couple of countries and a second additional track that was only available in Sweden.

That should be quite a curio when it comes to playing it on the radio programmes.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall13:30. That’s a very civilised time to have breakfast, I reckon. And the last of the home-made apple juice from when I made the apple and pear purée. It’s certainly quite interesting when I am responsible for the making (within certain limits of course) of almost every product that I eat for breakfast.

After breakfast I didn’t really do all that much. After all, it is Sunday and I’m entitled to a break one day a week when I don’t do much.

Nevertheless, round about 15:30 or thereabouts I decided that I would have lunch. I wasn’t all that hungry, and there was an end of a baguette from yesterday hanging around in the kitchen.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallLuckily, I had remembered to fetch some hummus out of the freezer yesterday. Roasted pepper hummus too, made with my own fair hands.

So I had a hummus, tomato, cucumber and lettuce butty for lunch, followed by the usual apple, pear and banana for afters.

And that reminded me (although I’ve no idea why it would) that the lemon and ginger syrup that I make for my medication is running low. Sometime later this week I’ll have to make some more. I’ve plenty of ginger but I bought some juice oranges so I’ll go for orange syrup this time.

storm baie de mont st michel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallWhatever happens, I mustn’t forget my afternoon walk. I’m only on 3% wandering around the apartment.

Mind you, sticking my head out of the door, I wasn’t too impressed about the idea of going out.

By the looks of things, there was a huge storm brewing away across the baie de Mont St Michel over there on the Brittany coast. And knowing my usual luck, I would probably end up finding myself right in the middle of it before I’d gone too far.

storm baie de mont st michel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallBut anyway, in for a penny, in for a pound. I set off out.

And I wasn’t alone either. Despite the wind there were crowds of people milling around enjoying the weather and I was determined to join them.

My route took me right around the headland and down the steps at the end. And the farther on my travels I advanced, the more I didn’t like the look of the weather. It was just looking worse and worse

storm pointe de carolles baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallMind you, my luck was in, for once.

The storm was advancing quite quickly but as I rounded the headland at the Pointe du Roc I could see that it was going to miss me by a good few miles.

It had found shore down by the Pointe du Carolles and places like Carolles-Plage and Jullouville were taking something of a pounding. I’m glad that it wasn’t here, because it did look particularly nasty over there.

storm high winds port de granville harbourmanche normandy france eric hallMy perambulations brought me further around the headland and here I was greeted with a sight that made the walk all worthwhile.

As I have said before … “many times” – ed … there’s nothing between that harbour wall and the eastern seaboard of the USA and here we have the highest tides in Europe.

Consequently the power that can build up in the water whenever there is a major storm anywhere in the North Atlantic is really impressive and the sea walls here catch the lot of it full force.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallregular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen some really impressive seas come roaring in just here.

And today is no exception to that. I stoop and watched it all for a good 10 minites even though I had other things to do, just because it was so impressive.

Strangely enough, there were several people passing by here, but no-one else seemed to be interested in staying to watch the free show.

trawlers new pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSo instead, I had a wander down to the port. The harbour gates were closed as, believe it or not, the tide is well out (although you might not think so) so I could cross over to the other side of the harbour.

One thing that has been interesting me is the story of the new pontoons that they have been installing in the harbour. We’ve seen the pontoons on the north side of the harbour alongside the rue du Port but I wanted to look at the new ones on this side

That is, assuming that I can get close enough to them, because they are crowded out with fishing boats right now. There can’t be too many out at sea today.

scaffolding anchoring boards port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnother thing that we’ve been looking at as we have been on our way around is the scaffolding that is bolted to the side of the harbour wall here.

Being a Sunday and with no-one around, I took the opportunity to have a closer look, trying not to fall into the harbour while I was doing it.

And the result is that I’m still not too sure of its purpose and the OSB boards here fixed to the wall don’t seem to be able to throw any light upon the subject.

All that I can think of, as a wild guess, is that it’s a set of steps for the crew of the floating pontoon to descend to their little boat.

new pontoon anchoring poles port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWe’ve also seen them installing steel pillars in the harbour in order to extend the row of pontoons out perpendicularly from the harbour walls.

Three have already been installed in the harbour and I was sure that there were others although I couldn’t remember how many. Consequently I went to have a good look aroud and eventually came across them.

And I was correct. I had seen them and here they are – five of them by my reckoning. That seems to indicate two lines of four each and that’s not going to be good news for the commercial boats that come here and need the open space to manoeuvre.

And that’s going to be interesting even sooner than we imagined, because Neptune, one of the gravel boats, has just left Shoreham Harbour – “next stop Granville”. I was right about the heaps of gravel.

quai de hérel roche gauthier granville manche normandy france eric hallAs you probably saw in the previous photograph, the storm has passed, the clouds are now all gone and the sun is now out.

That made me decide to push on and have a marathon walk all the way along the Quai Hérel all the way down to the new block of flats (and how I would love to live here!) and the Pointe du Roche Gauthier.

That’s as far as you can do around here. The path comes to a sudden stop and you have to retrace your steps 100 metres or so until you come to a flight of steps that go back up to the road.

quai de hérel granville manche normandy france eric hallSo, retracing my steps, I can show you the big modern building over there on the left.

That’s the CRNG, the Centre Regional de Nautisme de Granville, and it’s also where the Youth Hostel and the Salle Hérel are.

The Salle Hérel was quite interesting today – or should have been – because they were having a “Free Market” where everyone takes the stuff that they no longer want so that others may help themselves.

However I was too late because anything that might have been of interest had probably long-since gone.

old pallet bulkhead granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk brought me up past the Tax Office and it was round about here that I had an exciting encounter.

It’s not so much the car, but what the owner was using as a bulkhead to stop whatever was in the back sliding forward into the passenger seat.

It’s an old freight pallet cut down to size and trimmed to be an exact fit. I was well-impressed by this and wished that I had thought of it in the past when I had the Passat.

escalier chemin de choisel railway engineering depot gare de granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk took me onwards down little alleys that I had only glimpsed in the past.

My aim was to do down past the station and down into the Park de Val es Fleurs to see what was going on around there but in the distance I noticed a flight of steps that I hadn’t seen before.

That made up my mind to go and follow my star wherever it was going to lead me and see what was at the other end – stopping for a glance backwards at the railway engineering depot in the background where the trains are stored and repaired.

chemin de choisel granville manche normandy france eric hallMy little climb brought me out into a little housing estate where a small path led to the main Avenue de la Liberation.

This path in turn led me past a nice modern block of flats in the chemin de Choisel. And nice though the flats might have seemed, it wasn’t my cup of tea because someone was playing some music full-blast with the windows in one of the apartments.

Where I live, I have solid stone walls 1.2 metres thick so I can play music as loud as I like without disturbing the neighbours. That wouldn’t work here at all.

ruined house under repair avenue de la liberation granville manche normandy france eric hallOut on the avenue de la Liberation and here’s a thing.

Ever since I’ve been in Granville, and probably for many years prior to that, there were some old, abandoned houses that were fenced off from the road.

It’s been a good while since I’ve been past here on foot and to my surprise something seems to be happening to them right now. We have a crane, a new roof and all other kinds of exciting things.

That will be a nice place to live when it’s all finished.

While I was here, I could have carried on down the road into town, gone down another footpath and the steps to the Park de Val es Fleurs, or else through the gardens of the Musée Christian Dior and down the steps to the Plat Gousset.

buoy english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallObviously the latter will bring me closer to the sea and with me being a Pisces, being close to water is one of my aims, so I made my way down the side of the tennis club.

Last time I was out here, I saw a big cruise ship out to sea, so I had a look to see if I was going to be lucky again.

Not quite. No shipping out there today but we did have one of these mysterious buoys bobbing around in the sea down there. I still haven’t worked out what they are four but my suspicion is that they are something to do with fishing gear – nets or lobster pots, that kind of thing I reckon.

garden musée christian dior granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were crowds of people out there today and a long, continuous line of people coming up the steps.

The steps are quite narrow and there isn’t much room to pass anyone so I had to wait for a while while they came up. That gave me an opportunity to take a photo of the nice archway down there that leads to the final flight of steps down to the promenade.

And the sea was looking pretty rough down there too. This could be very interesting.

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd i wasn’t wrong either.

It’s now 17:40 which means that there’s still an hour or so to high tide, and the sea is totally wicked out there, smacking into the sea wall here with an incredible force and sending spray everywhere.

It’s lucky that the promenade s quite wide otherwise I could easily end up marooned down here and that wouldn’t be very pleasant, having to climb all the way back up the steps again..

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I wasn’t alone here either.

This was a show that you would have to pay a fortune to watch in some places, but we were having it for free. There were probably a couple of hundred people down here this afternoon making the most of the entertainment and we were all having more than our money’s worth.

So impressive was it that I stayed down here for half an hour taking photos when one of the very big waves came in

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallWe’ve had quite a few storms down here so far this year, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and we’ve seen plenty of areas that have been fenced off due to the damage that the wild seas have caused.

There’s some more over there and apparently this needs to be fixed before the Grand Marée, the very high tide, comes in on Wednesday. They’ve engaged some workmen to do the job and they have erected some scaffolding to work from, but I don’t fancy their chances out there today.

It’s a good job that it’s a Sunday – a Day Of Rest – today when they can have a day off.

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire a few more photos of the storm on the Plat Gousset, I climbed back up all of the steps and walked home via the square Maurice Marland.

There was still about 40 minutes or so before teatime, so I busied myself with another pile of photos from July 2019 and my trip to Iceland. I really need to press on with that before i’m much older.

The trouble is, though, that with having no internet out there, I wasn’t able to do any research into the photos. Consequently every one that I am editing, I need to research to find out where it is and what’s in the image.

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallSunday is vegan pizza night of course, but it’s also pudding time seeing as I have the oven on already.

It’s usually rice pudding or some such, but last week we had a delicious apple crumble. Apple pie has been on the menu too in the past and that was what I intended to try today, using the new pie dish that I bought.

These pastry rolls are the business. The cheap ones from LeClerc are vegan of course so I always have a stock of those on hand. And I’d picked up some backing apples too on Sunday.

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallSo, grease the pie dish and unroll one of the pastry rolls and put that in, gently pressing down so that it’s in at the seam at the bottom.

Thinly slice a couple of the apples and lie the slices in on top of the pastry, making as many layers as you can fit in, so that the pastry is completely covered.

On every layer, a think coating of desiccated coconut, brown sugar and lemon juice (and some cinnamon and nutmeg, which I completely forgot, for some reason or other that I can’t explain).

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallUnroll another pastry roll, cut out a top for the pie, with an overhang of about 2 cms.

Wet with some mile the part of the pastry that is on the lip of the pie dish, then put the top on and press it down really hard with a fork to the pastry underneath on the lip. Then trim off the excess pastry.

Put a few slits in the top of the pie to let out the steam, brush with milk and sprinkle with brown sugar. Then bung in the oven.

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallWith the excess pastry, coast it on both sides – and your rolling pin – with flour to stop it sticking, and roll it out with your rolling pin. It won’t be square, so keep on trimming it off and adding the trimmings into appropriate places so that it’s as square as you can make it

Grease a flat oven tray and gently with a couple of spatulas, pick up your flat pastry and put on the tray. Add the leftover apple slices into the centre, with desiccated coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg (which I remembered this time) then fold over all of the pastry and press it together to seal it.

Prick it with a fork to let the steam out, brush with milk and sprinkle with brown sugar, and bung that in the oven too.

apple turnover apple pie place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd here’s the end result. It all looks pretty impressive and I bet it tastes even better even without the spices in the pie. I won’t be trying it this evening though because there’s still some apple crumble left.

Instead, the turnover was cut into 2 and put in the freezer, and the pie went in the fridge ready to start on tomorrow.

Rather like the time that I made a meat and potato pie when I was younger. I left the eyes in the potatoes so that it would see me through the week.

I’ll get my coat.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOne thing that I mustn’t forget is my evening walk. I’m already up to 95% so i don’t intend to go far.

The NIKON 1 J5 and f1.8 18.5mm lens came with me so that I could have a little play around. I reset the ISO to “MAX 3200” rather than “MAX 6400” as the graining is too much, and stopped down a couple of stops to see what I could produce with that.

And f1.74 at 1/50 second and ISO3200 gave me this image. And for a hand-held shot, it’s quite reasonable. Joly France looks quite nice out there at the ferry terminal.

There have been much worse shots than this.

I’m wondering what else I can produce with this camera if I show some patience. Some good might come out of the enforced deprivation of the big NIKON D500

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the rest of the photos of the storm there is something else that I mustn’t forget – and that is to go running.

And it’s a good job that I did those two-and-a-half runs yesterday because I only managed one and a half today. Not because of lack of willingness or lack of fitness, but because my first run down the rue du Roc was right into the teeth of a howling gale.

When I hit the slope of the hill about half-way or so along my course, it stopped me dead in my tracks and that was that. Luckily the return run along to boulevard Vaufleury was with the wind so that was a lot easier and I managed an extra 20 metres or so.

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallSo now I’m back home and in the warmth.

There are tons of photos to edit and lots to write, so i doubt that I’ll be able to finish it tonight. But I’ll do what I can before I go to sleep and whatever remains to be done, I can finish it all off tomorrow.

Not that I’m complaining of course. This was a good day out and a really good walk around – more than enough to tire myself out. If I do fall asleep while writing out my notes, it will be for a very good …


Friday 6th March 2020 – SPEND! SPEND! SPEND!

Yes, I’ve had some good fortune today, and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any. But that’s another story of course, the sea approaches to Kugluktuk not excepted.

In fact, I should really have started this entry yesterday because that was when it all kicked off. Only in my confused state – something that is a regular occurrence these days – I forgot to mention it.

So yesterday I had a letter from the Belgian Old-Age Pension Authorities. After only about a year or so since I made my application, they have finally agreed to grant me an old-age pension in respect of my time spent working for General Electric and for that other strange American company where I met Alison.

So, as of 1st March 2019, I am richer by the princely sum of … errr … €29:47 per month. Yes, I can really go wild with that, can’t I?

But it’s not actually the sum of money that is important. It’s what goes with it that matters. I haven’t yet looked closely into it but there are things like free eye care, free dental treatment and the like. I’m not quite sure what, but believe me, I shall be looking closely into it over the course of the next few days.

And that’s not all. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had to go to the Bank today to pick up this blasted form. Three weeks since I handed it in, just for a simple stamp to be stamped upon it, and it took until today for it to be completed.

The guy to whom I spoke – he was as bewildered as I was as to why no-one there could have done it on the spot. he suggested that, the next time, I speak to him directly when I need something like this.

But then the subject turned round to the question of my money there. Not that there’s a great deal, but even so, he reckons that I could be doing so much better with it. And he worked out a little plan.

“You have your contents insurance with us” he said “but if you had other insurances, you’d get an even better deal”.
“But I do!” I insisted. “I have my motor insurance, my legal protection insurance (yes, I had a very mis-spent youth and who knows what’s bubbling away somewhere?) and the insurance on Virlet with you”
“No you don’t” he retorted.
“Yes I do” I insisted. “Have a look at my July outgoings”
And so he did. And there were my three annual payments
“But these are with the Credit Agricole Centre-France” he said. “That’s a different organisation”
Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the fun and games we had when I moved here and tried to have my bank accounts set up and transferred over. I thought, that after much ado about nothing and all of the time that it took, the situation had been resolved. But apparently not.

Anyway, he picked up the ‘phone and did it all on the spot so that at long last, all of my banking details are under the same roof in France.

“And I have some good news for you” he said. “This is a cheaper area for insurance than the Puy-De-Dome. You’ll be saving on your insurances with us.”

So he’s going to look at them more closely and get back to me with some revised propositions. And, hopefully, some money back too.

This morning I was ever so close to beating the alarms. I failed by a matter of seconds and that was very sad news.

But still, an early start (just about) and after the medication, I looked at the dictaphone. Strawberry Moose starred in last night’s entertainment. he was out somewhere and there was a football match going on with all different people, women and girls just kicking around playing. He was on the sidelines cheering and they were talking about him. Someone was saying, some woman saying that she’d been out for 30 years but had had to go back to work and was working as a typist and was taking Strawberry Moose with her to do some kind of reporting. I said “he’s going to be extremely busy then because tomorrow he’s going to the swimming baths and he has another football match to go to tomorrow afternoon”. I was busy trying to fit a dressing-up costume on him but his paws were too big to go through the sleeve holes and so on. This was another one with a lot lore to it than this but I can’t remember it now.

So that was the best that I could do during the night, and I went for breakfast instead.

Once breakfast was out of the way I had a look at a few digital tracks. No problems with any of them this morning although a couple of them ended up being far longer than I was expecting, and one of them many more tracks than there ought to be. I wonder if this is a “lost studio master” with the discarded tracks left on it. Who knows?

gravel lorry port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAll of that took me up to about 11:30, believe it or not, and then it was time to go out for my dejeunette.

And one part of me wished that I hadn’t because I’ve never seen a rainstorm like it. I was drenched before I’d gone 100 yards. But another part of me was pleased that I went because I caught a gravel lorry just finishing tipping its load on the quayside and then reversing into a gravel bay to turn round.

And you can tell about the rain from just looking at the photo.

concrete drainage channels parking rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk took me down past the car park that they are fitting out on the quayside on the rue du Port.

And I believe that I made some kind of sarcastic comment about the roller-coaster concrete track that they had laid in the middle of it.

But it’s quite clear now why they have done it like that, and I’m off to eat some humble pie instead. They’ve fitted some concrete guttering on the concrete strip that they laid, and the dips now have drainage grids installed in them.

So they are obviously like a roller-coaster in order to channel away the water. So I’ll shut up.

Having picked up my bread at La Mie Caline I came back here and as there was still plenty of time before lunch I finished off the editing of the sound file for Project 030.

For lunch I had more of the mushroom, leek and potato soup and it’s even more delicious. Tomorrow will be the last load and then I’ll be back on the hummus butties. Must take some hummus out of the freezer.

after lunch I went down into town for my appointment with the Credit Agricole, as I mentioned earlier.

toffee apples candy floss stall granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back, I decided to go for a little walk around to see what was happening.

The fete foraine – the funfair – has cleared off as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. But not all of it has gone. The candu floss and toffee apple stall is still here.

Does that mean that it’s going to stay here for the summer? That will be quite interesting if it does. It will all add to life’s great pageant down here on the coast for the season.

pile of gravel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut here’s exciting, isn’t it?

There’s certainly something going on here because the pile of gravel by the conveyor is getting bigger and bigger so there’s clearly something about to happen.

And I’m afraid that curiosity got the better of me when I returned home. I had a look at the shipping AIS map and, sure enough, the bulk carrier Neptune that comes in here sometimes for the gravel in in the English Channel and it’s heading in this direction.

Of course, it’s too early to say what it’s doing and where it’s going, but it’s optimistic.

pontoon port de granville granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the installation of these three large grey pillars in the harbour and my theory about that they are for.

And it looks as if I’m right on that score too, because down there they are installing some pontoons heading our perpendicularly to the quayside and anchored to the posts.

Incidentally, I had a look to see how the pontoons are fastened to the mounting brackets. They are on rollers in grooves so that they will float up and down as the water level changes.

Unless they have a puncture, which is always possible I suppose.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk took me back around the long way in order to clock up the percentages on the fitbit.

And look who’s coming into harbour right now! It’s our old friend Thora coming in from Jersey on the afternoon tide. So hello to Thora.

As for me, I made it back and cracked on with the Project 030. I joined it all up and found a final track to finish it off, and then dictated the notes for it.

Just for a change, I ended up being four seconds short so I had to dictate a little extra to let into the proceedings. But that’s now all done and dusted and it doesn’t sound too bad.

What makes a difference is that there’s less talking from me.

Tea tonight was a burger and pasta in tomato sauce followed by apple crumble and the last of the Alpro Soya Dessert (note to buy some more).

And while I was eating, I was musing over my breakfast. Home-made muesli (well, home-mixed, should I say because the individual items were brought in), home-made apple and pear purée and home-made apple and pear cordial.

That’s all pretty impressive stuff, I have to say.

rue du nord place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallFor my evening walk I took the little NIKON 1 J5 with me, fitted with the f1.8 50mm lens.

You can see the image that I took with it tonight. That’s darkened four stops on the Exposure Compensation function. Still far too bright. And far too blurred.

What I’ll have to do is to set the camera to shutter priority and use a faster speed to eliminate the blurring, and then give it all some further thought.

Despite the howling gale I managed my two runs, although the first was not where I usually go. The wind blew me out of there.

The football was weird. TNS sprinted into a 2-goal lead in minutes and never ever looked like they were in trouble. Barry Town were pretty poor and the possession – 62%-38% and the corners 8-2 tell their own story.

And if it could speak, the Barry Town woodwork would have a few things to say. It’s no exaggeration that TNS could have had half a dozen against a very poor Barry Town side by half-time.

But football is a funny game, as we all know. After about 55 minutes the Barry Town right-back floated in a speculative cross to the TNS penalty area from the right wing. Everyone, including the TNS goalkeeper Paul Harrison, stood and watched as it floated aimless into the area and be picked up by the slightest breeze that drifted it onto the far post and rebounded into the net.

Deep into injury time Barry Town won their second corner of the game. The high cross was headed by a Barry Town attacker towards the outstretched arms of Paul Harrison,, only for it to hit one of his own players and take a wicked deflection into the net.

So probably the most astonishing 2-2 draw that i’ve ever seen. And I bet that the crowd is still shaking its head over this result because I know that I am.

Shopping tomorrow, and if I’m early, I’m going on a little expedition. “Spend, spend, spend!” as I said earlier.

Thursday 4th April 2019 – REMEMBER YESTERDAY …

trawler storm port de granville harbour manche normandy france… when I told you that winter had returned to Normandy?

Well, it’s here and with a vengeance too. The storm is blowing up right across the bay and churning up the sea something wicked.

This little trawler, with its lifeboat in tow, is making heavy weather of leaving port this morning and struggling out into the wind.

night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy franceBy the time the evening came round, the wind had dropped slightly.

Ever so slightly, and as it was high tide when I went out for my evening walk, the waves were crashing down over the top of the Plat Gousset in an impressive fury.

All in all, it’s been quite a spectacle today with the weather the way that it has been.

Despite a night that was rather later than I wanted, I had a decent sleep up until about 05:30 when I awoke. There was a little bit of awakening during the night but nothing much to worry about.

There had been plenty of time to go on a little voyage or two though. I was at a meal last night and sitting at the table were a couple of people whom I know – Zero being one of them. She at one time was a regular feature in my nocturnal rambles and who seems to be making something of a comeback just now). She was saying to the man who was with her – probably her father – that if only she had said something different to … (a former school-friend of mine) … he might be alive today. My ears pricked up at this news. “Is … (so-and-so) dead then?” “Ohh yes” said the reply. “Died last night”. There was another friend of ours working in the same place so I dashed down to tell him the news. He wasn’t there so I left a note on his desk. But on reflection I reckoned that the note wasn’t very clear and should have been written in a different way to clarify it.)

A little later I was caught in something of a no-man’s-land between here and the Auvergne. I had a piece of land down there and there was a wooden chalet-type thing there but it was just a shell, no inner lining and no inner dividing walls. I’d had it up for sale and people had been looking at it. A princess had liked one version of it and someone else liked another version of it, and all in all I was becoming confused about what I was going to do. The land down there was full of stuff including a Honda 500cc twin motorbike – a really nice parallel twin from the 1980s, a few cars and a couple of those were nice too, and an alsatian dog that stayed down there and guarded the place when I was away for months on end. I went back there with a former friend from Stoke on Trent. He was saying how he liked one particular style in which the chalet could be arranged. He started to pick up the wardrobes, even those full of clothes, and carry them about to put them in other places. I was wondering about all of the work that needed doing to organise everything so that I could sell it on but it’s not even worth thinking about. He had a drive around the field on this Honda and said how he thought that it was beautiful. He asked what I was going to do with it, and I replied that I was going to take it to Brussels. Getting it into the van won’t be a problem but getting it out at the other end might be because I’m on my own there. He’d let this dog loose. It was sniffing around everything. There was a Ford Anglia estate and the tailgate was open. We were having a look inside it and this dog came and jumped inside. I was saying “get the dog out. It has no business being in there”. I was worried that it was going to disgrace itself and ruin the interior.

And for a change, I was up quite early too and I’d quickly dealt with the morning procedures. I’d even managed a shower too.

It’s shopping day today but before I went out I transcribed a few notes from the dictaphone.

Terry turned up to say hello too. One of my neighbours wanted some DiY work doing and he’d been signed up to do it.

trans-shipping goods rue st jean walled town granville manche normandy franceOnce I had Terry settled in, I headed out to the shops, braving the howling wind. But again, I didn’t get very far at all.

I’ve mentioned before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … that large, heavy vehicles are not allowed into the interior of the city walls. They have to park up outside and the goods trans-shipped to a smaller vehicle.

We’ve seen that happen a few times already, and there was another occurrence this morning.

fishing trawlers unloading port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe fish dock by the Fish Processing plant was busy too.

They must have just opened the harbour gates because there are three trawlers down there unloading their catch, and a whole fleet of vans and lorries waiting to take away the produce.

It must have been a really impressive sight down there 40 or 50 years ago when the cod-fishing on the Grand Banks was at its height.

crane port de granville harbour manche normandy franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that every so often we are treated to the presence of a rather large crane on the quayside.

The last one was in April last year, and here sure enough almost exactly a year later, there’s another one here today.

From up here, I couldn’t see what it was doing down there, and in view of the weather I didn’t fancy the idea of going down there to make further enquiries. I’ll save that for a better day.

moving gravel port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThat’s not all of the excitement down in the harbour either.

We now have a huge load of gravel accumulating on the quayside, and a digger moving it around so that it’s by the conveyors.

That can only mean one thing, and that is that Neptune or one of her sisters will be here in early course. She’s actually in London right now, but Shetland Trader is at large in the English Channel a mere cockstride from here.

From here I strolled up through the town on the way to the railway station. There, I collected my tickets for my next trip to Leuven. I like to have them in my possession well in advance because the ticket machines aren’t always reliable and the ticket office is closed when I arrive for my train.

Next stop was at LIDL for the midweek shopping. Apart from the usual stuff and a packet of brazil nuts, I bought one of these shower hanger trays. I’m fed up of my soap and shampoo floating around all over the place and I’ve been looking for one of these.

Today, LIDL was having a bathroom equipment sale and these shower hanger trays were one of the articles on offer.

new housebuilding rendering rue sainte genevieve granville manche normandy franceOn my way back home I went down via the rue Saint Paul into the rue Sainte Genevieve to check up on the new house-building.

As I suspected the other day, they are now rendering it with crépi.

And it’s quite interesting to see how they do it. They have a mixing machine that makes it come out like a rather wet clay and the spray it onto the breeze blocks and then smooth it over with some large floats.

Back here, I made myself a nice hot chocolate and then set down to work.

All of the blog entries as far back as 12th July 2018 are now up-to-date. But I’ve run aground temporarily because I’m back to when I was prowling around the Somme front line.

The searchable text database is done back to there too and, as it happens, so are the dictaphone notes for that period.

So one of the projects on hand is to tie them all together and make up a couple of web pages about the whole voyage. But when I’ll do that I really don’t know right now.

Terry came round for lunch and a chat, and after he had left I had another session indexing the photos from my trip to the High Arctic. I’ve probably done another 100 or so and I shall be glad when they are all done and dusted, because then I can add them to the blog entries for those dates.

That’s a task that is long-overdue.

While all that was going on, there was a terrific rainstorm going on outside, but by the time that I was due to go for my walk it had stopped.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOnce outside, I didn’t bother to loiter in the wind.

A brisk walk around the headland and a quick look at the chantier navale. They weren’t spraying today, which is hardly a surprise given the wind.

But I did notice that there seems to be a layer of colour in a stripe low down on the hull, so it looks as if they are getting close to putting on the final coat.

Back here, I whacked another pile of notes off the dictaphone list, in the middle of which I was roused by Terry telephoning me to say that he’d been banging on my door for 10 minutes. I must have … errr … had a litle relax.

We had a chat and after he had gone home (and I had forgotten to give him some stuff for Liz) I carried on with the dictaphone.

So engrossed was I with what I was doing that I was late for tea. So i did a quick plate of mixed veg and pasta tossed in powdered garlic and olice oil followed by pineapple and coconut soya cream.

night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy franceAfter the washing-up, I headed out for my evening walk.

The wind had dropped slightly so I could actually walk, but there’s an incredible amount of force in the sea, as I have said before.

It’s all stored up in some incredible reserve of force and with a 3,000-odd mile uninterrupted journey across the Atlantic, the force can remain in the mass of the sea for quite a considerable time.

night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy franceBy the time that I made it round to the view overlooking the Plat Gousset, it was not far off high tide.

I could see that the waves were crashing over the sea wall with an incredible amount of violence. I stood there and watched it for quite a while.

It’s really quite a spectacle when it’s going full steam ahead, as you can ses.

After a while, I headed back home, giving a little kitten a stroke on the way

With being a little late this evening, it’s rather last now so i won’t be having my early night tonight. But I’ll do the best that I can.

But I’ve had two lots of news today. And both concern little projects that I’ve had on the go for a while. Things have no accelerated and one of them is now complete and the other one, I’m now locked into.

And so there’s no turning back now, and I have an awful lot of work to do before I’m very much older. I wish I had been more selective and brought more books back from the Auvergne.

I need a good sleep tonight.

crane port de granville harbour manche normandy france
crane port de granville harbour manche normandy france

night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy france
“night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy france

night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy france
“night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy france

night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy france
“night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy france

Monday 11th March 2019 – FOR THE FIRST …

… time since the football over two weeks ago, I had a mug of coffee – when I was at Liz and Terry’s. In fact I had two.

And that probably explains why I was still wide awake working on the computer this morning at 02:30, unable to sleep.

Eventually, I did manage to go to bed. And a short while later I did actually go to sleep.

When the alarms went off at 06:00,06:10 and 06:20 there was absolutely no danger of my leaving my little bed. 09:05 was mush more of a respectable time given the circumstances.

As a result, we can almost dismiss the morning as a write-off. by the time I settled down to do some work it was 12:20.

One thing that I had done was to get on the phone to my web hosts. My domain names need renewal and for some reason the direct debiting wasn’t working.

After several attempts I was connected to the French helpline where the formalities were completed. And I was struck by the accent of the girl to whom I was speaking. it turns out that not only was she a French speaker from Acadie in New Brunswick, she was actually there, and my call had been diverted to Canada.

a little later I nipped out to Caliburn. the memory card in the dashcam in Caliburn had filled up yesterday so I’d brought it in with me. This morning I uploaded all of the media onto the hard drive and then took the empty card back down to keep as a spare.

One of my neighbours was out there so we had a chat. But freezing in the howling wind, I came in quickly.

Lunch was as usual, and then I set to work with the shredder. Another huge mound of paper has gone to meet its maker and another day or two will see the rest of it on its way. And then there’s more to attack, to keep me out of mischief for the next 6 months.

armor charles marie la granvillaise chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThis afternoon I braved the hurricane and went outside, bumping into another neighbour on the way.

Nothing much happening out there, except at the chantier navale where Armor, Charles-Marie and La Granvillaise were receiving attention.

But the funfair seems to have gone, and so does Neptune. She set off at 06:08 on her way to Whitstable.

chocolate birthday cake liz terry messenger granville manche normandy franceBack here, I opened my birthday present from Liz and Terry. A gorgeous chocolate cake.

It won’t keep for too long and seeing as I’m off to Belgium on Thursday half of it went straight into the fridge.

But I also cut myself off a slice to taste. And it’s delicious, as you might expect. As I have now run out of apple pie, I’ll be having a slice here and there for pudding with my coconut-flavoured soya cream.

Rosemary rang me up later and we had quite a chat – 1:33 of it, to be precise. She’s back now in France and here she intends to stay.

Tea was the pizza that I should have had yesterday, followed by the last slice of apple pie.

moonlight night ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceAnd then the walk around the walls.

There was only a thin sliver of moon but with the clear sky there was a beautiful reflection on the sea.

The wind had dropped and it was cold, but there was no-one around at all, apart from a new black cat that came for a stroke.

So now I’m going to bed. Nice and early. I want to have an early start tomorrow as I have a lot to do.

But before I go, spare a thought for my niece’s eldest daughter. Her boyfriend was seriously ill and his chances of survival were slight. He had proposed marriage to her and they tied the knot on Christmas Eve.

Unfortunately their time together was short. He passed away on Saturday morning.

Poor Zoe.

Saturday 9th March 2019 – NEPTUNE IS BACK!

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOn my way out to the shops this morning, I noticed that Neptune had come in on the tide earlier this morning.

I stopped at the side of the road to take a photo of her. She’s busy pumping out the bilges – probably come over here in a ballast of water to keep her on an even keel in the stormy seas that we have been having just recently.

So she won’t be loading quite yet.

Last night was another decent night’s sleep. I was awake just before the alarm went off but I was in no hurry to leave the bed.

But last night was a rather interesting night. I was in a house where there were two separate gangs of organised criminals, and the aim was to keep these two groups separate so that they did not cross each other’s path. At a certain moment, we had to leave to go somewhere so I had to pack. And fo some reason I was packing all kinds of clothes that I had already worn and needed washing – with the argument that I could wash them in the hotel sink (although how I was going to iron the shirts was something else completely). I needed to pack the laptop and a few other things, but I only had a very short space of time to do it.
Later, I was somewhere round about the junction of Gresty Road and South Street talking to a couple that might have been the French mother and son whom I had met on the Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour. I asked the mother if she had lived round here long, to which she replied in the affirmative. And so I enquired about a house at the back of the Royal Hotel in Pedley Street that was used as an artist’s studio, with a great big picture window facing south (which is bizarre because windows in artists’ studios face north, so that the light is even). She said that she knew nothing about it, but nevertheless she told me a surprising amount. So off I went round there to the area where I was on Wednesday morning and the Aldi supermarket and where, on reflections, I’ve been before, and found the house. In there were a couple of photographers and a couple of models doing some kind of greenscreen photography.

After the usual morning ritual of medication and breakfast, I had a shower and then set the washing machine going. There’s a huge pile of washing built up and I’m not sure how.

And then Neptune and the shops, calling at the paper container to dump another load of shreddings. It’s full now so I’ll have to wait for a while until it’s emptied.

LIDL had nothing special, although I did pick up another set each of AA and AAA batteries. I’ll have a big change-round of batteries here in the important stuff like the dictaphone and so on.

bad parking noz granville manche normandy franceAt NOZ, we encountered yet again another example of pathetic parking.

Judging by the registration number, that car is at least 10 years old, by the way.

Even though I spent a reasonable sum of money, it was on incidental stuff – nothing of any importance, except maybe a plastic werving spoon with holes in and, at long last, a nylon hand-whisk.

I have a metal whisk, which is great for using in a glass bowl, but no good in a metal saucepan. So €0:99 was money well spent.

Caliburn is getting low on fuel so I put some more in at LeClerc – the first since October, and then I didn’t fill it. I’m not going anywhere these days.

And in the shop, I didn’t buy anything special. There’s no point seeing as I’m going on Thursday.

Back here I actually managed to unpack and put everything away, and then I hung up the washing on the clothes drier in the windowsill.

After lunch I finished the blog entries for October so that’s up-to-date now.

But I couldn’t keep going. by about 14:30 I was under the covers in bed asleep, and there I stayed until 15:45.

house renovation rue du nord granville manche normandy franceHowever, I did managed to haul myself out of bed and go off for my afternoon walk.

This took me round by the rue du Nord and here on the corner they had started the renovation of a small block of flats here.

I shall keep my eyes on this work too over time, to see what they are doing.

new house building rue du nord granville manche normandy franceFurther on down the rue du nord, I had another look at the building works going on there.

That’s been going on all through the winter, in some kind of desultory fashion because he doesn’t seem to be making any rapid progress.

I’ve no idea when he might be finishing the job, but I’m not holding my breath.

crowds plat gousset granville manche normandy franceDespite the fact that it was cold (I have the heating on again) there were quite a few people out with me walking around the walls today.

And down there on the Plat Gousset there were even more crowds of people milling around enjoying the early March weather.

It won’t be long before the tourists are back.

people on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy franceWe even had a few people running around up and down the beach.

It’s not really a day for being on the beach, but at least they were enjoying it, so good luck to them.

But looking at the figure at the foot of the diving platform, and seeing how far out the sea is, when we have a high tide, the water is up above the level of the platform so you can see the tidal range around here.

funfair parking herel pointe gautier granville manche normandy franceThe fairground out at the Parking Hérel is still going on, even though Carnaval finished on Tuesday.

For an experiment, I tried a long exposure to see if I could pick up the movement effect of the fairground attraction, but it didn’t turn out as I was hoping.

I can see that I shall have to work on my technique.

daffodils place maurice marland granville manche normandy franceFurther on around the walls, I ended up in the Place Maurice Marland.

And having talked yesterday about Spring, here today we have the daffodils blooming quite impressively.

We’re definitely expecting the sun right now then, aren’t we? Spring can’t be too far away at all.

neptune marite le styx port de granville harbour manche normandy franceBack on the walls, I had a look down into the harbour.

We have Marité of course, and also a trawler by the name of Le Styx, and also Neptune, who seems to have stopped pumping out the ballast water.

And unless I’m very much mistaken, she seems to have acquired a new digger. The old one was white – I’m pretty certain of that. But this one is yellow.

Back here, I made a start on the images for September. Only a world-record 1730 of them so it’ll take me an age to do all of them.

And then, finally, I can restart the web pages for my trip to the High Arctic.

We had a break for the football. A top-of-the-table clash between Connah’s Quay and TNS. Connah’s Quay lost the match, and the lead in the table, by a score of 2-0.

And the difference was that Connah’s Quay played with a very ineffective attack, whereas TNS were excellent up front.

The Nomads can say goodbye to the Championship after this, and we’re back in the usual position of TNS out in front.

Tea was out of a tin – ravioli with lentils and veg followed by apple pie and soya.

funfair parking herel granville manche normandy franceAnd then out for my walk around the headland in the rain.

Nothing much happening, except that the funfair seemed still to be working. Nothing else apart from that so I came home and made myself a mug of cocoa to warm me up.

Now I’m off to bed, and a good lie-in tomorrow I hope.

I certainly need it.

Tuesday 12th February 2019 – THE GOOD NEWS …

… today (because there has been some) is that my new passport arrived.

There was a telephone call this morning asking me if I would be here this afternoon because the courier intended to pass by.

And so having confirmed it, I received a second phone call at about 15:35 to ask me which was the door to my block of apartments. Instead, I went downstairs and a charming lady handed me a big yellow envelope.

So now, being all legal again, that’s one less thing to think about. That is – until I lose this one.

For some reason or other, I was still awake and working at 01:30 last night. That’s usually a recipe for disaster but then again there’s no point in going to bed when I’m not tired and when I can carry on working.

Despite that, I managed to wake up when the alarm went off and I was out of bed comparatively early.

A comparatively early breakfast and then I settled down to work. And by the time that I had finished, I’d finished the blog back as far as 1st January 2019. And it’s not as easy as it might be either because until I fathomed out the depths of this new blog upgrade, the blog was itself inserting all kinds of redundant and surplus *.html code that bears little or no resemblance to the coding that I use.

It all has to be stripped out and while I have a computer program that does that, it strips out everything, including the coding that I want leaving in. And so I have to start again.

As far as the text database goes, I’m now back almost to the beginning of December. That was, by the way, a heavy month for photos so it’s going to take longer than it otherwise might.

british range rover discovery unloading furniture rue st jean granville manche normandy franceI went out and about for my walk this afternoon as usual.

And was treated to the delightful sight of a group of British people blocking off the rue St Jean while they unloaded a trailer of furniture – because they were too lazy to carry the furniture 50 metres from the car park around the corner.

It’s this kind of thing that I hate, because it gives all of us a very bad name when they treat the locals with contempt like this.

beach donville les bains brehal plage granville manche normandy franceHowever, leaving aside a really good rant for the moment, the weather this afternoon was beautiful.

It was sunny and warm (for the time of year) and the sky was quite clear. There was a beautiful view of the coastline all the way along from Donville les Bains down to Bréhal-Plage.

On the right of the image is of course that old hotel where I saw that miserable apartment that was to let.

beach plat gousset granville manche normandy franceAnd hardly surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one out there enjoying the beautiful weather;

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s school holiday so there were crowds out there strolling along the Plat Gousset and walking along the beach.

No-one actually in the water, though. And I can’t blame them. It wasn’t that warm out there.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd not only that, there was some activity in the port too. Our old friend Thora was in the harbour this afternoon tied up at her berth by the dockyard crane.

I could see that she was loaded up with a dozen or so of these enormous gravel bags, but whether or not there was gravel in them I couldn’t really say.

But whatever there is in there, it’ll all be off to Jersey in early course.

place d'armes granville manche normandy francehaving been up on the top of the walls at the back of the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou to take a photo of Thora, there was a really good view of my apartment building.

It’s the building on the right there, part of an old military barracks with the parade ground in the middle.

Part of the old parade ground is closed off and is our private parking. You can see Caliburn in his little parking space just there.

The building in the background is now the College Malraux – the local secondary school. Their playground is the old military sports ground at the back of the College.

Back here, I had the usual strum on the guitar followed by a coffee. No Christmas Cake because I finished that off on Sunday. And then I started work again;

But not for long though. I was soon tucked up in bed under the covers fast asleep. And there I stayed for about 90 minutes. I wasn’t asleep for all of that time but it’s difficult for me to tear myself out of bed.

There was some of that potato and lentil curry left over from the other day. So I added half a leek and some sweetcorn to it to lengthen it.

And followed by tinned fruit salad and that soya cream stuff (almond this week, not coconut) it was thoroughly delicious.

night trawler pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceLater on after tea I went out for my evening walk. Around the headland tonight, looking at the trawlers coming in with their catch.

And I tried a little experiment. The photos that I’m taking of various things at night are sometimes coming out poorly because I’m struggling to set the exposure correctly to stop pinpoints of light being too bright and distorting the image.

So tonight what I did was to set the exposure to where I would ordinarily have set it, and then reduced the ISO by one stop and increased the exposure by a couple of stops.

And it’s coming out much clearer – but there’s still room to go.

trawlers baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThere was a large collection of lights just outside the entrance to the harbour. It looked as if it might have been a gravel boat such as Neptune standing off and hove to, waiting for the tidal gates to open.

But with the photo being much better and clearer than usual now, I could see that it was actually a couple of trawlers having stopped to have a little chat before they came in and tied up to unload.

trawlers port de granville harbour manche normandy franceBut the harbour was really quite busy tonight.

There must have been eight or nine fishing boats in the outer harbour either tied up unloading or waiting for an empty berth. And half a dozen more here or hereabouts on their way in.

As I have said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … I would have loved to have been here in the heyday of the port when it would have been packed with Newfie trawlers.

So now I’m going to try to have an early night. I probably won’t sleep, what with having crashed out this afternoon, but I ought to make an effort.

I can’t keep on going like this.
people on beach granville manche normandy france
people on beach granville manche normandy france

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

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france
thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france

rue st jean granville manche normandy france
rue st jean granville manche normandy france

night trawler ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
night trawler ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

trawlers port de granville harbour manche normandy france
trawlers port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Wednesday 6th February 2019 – I’M WET

beach in the rain granville manche normandy franceAnd that comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me.

When I went out for my afternoon walk, it was teeming down with rain. You can see in this photo just how wet it was today.

Really dreadful and in the end I gave it up as a bad job and curtailed my little perambulation

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy franceIt didn’t stop me going around to the wall overlooking the harbour to see what was going on.

And down there this afternoon is Normandy Trader who has come in from Jersey for her usual freight run.

There wasn’t anyone around down there and there was no loading going on, but she looks pretty well loaded up to me.

unloading gravel port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd as we know, Neptune was in here yesterday and departed with a big load of gravel.

But it looks as if she’ll be back pretty soon because they are still bringing in the loads of gravel. And piling them up by the conveyor too rather than putting them in the gravel bins.

So it’s all systems go down there today despite the weather.

night fishing boat unloading port de granville harbour granville manche normandy franceThat’s not all either. Because this evening while I was out on my perambulations I stepped in a puddle – not quite up to my middle like Doctor Foster, but pretty well near enough.

But at least it didn’t stop me from my wanderings. Down at the harbour a trawler had just come in and all of the crew together with a few landlubbers were busy tidying it up.

Maybe it’s already been unloaded round by the fish processing plant.

Last night I had another decent night’s sleep. So much so that I had a really good nocturnal ramble. I was out in a coach last night, and not for work either but for my own purposes. And of course I had a flat tyre. I had to change it myself, which is no mean feat, and then I needed a replacement tyre. Someone told me of a place out on the Middlewich Road (I was in Sandbach at the time) but a tyre would cost me the best part of £1,000. That wasn’t the news that I was expecting to hear, but it was part of the price of using the coach like this.
And later I was with a group of people waiting to go home after a holiday. We were in a big draughty shed with a couple of benches around the edge. As the coach pulled in, people started to climb aboard but I, and someone else, decided that we would wait until the end. At this moment I started to wonder if I had everythig with me, and looking around, I saw something underneath one of the benches where I was sitting. So I crawled underneath the bench, getting myself all filthy in the process, to find that what I had seen was actually an old beer bottle. So covered in dust and dirt, I went back to the coach to wait to board.

Despite the alarm call I was in no hurry to leave my bed. More like 07:00 in fact. And after breakfast I made a start on adding the photos to some of the previous blog entries.

I’ve done as far back as Saturday, and I’ll be slowly uploading them back again as time goes on.

Another task was to keep on with my searchable text index. I’ve almost finished January and then I’ll just roll on backwards until it’s finished, whenever that might be.

After lunch I carried on, with a little interruption for my walk in the wet.

And I’ve also tried something else that’s new. I’ve been moaning and complaining about the time it takes me to buy a ticket for Leuven when I arrive in Brussels and how I nearly miss my train, so I researched online and found that I can make a booking and download the tickets (thanks to the printer). And it saves me €0:20 too.

Spend! Spend! Spend!

This afternoon though I couldn’t keep going. I’ve managed sort-of for the last couple of days but today I didn’t. I’d had a couple of dodgy moments and in the end I gave up and went to bed for an hour. I even managed to sleep for some of that time too.

There was some filling left over from last night’s tea so I diced and cooked a couple of potatoes to add to it and made a very quick ad-hoc curry. And it was delicious

I mentioned my little walk later on and then back here I have things to do. Another name from a very dim and distant past has come to the surface following my little exercise of the other day.

This is all getting very interesting.

night waves beach pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
night waves beach pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

night st helier jersey granville manche normandy france
night st helier jersey granville manche normandy france

night fishing boat unloading port de granville harbour manche normandy france
night fishing boat unloading port de granville harbour manche normandy france

night fishing boat unloading port de granville harbour granville manche normandy france
night fishing boat unloading port de granville harbour granville manche normandy france

Tuesday 5th February 2019 – THE FIRST THING …

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france … that I did this morning, after it was light of course, was to go to the sea wall out here and look down into the harbour.

And sure enough, there was Neptune. Tied up to the quayside and judging by the noise coming from down there, they were busy loading it up.

It didn’t take them long either because she sailed out of the harbour on the afternoon tide. She’s now well on her way to Whitstable with 2000 tonnes of gravel.

Just for a change I had a decent night’s sleep. In bed before 23:30 and asleep practically right the way through. And I wasn’t in all that much of a rush to leave my bed.

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAfter breakfast I had a shower and a clean-up, and then went down to have a look at the harbour.

As well as Neptune down there, the fishing boats were coming in on the tide.

There was quite a lot of activity at the fish dock as the unloading was taking place. It’s quite a busy place, what with one thing and another, and that’s why I’m here.

vegan leek and tofu pie granville manche normandy franceBack here, I remembered something that I had forgotten from the weekend.

I’d cooked a vegan leek-and-tofu pie on Sunday, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall. But I’d left it in the oven.

So out it came, and it looked even better than it did the other day. I’ve cut it into quarters and now it’s in the freezer ready for another day or four.

This morning’s task was to bring up-to-date the photos. And by the time that lunchtime came round, they were all done and finished. Thousands of them, and that’s going to take some organising.

After lunch, I made a start on the organising. If I don’t start, I won’t ever finish and that’s for sure.

What I’m doing for now is preparing an indexed text file, sticking the photos in month by month with the *alt* tags displayed for indexing purposes.

It’s even more important because I’ve had yet another request for a photo. That’s three or four already this year and while I won’t ever become rich, the photos won’t go anywhere if I don’t put them on line.

people picking sea shells beach tide out donville les bains granville manche normandy franceOutisde this afternoon, the tide was quite a way out.

There were several people out there today, including a couple of people hunting for shellfish in the rock pools, which made me think that the tide was going out.

Had the tide been out for a while, the seabirds would have had the shellfish. The roads and pavements are littered with fragments of shells where the seabirds have dropped them from a great height to break them open.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel st pair sur mer granville manche normandy franceGoing around the headland, the fishing boats were there, presumably waiting for the tide to come in.

One of them, the big blue and white one, was clearly fed up of waiting. it did a U-turn and started to roll out the net again. It might as well earn some money while it’s waiting. I stood and watched it for quite some time.

But you see the marker light just there. At high tide, the water is up almost to the top of the column.

Back here, I had a coffee and cake and a play on the guitar, and then attacked the photo collection again. I had a little 5 minutes … errr … relax as well.

For tea tonight, I made a stuffed pepper and spicy rice and it was delicious. It set me up nicely for my little lonely walk around the walls.

But here’s a thing.

I’ve been doing a little bit of research on something or other, and I’ve actually found someone who used to live next door (or thereabouts) to me when I was a toddler.

You’ve no idea just how small the world is these days.

Tonight, I’ll have another early night. There’s plenty of things that I need to do tomorrow.

But I’ve set a few things in motion that might bring me some surprising results. But once you take the lid of Pandora’s Box you can’t put it back on.

beach tide out donville les bains granville manche normandy francebeach tide out donville les bains granville manche normandy france

beach tide out donville les bains granville manche normandy francebeach tide out donville les bains granville manche normandy france

silhouette people granville manche normandy francesilhouette people granville manche normandy france

fishing boats baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy francefishing boats baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

old military buildings pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceold military buildings pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

atlantic wall world war 2 bunker granville manche normandy franceatlantic wall world war 2 bunker granville manche normandy france

fishing boats baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy francefishing boats baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

Sunday 3rd February 2019 – WHAT A GORGEOUS …

port de granville harbour manche normandy france… afternoon it was today.

Beautiful and sunny, not too windy, not too cold. And hordes of people wandering around outside. Round about 15:00 I joined them and went for a good walk. I didn’t make it back until 17:30.

All around the headland, down into town, around the harbour, back into town and then back here. And had the ice-cream stall that sells vegan sorbets been open, I would have treated myself to the first ice-cream of the year.

Now, with having an early night last night, and nice fresh bedding too, that I would have had a deep, relaxing sleep. But unfortunately not. Round about 02:40 I had another massive attack of cramp and I was in total agony. I just couldn’t ease it off and ended by standing up and trying to stretch my leg.

All in all, it took about half an hour until the pain would ease up enough that I could go back to bed. But any chance of going back to sleep was long-gone. I was awake for hours until I finally slipped away.

But I must have gone to sleep at some time, because I was off on my travels.

I was in a some kind of weird pub last night – some pub not too dissimilar to the one next to the old Town Hall in Crewe. All dirty, run-down and very basic. And I was waiting for someone there. I’d actually booked a room in a hotel a couple of miles outside the town. But a couple came in to the pub and said that they had a room booked there, so the landlord showed them up. As this couple looked quite respectable, I wondered what the rooms were like so I asked the landlord to show me a room. He took me upstairs, and the room was dreadful. A really bad 1960s-type of room with about 10 beds crammed in any old how, with heavy plush bed coverings and really looking in the worst possible taste. I didn’t even hang around to see if it was clean and damp-free. I just made an excuse about it obviously being out of my price range and walked out.
Later on, I was on board the Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour again. We were going to have a meeting about our journey and to sum everything up, but it was postponed. A very short while later, I was reading a newspaper on board ship, and it gave an “account” of this meeting, clearly written in advance of the meeting in anticipation of it taking place. To my surprise, the person who had written it was an old comrade of mine at the Open University and he had written quite a lot about my role in the voyage, blowing it up to well beyond what it really was, and putting a link in to my blog where readers could read so much more about it. However, the editor had edited out the url of the blog which disappointed me greatly.

08.40 when I finally awoke, but that’s not the same as saying that I was up and about. Much more like 09:30, or even 10:00 when I put my sooty foot on the floor.

Breakfast was even later. Much later too.More like an early lunch. I wasn’t in any hurry. I had a nice relaxing morning doing the usual Sunday task of badger all.

Feeling a little peckish later, I made some cheese on toast. And that reminded me about my pie. I must do something about that later.

floats granville manche normandy franceWhen I went out for my walk, I had a good look around, and saw a couple of things that I hadn’t noticed before.

There were four or five of these floats bobbing up and down just offshore, and each float was different. I’ve no idea what they are doing out there, and I’m convinced that I have never seen them before.

f-brag Bolkow Bo-208C Junior granville manche normandy franceWhile I was photographing the floats, I was distracted by an aeroplane flying overhead.

This aeroplane is a Bolkow Bo-208C Junior apparently, a type that I haven’t noticed before. And it’s quite interesting because the Bolkow company was the successor to the legendary Messerschmitt aircraft company of Luftwaffe fame.

It’s amazing what is out there once you start to look for it.

st helier jersey granville manche normandy franceTalking of things being out there if only you look for them, the air was so clear that there was an excellent view of Jersey today.

So cropping out a selection of an image, blowing it up, which I can do despite modern anti-terrorist legislation, and enhancing the colours, you can see some of the houses and other buildings dotted along the coastline of the island.

It’s hard to believe that that’s almost 60 kms (35 miles) away. But then that’s all thanks to the big zoom lens that I bought in October.

cabanon vauban pointe de carolles mont st michel granville manche normandy franceIn the other direction, looking down the Baie de Mont St Michel, the view was just as good.

Going as far out as I could, I still couldn’t see the Mont itself and the buildings thereupon. But the big hotel complex just a few hundred yards away from the Mont is clearly visible.

To give you some idea of perspective, that’s about 30 kms (18 miles) away as the crow flies.

And so back from my walk, I started by making another rice pudding.

While that was cooking, I fried a couple of leeks and onions with a few mushrooms and a tin of flageolet beans. When it was all thoroughly cooked, I added the tofu mix from yesterday, thoroughly stirred it in and heated it all through.

While I was waiting for the mixture to cool down, I prepared a pizza and stuck that in the oven to cook;

While the pizza was cooking, I took out a roll of pastry from the oven. It had dried and cracked so I had to wet it slightly and roll it. Good job that I had bought my rolling pin a while ago.

After it had been rolled, I greased a pie dish and put the pastry in. Added the pie filling and then folded over the excess pastry.

The pizza came out of the oven and the pie went in. I also added the rice pudding so that it would cook further.

The pizza was delicious, although it could have benefited from a longer period in the oven, and so was the rice pudding. The pie looks really good and I can’t wait to try it.

beach at night plat gousset granville manche normandy franceThere was just me outside tonight for my evening walk. It wasn’t really cold and wasn’t really windy. It sounds very good after the beautiful day but I bet that there’s more winter to come.

The tide was still on its way out by the looks of things but nevertheless there was a good photo of the wves rolling up and down the beach at the Plat Gousset just by the Casino

So now I’ll try yet again for an early night. And hopefully a good sleep, without an attack of cramp. I need it.

And I’ve just found out that we are going to have a visitor tomorrow. Neptune has just turned into the bay up by Cherbourg and there’s only one place where she will be going.

floats granville manche normandy france
floats granville manche normandy france

floats granville manche normandy france
floats granville manche normandy france

floats granville manche normandy france
floats granville manche normandy france

st helier jersey granville manche normandy france
st helier jersey granville manche normandy france

st helier jersey granville manche normandy france
st helier jersey granville manche normandy france

cabanon vauban pointe de carolles mont st michel granville manche normandy france
cabanon vauban pointe de carolles mont st michel granville manche normandy france

cabanon vauban pointe de carolles mont st michel granville manche normandy france
cabanon vauban pointe de carolles mont st michel granville manche normandy france

old military buildings pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
old military buildings pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

old military buildings granville manche normandy france
old military buildings granville manche normandy france

atlantic wall world war 2 bunker granville manche normandy france
atlantic wall world war 2 bunker granville manche normandy france

trawler undergoing repair chantier navale granville manche normandy france
trawler undergoing repair chantier navale granville manche normandy france

boat lift chantier navale granville manche normandy france
boat lift chantier navale granville manche normandy france

port de granville harbour manche normandy france
port de granville harbour manche normandy france

port de granville harbour manche normandy france
port de granville harbour manche normandy france

port de plaisance granville harbour manche normandy france
port de plaisance granville harbour manche normandy france

chemin de la roche gauthier granville manche normandy france
chemin de la roche gauthier granville manche normandy france

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

speedboat st pair sur mer granville manche normandy france
speedboat st pair sur mer granville manche normandy france

jullouville granville manche normandy france
ullouville granville manche normandy france

speedboat st pair sur mer granville manche normandy france
speedboat st pair sur mer granville manche normandy france

rue st gaud granville manche normandy france
rue st gaud granville manche normandy france

old crane port de granville harbour manche normandy france
old crane port de granville harbour manche normandy france

art deco building rue du port granville manche normandy france
art deco building rue du port granville manche normandy france

marite port de granville harbour granville manche normandy france
marite port de granville harbour granville manche normandy france

Wednesday 23rd January 2019 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… day I had today.

It finished by being all right on the night, but it not without a great deal of effort.

For a start, I had what they might call a nuit blanche. Despite a reasonably early night, I don’t remember going off to sleep at all.

I suppose that I must have at one point though, because I was off on my travels for a short while. And here’s a blast from the past. I was back playing in a rock group again and we had a booking lined up somewhere in West London. There was a girl from school whom I quite fancied (which I actually did all those years ago, funnily enough) and she was at University down there. She had suggested at one time that I should drop in and look her up. I’d suspected that this was just a little bit of flannel but nevertheless it was worth following up so as I was in the company of her brother (who coincidentally has sent me an e-mail just yesterday) I’d check up. His reply was that “she’s very popular with her fellow-students down there, you know”, which of course told me everything that I needed to know. Even I could read between those kind of lines.

I was definitely awake at 05:20 and when the alarm went at 06:00 I leapt out of bed (well, sort-of) immediately.

With most things already being packed, I just drank the rest of the contents of the drinks bottles and rinsed them out, gave the room a quick once-over, and was then out of the door well before 06:30.

1849 sncb serie 18 electric locomotive heavy snow gare du midi bruxelles belgiqueThere was snow and ice all over the place and it was a difficult walk up town.

But I was on the station in time for the earlier train to Brussels. It was being pulled by one of the Siemens Serie 18 electric locomotives.

The SNCB owns 120 of these and, beleive it or not, despite their looks they are only about 8 years old. They get plenty of use.

heavy snow gare du midi bruxelles belgiqueMy train from Leuven brought me early into Brussels.

This gave me a good opportunity to go for a look around outside the station at the heavy snow was falling. It looked quite impressive this morning, illuminated with the flash on the camera.

And then off to the supermarket, which was now open, for my raisin buns for breakfast.

Thalys PBKA 4302 gare du midi bruxelles belgiqueThe TGV was on time this morning.

It’s our old friend 4302, one of the PBKA (Paris-Brussels-Kôln-Amsterdam) series 43000 units of which there are 19 – built in the mid-90s when the service was launched

I was looking forward to having a good sleep to catch up with what I had missed during the night but it wasn’t to be.

Instead, because of all of the snow (it really was heavy) the train had to slow down because otherwise it might overrun signals. And so we crept along at a slow but steady 180kph instead of a flat-out 300kph.

We were warned that we would be at least 40 minutes late arriving in Paris. That meant that I had to go off and hunt down the train manager to have her sign my ticket. I have a feeling that I’m going to be horribly late in Paris and if I miss my connection, the next train is 3 hours later.

I don’t fancy spending three hours sitting on a freezing cold, draughty platform and I certainly don’t want to have to pay for the privilege if there’s a way of avoiding it.

First off the train and along the platform – a long time since I moved so fast. And just as I arrived on the Metro platform a train pulled in. So I leapt aboard and it rattled off.

Arriving at Montparnasse, I was first off the train and off on the long walk to my platform right at the far end of the station miles away. I even took all of the travelators and even though they were rolling, I walked along them to speed things up.

And I was lucky I did. It’s about a 2km walk from the metro to my train, and I couldn’t afford to hang around.

84565 gec alstom regiolis granville manche normandy franceI turned up at my platform just as the guard was about to signal the departure. No sooner had I put my feet on board than he blew his whistle and the train pulled out.

I was so stressed out with all of this that it took me a while to regain my composure. Totally out of breath I was.

The snow eased off by the time we reached Surdon and we rattled along quite steadily. Somewhere round about Vire or so I fell asleep because I remember nothing whatever from then on until we arrived in Granville. Dead to the world.

marite thora port de granville harbour manche normandy franceIt was another struggle back up to my apartment.

What with all of the effort I stopped to catch my breath half-way up the rue des Juifs and I could admire the harbour.

As well as Marité down there at her mooring too we have Thora tied up at the quayside. I can’t see what her load is today, and there didn’t look as if there was anyone down there

gravel trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy franceIn the previous photo you might have noticed one of the gravel lorries driving onto the quayside.

They have obviously been very busy because there’s quite a pile of gravel accumulating on the quayside now, and that can only mean one thing.

Very soon we might be receiving a visit from Neptune who will come to take it all away back to the UK

It was cold and windy out there, although nothing like as cold as it had been in Belgium. But it was freezing in here and the first thing that I did was to switch on the heating.

There were a few things that I needed to do back here but round about 18:30 I’d had enough. I’d had a very bad night with almost no sleep, I’d been up early, dashed about all over the place and moved like I had never done for years. On top of that, I’d missed most of my siesta.

So that was that. I went to bed. When I awake, I’ll carry on.

Friday 18th January 2019 – PART TWO …

… of “hunt the passport” continued today.

And without success.

The alarms went off this morning at the usual time. And much to my surprise, I went off very quickly afterwards. And that’s not like me these days, is it?

And so we started off with an early breakfast and then after the usual morning performance with the usual things to do, I started to attack the bedroom.

First off, I stripped out the bed. I practically dismantled it as well but there was no trace of it around there.

Next stop was to empty out all of the suitcases and rucksacks to see whether I’d left it in there at all.

Drawing a blank, I emptied out the huge cupboard in here. I even checked the pockets of the coats that were hanging up there as well as emptying out the boxes.

The chest of drawers was next. All of the clothes came out and everything there was examined. Following that, the desk and the filing cabinets were searched.

The European Paper Mountain was checked thoroughly for any sign of it. That took me an age.

So by the end of the day I can safely say that wherever it might be, it’s not in the bedroom. And that surprises me. For here on the form that I had to fill in the other day is the number of the passport. And how did I do that if I didn’t have the passport here?

It’s not at the Bank either, and it’s not at LIDL because I telephoned them to see.

One avenue that I haven’t explored is that the last time that I remembered having it, it was on the train back from Köln to Aachen just before Christmas. But as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I have the best friends in the world. And Jackie is going to get on the case tomorrow.

I was also the victim of one of these cold telephone callers today. I was called 7 times by the same company and so in the end I told them that if they telephoned me once more I’d call the Police.

Another thing that I’ve had issues with today is the wi-fi. This evening it seemed to disconnect itself definitively. In the end, I had to hard-wire it. Let’s see what this can do.

neptune english channel granville manche normandy franceThis afternoon I had several surprises. Firstly, there offshore was Neptune, on its way out to sea.

She wasn’t in harbour yesterday evening when I was out for my walk but it appears that she sailed … “dieseled” – ed … into port at 22:15 from Ramsgate.

That must have been a quick turnround for her to leave so quickly, and she’s now off to Ridham, near Sittingbourne in Kent with her load of asphalt stone.

french navy ship ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceSecondly, there was another ship sailing out into the English Channel past the Ile de Chausey.

Judging by her colour and shape, she’s a warship of some description. More than likely, a French naval vessel because I couldn’t imagine a warship of any other navy being in the Baie de Mont St Michel without there being some kind of fanfare about it

From what I can see, she seems to be bearing the number P724 and that might indicate that she’s an Athos class patrol boat launched in 1979.

moon granville manche normandy franceRound the headland and down by the harbour there was a beautiful view of the moon there.

Not quite a full moon, but impressive nevertheless. And the photo was taken with the big 300mm zoom lens but held with the hand, not a tripod. So my hand was steadier than I might otherwise have thought.

But on that note, I returned to my apartment to carry on with whatever I was doing.

I couldn’t think of what to eat for tea so in the end it was a plate of pasta and veg in tomato sauce. But while I was waiting for it to cook I prepared another kilo of carrots for freezing.

Outside on my walk around the walls this evening I was completely on my own. Hardly surprising, because it was raining and windy too.

Part Three of “hunt the passport” is tomorrow. I’m not likely to find it either. But I do know when it will come to light – probably about three hours after I’ve sent off my demand for a replacement.

It’s one of those occasions, isn’t it?

neptune english channel granville manche normandy france
neptune english channel granville manche normandy france

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

neptune granville manche normandy france
neptune english channel granville manche normandy france