Tag Archives: normandy

Sunday 19th July 2020 – STAWBERRY MOOSE …

strawberry moose chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hall… has been a busy moose today.

He’s been laying siege to Chateau Gaillard this morning, as you can see. But I’m not quite sure whose side he’s on. Is he supporting King Philip of France in capturing the castle from King John of England? Or is he supporting the knights of the English Kings in recpturing the castle during the Hundred Years War?

Or maybe the Protestant King Henry IV against the Catholic League in the 8th War of Religion?

Personally, I think that it’s some kind of personal adventure capturing the castle for himself?

All will be revealed in due course.

This morning it was Sunday of course and so there was no alarm. But what took me by surprise was the fact that I was wide awake by 06:15. And to such an extent that I was up and about quickly too.

There was some work that needed doing, followed by a shower. And then breakfast. I’ve paid for it so I was going to have it.

chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallThere was more stuff to do and then I drove off to visit Chateau Gaillard.

First stop though was in Les Andelys. From down in the village (well, two villages actually, Petit Andely and Grand Andely, hence the “Les”) you can see the castle up there on its rocky perch

Or at least, what’s left of it because the castle today is nothing like it was back in its heyday at the start of the 13th Century.

river seine les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallAnd why was the castle built in this particular spot?

Apart from various strategic questions which I’ll mention later, this is one of the more important reasons. The River Seine, the river that links Paris to the Sea at le Havre, passes right by the foot of the castle.

Anything going from Paris to the sea, or from the sea to Paris by the river, which was the chief means of transport in those days for goods, has to pass by right under the shadow of the Castle.

strawberry moose river seine les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallIt would be enough to drive anyone in Seine if they were to fall off the bridge and into the river.

The bridge, in case you were wondering, which I’m sure you are, is a magnificent structure well worthy of a photograph, but try as I might, there was nowhere to go to obtain a decent view of it.

But not to worry. The whole purpose of the castle is to guard the river and any crossing thereof so I reckon that the view from up top will be exactly what we are looking for, once I work out how we get up there. I don’t fancy climbing.

schulls river seine les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallIn the meantime, seeing as we are at the river, we can look around and see what is going on.

With it being a Sunday morning, there are a great many people out there relaxing and enjoying themselves, and certainly having fun in a boat with a couple of oars is one way to do it.

But deliberately ramming your opponent’s boat is one of the things that is not permitted on the river. That kind of schullduggery is definitely outlawed in the rowing community.

bad parking les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallAnd when I say that there were loads of people out there enjoying themselves I meant it too.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, pathetic parking is one of the many recurring features, and here’s one for a Sunday morning. The swimming baths aren’t yet open so the person here who has come to drop off her beloved (it is a “her”) is just parking in the roadway, despite there being a large public carpark down the road to the right.

She was still there when I pulled out of my parking place and she didn’t even move when I came up behind her either. I had to negotiate my way around her, and Caliburn’s horn circuit nearly blew a fuse.

pont suspendu des Andelys 27700 eure france eric hall“At long last” I hear you say, here’s a photo of the bridge – the Pont Suspendu des Andelys.

It’s a a beautiful suspension bridge of course, but it’s not the first bridge to be built here. The first suspension bridge dated from 1835 and replaced a cable ferry which, interestingly, had an overhead cable rather than a submerged cable as you might expect here.

The bridge of 1835 was dynamited to stop the advance of Prussian troops during the war of 1870-71 and a new bridge was built in 1872. This was a stone arch bridge and proved to be unsatisfactory because its 4 arches impeded navigation along the river and so was removed in early 1914, although because of the War it wasn’t replaced until 1920 by a suspension bridge.

pont suspendu des andelys france eric hallThe bridge of 1920 was in turn dynamited by the French Army on 9th June 1940 to slow down the advance of the enemy. And that’s how we’ve ended up with the present one.

Built in 1947 by Bauduin’s of Chateauneuf, it’s 146 metres long and 5.7 metres wide, and made of reinforced concrete and steel. The daily amount of traffic that passes over it is about 3500 cars and 450 lorries, and the amount of traffic has caused it do be renovated and strengthened on several occasions – in 1988 and again in 2020, with more work planned in the near future.

This current work is due to an examination that took place following the collapse of a bridge in Mirepoix. The bridge here was described by the inspecting engineer as “presenting several fragilities in its structure”.

barge river seine chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallBut from up here on the cliffs, you can see why Richard I decided to build a castle on the top, and what its purpose would be.

if I can give you a little history lesson, more of which anon, Normandy was not the property of the French Kings. It was ruled over by the Dukes of Normandy (one of whom was of course William the Conqueror) by virtue of the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte in 911. While the Dukes of Normandy owed alliegance to the French crown, were never under its control.

When William invaded England in 1066, quite naturally, he took Normandy with him and it became the property of the English crown.

In view of this alliegance, in principle the Duke of Normandy had to swear an oath of loyalty to the French King but once the Dukes of Normandy had become Kinds in their own right, the idea was anathema. Whoever heard of one king swearing loyalty to another? It smacked of all kinds of subservience.

Consequently there was a great deal of dispute between the two Kings over the question of the Duchy of Normandy.

barge river seine chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallFrance was a much smaller country in these days and depended quite a great deal on imports. In view of the state of the roads in these days, most commercial traffic into Paris came by water, the main avenue of approach being the River Seine.

This however was in control of the Dukes of Normandy – the Kings of England – and whenever there was a dispute between the two, which happened quite often, the English could simply prevent traffic from passing up the river to Paris and thus starve out the population.

There had been a “Gentleman’s Agreement” that the rock here, with its magnificent view both up and down river, should never be fortified. However, while Richard I was imprisoned by the Holy Roman Emperor, King Philip of France had captured Richard’s stronghold of Gisors so once Richard was free, he had to build another one.

And the site that he chose was here at Les Andelys. From here, he could strangle all of the freight traffic travelling up and down river, and cut Paris off from its supplies.

river seine chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallWe are told that there was originally a bridge over the River Seine just down there.

The island, which was a private domain, had a bridge that went across to both banks of the River Seine but it was apparently made of wood and so it was quite easy for the forces besieging the castle to burn it down.

However I’ve not been able to find out too much about that bridge . There seems to be very few records about it.

chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallLes Andelys is actually 2 towns, as I mentioned earlier, hence the plural form of the name.

Over there … “what? behind the rabbit?” – ed … we have the area known as Grand Andely, which seems to have been known by the end of the 6th Century.

Petit Andely is the part of the town that is right at the foot of the rock and which was first mentioned at the start of the 13th Century which seems to suggest that it was founded in connection with the construction of the castle, but

hopital saint jacques les andelys 27700 eure france eric hall
What we can see here is the Hôpital St Jacques. This started life in the 13th Century as a halt for pilgrims heading to Santiago de la Compostela and was outside the town walls so that pilgrims arriving late would not inconvenience the town’s watchmen.

But what you actually see here is much more modern than that. In 1781 the Duke of Penthièvre, an illegitimate grandson of King Louis XIV by one of his mistresses, started a reconstruction of the hospital in order to make it a place worthy of his status. Designed by , and it took 4 years to complete.

Unfortunately the Duke didn’t live long enough to take full advantage of his new property as he died in 1793. And shortly afterwards, his heir was guillotined by the revolutionaries. The property is now an Old People’s Home.

chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallThe castle was not all that easy to reach.

Although it was directly overhead from the bridge, the direct approach is a on-way street in the other direction and so to actually reach there was a merry, mazy, winding way though the town and then a variety of different country lanes to reach it.

There’s a car park near the site but it’s not really big enough for all of the visitors so you need to arrive early – preferably before the hordes of motorcycles arrive. It’s on a steep slope too and wide vehicles will have “issues” about fitting into the narrow spaces provided.

chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallAnd then there was a walk from the car park that was, shall we say, … errr … taxing because it’s down a ravine and then up a steep bank on the other side, down a slope and then up another one.

It’s not exactly the easiest castle to reach, although the degree of difficulty is nothing like that which I have encountered IN THE PAST.

And in any case, none of this was enough to stop a besieging army, as we shall see

cart wheel ruts chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallAnd if I’m having difficulty walking here, imagine what it must have been like bringing supplies into the castle.

Luckily, because the castle is built on a chalk outcrop we can see exactly how they did it. The heavy carts that came this way bringing in the materials and supplies have left their own mark on the landscape in the shape of these trail ruts here.

They aren’t a patch on trail ruts that WE HAVE SEEN BEFORE of course but the castle was in use for a much shorter period of time .

rubble walls faced with dressed stone chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallThe closer you are to the castle, the more you realise that it’s not the impressive building that it looks from a distance.

Everyone knows that it was erected in a hurry – there’s no doubt about that – but the manner in which it was erected leaves a lot to be desired. Basically, it’s just a rubble wall faced with dressed stone, rather than being built of solid stone blocks.

That might have been how the Romans built many of their buildings, but the Romans knew about the chemical composition of concrete and employed it with great vigour with their rubble mix. Medieval builders had long-since forgotten the technique and we had to wait another 550 years and the arrival of John Smeaton before the technique was rediscovered.

barge river seine chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallBut anyway, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, King Philip was not able to dislodge Richard from his spec up here on the rocks.

King John however was a different matter. Said to be somewhat indolent, he made no real effort to put up much of a defence and his territory in Normandy was slowly but methodically overrun by Philip. Castle after castle, town after town fell to Philip until finally, in September 1203, the forces of the French King arrived at Chateau Gaillard.

In the river, the English had driven sharpened stakes into the river bed pointing upwards to prevent French boats passing up and down the river. Philip sent engineers to cut the stakes down, and while this was happening, the commander of the English garrison, Roger de Lacy, made no real attempt to stop them.

river seine barge river seine chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallThe next stage turned out to be the crucial point of the siege.

Philip’s French forces began to ravage and sack the town, which led to the population taking flight out of fear. Of course, there was only one place to which they could run, and that was to the Chateau. Suddenly, Roger de Lacy discovered that instead of a couple of hundred mouths to feed, he had many many more.

Various estimates have been produced, all of doubtful authority, suggesting that maybe as many as 2,000 people were now in the castle hoping to be fed.

barge river seine chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallUsually, when attempting to capture a fortified medieval castle, the accepted plan was simply to blockade it and wait until the defenders starved to death.

The defenders, on the other hand, would ensure that they would have adequate supplies of food and water and then hold out in the hope that a relieving army would come to their rescue and frighten away the besiegers before the supplies of food and water ran out.

There were two half-hearted attempts at relieving the castle but both were beaten off by well-prepared French troops, and King John seemed to abandon all hope of defending his Province. he simply left France, never to return.

chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallOnce it became quite clear to the defenders that there would be no relieving army coming to their aid, there was very little that they could do.

Their only hope of relief would be that some kind of plague would occur amongst the attackers (as happened on many occasions in history) or else the soldiers would lose patience and abandon the siege.

But this was unlikely to happen with King Philip. He was determined to recover the province of Normandy that the French Kings had lost in 911 and so the siege intensified.

moat of chateau where hundreds starved to death barge river seine chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallThe presence now of an enormous number of extra mouths was a grave embarrassment to the defenders and so he began to expel them.

After several hundred had been allowed to leave, the French then prevented the others from leaving and chased them back to the Castle. Finding the gates closed to them, they had to winter in the ditch here where they either died of exposure or of hunger.

Subsequent excavations of the ditch in modern times uncovered piles of human bones, some of which showed clear evidence of cannibalisation.

chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallIn February 1204 when Philip came to take personal charge of the operations, he allowed those still living to leave the area, and he continued the assault on the castle.

As I said earlier, the accepted way of defeating a garrison back in those days was to starve it out.

Much has been made in popular romance about battering rams against doors, long-distance siege engines like ballistas, trebuchets and mangonels hurling large rocks against the walls or even undermining the walls, but a great deal of that is not really a practical proposition.

chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallDeep ditches covered by drawbridges rules out large battering rams.

Furthermore, the difficulty of dragging siege engines up cliffs and the lack of suitable ground nearby to position the engines and give a clear field of fire, not to mention the absence of suitable missiles would rule them out in many cases

And in any case, siege engines are pretty static affairs and a few sallies-forth from determined defenders could deal with those quite summarily.

Nevertheless, some siege engines were employed here due to the suitability of the surrounding terrain, the defenders lacked the kind of determination necessary and in the end one of the engines proved to be crucial, as you will find out if you read on.

chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallUndermining is the third option that a besieger would consider.

However that’s rarely possible because castles are built on solid rock and a tunnel would take an age to dig. If you start very close to the walls, you are at the mercy of defenders above you raining down all sorts onto your heads.

And if you start your tunnel farther away, you have further to dig so it takes more time. And in both cases you are very susceptible to attack from a counter-attack from a sallying party or even to counter-mining by the defenders.

chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallBut here at Chateau Gaillard with have a series of problems – at least three that I have counted and probably many more too.

  1. The garrison here isn’t all that determined. They don’t seem to have made any really determined sortie to try to interrupt the defenders.
  2. With the castle being of an oblong shape rather than a square or circular shape, the perimeter walls of the castle are much longer for a given footprint and so would need many more troops to defend it correctly. It’s 200 metres long by 80 metres wide – 16,000 m² for a perimeter of 560 metres. Had it been square, then for 16,000m² it would have had 4 sides of 126.5 metres – a perimeter of 506 metres.
  3. The castle is built on quite soft chalk, which is relatively easy to undermine and which can be done quickly


chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallAnd the latter solution, dear reader, is precisely what the French did.

At first, they tried the simple technique of using ladders to climb up the walls but the ladders were too short. And so, facing almost no opposition whatsoever from any sallying party they set out to undermine the walls of the tower that was furthest away from the keep, showering the area with arrows to keep the defenders away.

And when that wall collapsed, the French were able to use their ladders to climb over the rubble, rush in and occupy the lower or outer bailey at the south end of the castle.

chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallBut being installed in the outer bailey is one thing. The English soldiers simply retreated into the inner bailey and pulled up the drawbridge behind them.

So although the attackers were within the outer bailey their position was hardly any better as they could still not occupy the remainder of the castle and capture the garrison.

And if anything, the odds were then in favour of the defenders who had a smaller area to defend.

river seine barge river seine chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallBut it was these windows here that were said to be the downfall of the castle.

When John sans terre became King, being devoutly religious he had a chapel built here in the inner bailey and pierced the walls of the castle to make a couple of windows in order to illuminate the interior.

Despite what you might read in Heroic Poetry about soldiers climbing up latrine chutes, the truth from neo-contemporary accounts seems to be that, quite simply, a handful of French soldiers managed to sneak in through the windows and let down the drawbridge so that the rest of the army could enter the inner part of the castle.

chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallThe only explanation for the windows would seem to be that John believed the wall to be built on a sheer drop down to the river.

But if so, he was completely mistaken because there’s a ledge of a couple of metres wide, and that’s more than enough for a few determined soldiers to sneak along out of sight of the defending soldiers inside the castle under cover of darkness and climb in.

Having overpowered the sleeping defenders, they could let down the drawbridge for the rest of the army to surge in and occupy the inner bailey.

ditch chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallThe defenders who survived the onslaught fled into the keep and closed the door behind them.

This would ordinarily have led to another long, protracted siege but there was yet another major design fault in the construction of the castle, a mistake that is so simple that it makes you wonder what must have been going on in the minds of the architects at the time that they designed the castle.

You see the bridge above our heads just here that passes over the ditch and leads to the main door? You would be expecting that to be a drawbridge that the defenders could pull up behind them. But in actual fact it was a solid sone bridge that offered no protection whatever to the defence

chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallHere’s a good view of what we’ve been talking about just now.

Here, I’m standing in the outer bailey looking across where the drawbridge would have been into the inner bailey, with the bridge up to the keep over to the right.

And we can observe another design fault here too. Any good castle would have what they call a meutrieur – which in this case would be a long, narrow passage to the door flanked by the walls of the castle so that anyone attacking the door would have to run the gauntlet of the defenders either side raining arrows down on him from above

That’s not the case here though. The meutrieur isn’t anything like deep enough.

chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallAnd so with a solid bridge to encourage the attackers, and a meutrieur that wasn’t deep enough to offer much protection to the defence, the assault on the main gate could begin.

Although miners and sappers set to work on that walls and the gates, it was a well-aimed blow from an object thrown by a trebuchet or a mangonel (history does not record which) that finally brought down the gates and allowed the invaders to invade and seize the keep in March 1204.

This was the final blow to the English occupation of Normandy. With no possible means of defence, Rouen surrendered to the French a few months later

strawberry moose overlooks the  river seine barge river seine chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallAs Strawberry Moose surveys the River Seine from the viewpoint that the French Army has just captured, overlooking Les Andelys and the island in the middle of the River, the French were busy expelling the remaining 153 English troops from the castle.

The leader of the mercenaries attached to the French Army, Lambert Cadoc, was placed in charge of the castle and King Philip pushed on downriver towards Rouen with his army.

For 100 years or so, all is quiet at Chateau Gaillard but then the castle takes on a new role – as a royal prison.

doorway barge river seine chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallWhile we admire some more of the castle I’ll tell you the story of the Affair of the Tour de Neslé.

The King of France in 1314, Philip le Bel, had 4 children – 3 sons and a daughter. His daughter Isabelle was married to the son of the King of England and the three sons were married to various European princesses. During a royal visit to France, Isabelle gave some embroidered purses to the wives of her brothers.

Some time later, she noticed that two of her purses were being worn by a couple of knights of the French court and so she mentioned it to her father, the King of France.

He had the knights watched, and sure enough, they were in the habit of visiting two of the wives of the King’s sons. They were arrested and under torture admitted that there was an adulterous relationship between the two knights and the two princesses. The knights were executed and the princesses were imprisoned in the Chateau Gaillard.

barge river seine chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hall25 years later, the Hundred Years War breaks out between England and France.

The castle is besieged by the English in 1418 and holds out for 16 months, only falling because the last rope that hauls up the bucket with the water from the well breaks and they lose the bucket, and hence can no longer access the water.

Subsequently the castle changes hands on several occasions until the English are finally expelled from France

river seine chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallNothing much happened at the Chateau Gaillard for 150 years, but then we move into the period of the Wars of Religion.

For a period of about 40 years in the second half of the 16th Century there had been conflict between the Protestand and Catholic religion in France, a conflict that had quite often been particularly bloody.

In 1584 the Crown Pronce died and with no closer heritee, the crown would be destined to pass to Henry of Navarre – a Protestant. A Protestant King in France was unacceptable so another chapter – the eighth in this series of wars – erupted in 1585

Where the Chateau Gaillard fits in with all of this is that certain forces of the Catholic League find themselves bottled up in the chateau by forces loyal to the Protestant King Henry IV led by Nicolas de la Barre

cellar chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallAfter a siege that lasts almost 2 years, the castle finally falls to Nicolas de la Barre in 1591, and King Henry appoints him to be the new guardian of the castle.

However he didn’t apparently perform his task to everyone’s satisfaction because in 1595 we see the first of a long series of letters of complaint that the castle has now become a haunt of unruly robbers and bandits.

It’s not known for certain when Nicolas de la Barre died but in 1603 King Henry gave the order that the castle should be dismantled and the stones given to the Capucin monks of Les Andelys and sometime later to other local religious establishments.

people leaving chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallBut all of this comes to a halt in 1862 when the chateau becomes classed a an official Monument Historique and 25 years later archaeological research at the site began.

And this is where I come to a stop too because having spent the last couple of hours wandering around the site and seeing everything that I could, it was time for me to follow these people and take my leave of the castle

By the time that I returned to Caliburn it was lunchtime so I grabbed hold of my sandwich stuff and went off to find a comfy spec in the sunshine and make my butties.

river seine chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallThis is the best kind of place to be. There’s a really good view of the river from this spot and, as you can see, I wasn’t the only person here admiring it.

Somewhat earlier I mentioned that the car park was pretty busy with cars and their occupants. The arrival of a horde of motorcyclists added to the confusion and the crowds were swarming all over the place by now.

But the view was stunning. The chalk cliffs are really quite magnificent. They are said to be a climber’s paradise which is no surprise as they are claimed to be the highest cliffs of the whole river valley and that’s a statement that I could readily believe.

pleasure boat on river seine chateau gaillard les andelys 27700 eure france eric hallWe’ve seen a few boats just here on the river passing by underneath us. There’s a whole squadron of pleasure boats that take cruise passengers up and down the river that pass by this point.

It’s certainly a good way to travel and to see the sights along the river bank and although I don’t imagine that it’s cheap, it would have been really pleasant in this sweltering heat.

Unfortunately, I can’t afford to hang around as I have a long way to go this afternoon. And so after lunch I had a drive that was mainly uneventful, except for an altercation with a crazy lorry driver, all the way down to Vierzon.

Here I’m esconsed in probably the cheapest hotel in the whole of France, the Hotel L’Excess.

And cheap as it might be, I’ve stayed in hotels that have been much worse than this for much more money too.

Having had breakfast and lunch today, I wasn’t all that hungry so I missed tea. However late on, I nipped out for a bag of chips. And in the meantime I had a chat with Rosemary on the telephone and told her about my trip so far.

So now I’m having an early night. I still have a long way to go tomorrow. There’s all kinds of things that need doing before we all go into another lockdown, which I fear is imminent.

See you all in the morning

Thursday 11th April 2019 – IT’S BEEN ANOTHER …

… day when I haven’t been all that productive.

It didn’t help by not being out of bed until 07:30. I really need to get a grip these days before I miss a train or something.

Plenty of time during the night to go on a little voyage though. I was with Alvin last night and we were going through a pile of LPs that he had left. He wanted some of them copied, which meant playing and recording on blank records. I had a look through some of the stuff but there wasn’t anything there of any interest or importance as far as I was concerned, but he insisted on having it done. He told me that when it had been done the original records had to be taken to a certain place where I would get some money for it but the duplicates would be retained here. I shouldn’t take those as they would hand them back and cut down on his money. I said fair enough but it was a strange way to go about it. I couldn’t get the thing organised properly and made loads of mistakes trying to copy these albums but I carried on. While this was doing he was doing some calculations so I went to see what he was doing – “working 11 hours at $8:10 per hour”. I asked what it was and he replied that he was trying to work out if he could afford to be a policeman in Los Angeles. I said “not at $8:10 per hour! No-one could work for that”. He told me about all of the advantages he would receive and there was a fund to help out people who moved from a high-paid job to a low-paid job to make sure that their mortgages were paid. It all sounded quite precarious to me. But somewhere along the line, up in Neston I had an old house, on the roadside with newer houses build behind it. I was trying to find out how old it was but I wasn’t being very serious with my enquiries but I don’t remember very much about this.

After breakfast I had a shower and prettied myself up, and then set the washing machine off on a cycle. One of the things that I did was to put new bedding on the bed and wash the previous bedding. The stuff that was on it was on the verge of walking into the washing machine all on its own.

boat from chantier navale leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd then I headed off into town for the shopping.

And I was surprised to see, amongst the boats that were waiting to leave the harbour when the gates open, this particular boat.

I’m almost certain that it’s the boat that was up on blocks in the chantier navale for a couple of weeks being resprayed and painted. She looks as if she’s off on her travels now.

repointing medieval wall granville manche normandy franceAnd despite having all of this massive array of scaffolding erected on the wall higher up, they are still working away at the base of the walls moving away all of the loose rock.

The machine that they are using is quite impressive. It’s a little mini-digger with a hydraulic breaker on the jib of it.

It’s breaking off all of the loose rock which is then being shovelled up into a skip which you can see in the foreground.

la granvillaise normandy trader thora granville manche normandy franceIt’s quite busy down in the harbour this morning too.

We have La Granvillaise moored up at the quay where Marité usually hangs out, and Thora is still there too, but she’s moved berth over to where the gravel boats tie up.

That’s because Normandy Trader has come into port, presumably on the early morning tide. They are already loading her up too, so clearly they don’t intend to hang about.

old man sharpening knives rue couraye granville manche normandy franceOn the way up the hill in the rue Couraye I noticed a really old man with a very interesting machine.

In there is a grinding wheel worked by a foot treadle rather like an old-fashioned sewing machine in the pre-electric days, and he seems to be sharpening knives with it.

It’s really nice to see a good old-fashioned artisan peddling … “groan” – ed … his craft on the streets even today. There ought to be more of it, I reckon.

gates open fishing boat leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy franceLIDL didn’t come up with much so I headed off for home, picking up a baguette on the way.

The gates of the harbour were now open and boats were leaving the port, including this fishing boat. Quite a few had already left, including Thora and Normandy Trader.

While Thora was in and out in 24 hours, the latter had an even quicker turn-round. I was right about her not intending to hang about in the harbour. They must be really busy just now.

It makes me wonder when I was saying last year that I hadn’t seen them for quite a while. I just reckon that their turn-round must have been so quick that I must have missed it.

pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy franceMeanwhile, elsewhere in the harbour, the men were out there again on their pontoon.

It’s quite a mystery to me what they are doing out there. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that about 18 months ago they drained the harbour completely and dredged it out. So there can’t be much in there that needs checking.

I shall have to make enquiries at the port office next time I’m down there. Maybe they will tell me.

Back here I had a drink and a sit down, and then hung out the washing to dry. Once that was done I made a start on the dictaphone notes, but had to knock off for lunch.

joly france ferry ile de chausey baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceEven though it was rather windy out there, it was such a beautiful warm afternoon. And so i took my butties outside and sat on my wall overlooking the harbour.

And I was in luck this afternoon too. One of the ferry boats that does the run to the Ile de Chausey was coming into harbour. She’d obviously been on a little outing earlier this morning as there was quite a crowd of people.

She pulled up at her mooring at the ferry terminal and then unloaded all of her passengers.

joly france ferry ile de chausey port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd then much to my surprise, she collected up another load of passengers, and then headed off out again into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And with her having her back turned towards me, I could see that she’s the Joly France. Her sister is tied up in the harbour.

Of course, it shouldn’t really be any surprise that she’s busy. It’s school holidays in Granville of course and all of the kids are at a loose end and will be for next week too.

And so we can can expect to see much more of the Ile de Chausey ferries out and about then while the kids are off school.

lys noir baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceThe Ile de Chausey ferries aren’t the only things out there right now.

There’s an old sailing ship or, rather, a large yacht out there too. From what I could see of her, I think that she’s the Lys Noir.

We haven’t seen all that much of her just recently, so it’s nice to see her back. In fact, I’m wondering whether she might have been the sailing boat out there the other day that I thought was the Charles-Marie

Butties having been eaten, I came back and had another marathon session on the dictaphone notes.

Now I’m back into my notes for my trip around Labrador in 2017 which is good news. That’s good news because when that’s finished I can tie up the photos to the text and make a start on those web pages too.

st pair sur mer baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceLater on, I went out for my afternoon walk as usual. Today, it was around the Pointe-du Roc.

It was such a beautiful day and the haze was farther out than it has been just recently, so i could tke a really good photograph of the Baie de Mont St Michel and St Pair sur Mer just across on the other side.

And I was really impressed today with the colour of the sea today. Fr the last few weeks it’s been a murky grey colour, but today we have a nice proper blue sea.

flags european union france normandy granville manche normandy franceAnd with it being rather windy out there today, I could see the flag that they were putting up yesterday.

It’s actually the flag of Granville and that’s new to me because I didn’t realise that Granville actually had its own flag.

The red one with the two golden lions on it is the flag of the Duchy of Normandy, and I’m sure that you don’t need me to explain the other two.

On that note, I came back for a hot chocolate and, shame as it is to say it, a little … errr … relax on the office chair.

There was still enough time to do something else before tea, so seeing as I wasn’t in a particularly enthusiastic mood, I made a start on the searchable text database for the photos for June 2018.

For tea, I founf a lentil and mushroom curry in the freezer. It was one that I had made on 7th November … errr … 2017 and it tasted just as delicious as it did back then.

It seems that I’m getting right down to the bottom of the pile of curries now. I’m not sure how many ancient ones there might be still in there, but there can’t be many.

In a short while I’ll have to make a start on making some more.

fishing boats waiting to enter port de granville harbour manche normandy francelater on I went for my evening walk around the city walls.

There were still a few people out there enjoying the evening sunshine, and also a dozen or so fishing boats loitering around just outside the harbour.

It must be that the tide isn’t in enough for them to reach the Fish Processing Plant and tie up to unload. But I don’t imagine that they will have long to wait.

And so I carried on and came home.

Tonight I’m hoping for another early night and a good sleep. Tomorrow I’m planning on having something of a tidy-up in the kitchen and living room.

Things are getting a little untidy in there so I need to apply myself. After all, I’m off on my travels again early on Sunday.

scaffolding medieval wall granville manche normandy france
scaffolding medieval wall granville manche normandy france

boats ready to leave port de granville harbour manche normandy france
“boats ready to leave port de granville harbour manche normandy france

joly france ferry ile de chausey port de granville harbour manche normandy france
joly france ferry ile de chausey port de granville harbour manche normandy france

lys noir baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
lys noir baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

Tuesday 21st August 2018 – I’VE BEEN OFF …

… on my travels yet again today.

And it started at about 04:00 when I had to leave my stinking pit for a ride on the porcelain horse, and fell AoT over something in the way, rattling the entire building. All in all it was another bad night.

mont st michel manche normandy franceAfter breakfast, I had a shower and then we headed off through the town and through all of the grockles admiring the seagulls.

The destination for today was, as you might expect, the Mont St Michel. Despite its reputation, it’s one of those places that everyone has to visit whenever they come to Brittany or Normandy just to say that they were there.

And it was another day when the visibility wasn’t up to much, unfortunately.

restaurant prices la mere poulard mont st michel manche normandy franceI mentioned the prices of the food in the restaurants on the island. And seeing as many people expressed their surprise I decided to take a photograph of a typical menu.

Vegetable soup is on offer at €16:00, and a basic omelette starts at €34:00. If you want a three-course meal you can have one here at €58:00.

A sandwich from the sandwich bar across the street will cost you at least €8:50. And so it’s no surprise that most of the tourists who visit the island bring their own picnic lunch

walking parties genets mont st michel manche normandy franceWe’d come here in Caliburn of course, prepared to pay the extortionate car-parking prices, but had I been in better health I would have come another way.

Today is another day when the tidal coefficient is so small that it’s possible to walk over the sands from Genets. And there were quite a few parties coming over the sands.

That is something that you can’t do on your own without a guide. Apart from the treacherous watercourses, there’s quite a lot of soft sand out there which yu can sink into if you aren’t careful.

helicopter carrying building materials mont st michel manche normandy franceWe went for a good walk around the walls again, our conversation being continually interrupted by a helicopter flying overhead.

There were building works going on somewhere on the island and they were conveying the material to the site by helicopter, in a basket slung underneath the machine.

We were having all kinds of flights of imagination, picturing the helicopter coming to a dead halt and the momentum of the basket underneath swinging into the walls of the Abbey and demolishing them.

technamm tracked fire engine granville manche normandy franceWhen I was here the other week with Alison I had seen an exciting tracked machine away in the distance. It had excited my curiosity and so today we went down to look at it.

It’s a fire engine apparently, and it’s tracked so that it can climb up and down the steps in the city.

It has a trailer too. That is also tracked, and is also driven, with a prop shaft off the power take-off on the rear of the tractor. All in all, an impressive piece of kit.

mont st michel manche normandy franceMost of the tourists when they arrive enter by the main gate, go in over the drawbridge and past all of the tourist traps.

But there is another way in which misses the queues and congestion and goes up to the pathway that leads up to the walls on the western side of the site.

The way in is underneath that beautiful gated building down there and then up the hill towards where I’m standing. But I do have to say that I wouldn’t object at all to a little apartment in the building down there, despite all of the tourists.

brittany gate mont st michel manche normandy franceAlthough the access to the site today is from the southern, or Normandy side, there’s also a gateway on the western side facing what was Brittany in medieval times prior to the rerouting of the river that passes around here.

I was told an exciting story about how, in 1424 during the Hundred Years War, the English besieged the island from the Normandy side but they were unable to starve the garrison out.

This was because the people on the Breton side would send food and weapons over to the Brittany gate and by the time that the tide had gone out sufficiently to enable the English to attack the gate here, the island had been supplied and the Bretons safely back on their shore.

We left the island early in the afternoon and set off on our way home.

cancale pointe de grouin ile des landes brittany franceWe went again to the Cabane Vauban to see the view now that the weather had cleared slightly, and I took a couple of photos.

One of the ones that I took was right across the Baie de Mont St Michel over to the town of Cancale, the Pointe de Grouin and the Ile des Landes right across the bay and into Brittany.

It’s hard to believe that it’s all about 12 miles away.

cancale pierre de herpin st malo brittany franceThis is the second half of the above photograph, that I had cropped in two.

This one shows another one of the islands off Cancale, which I thought at first might have been a ship, and the lighthouse on the Pierre de Herpin over on the extreme right of the photograph.

Right away in the background is the Brittany coast all the way down almost to St Malo and that’s probably about 25 miles away.

three masted sailing ship manche normandy franceYou might have noticed in the previous photograph that there was something on the horizon between the coast and the lighthouse.

I’d been having a good play with the telephoto lens and doing some photo manipulation, what with having plans for going on a holiday in the near future. And so I cropped, enlarged and enhanced that part of the image.

And I’ve managed to bring out what, in my opinion, is a three-masted sailing ship, something like the Marité. That’s actually quite impressive, seeing as it’s at least 20 miles away in my opinion.

mont st michel manche normandy franceThe view southwards however is much more banal.

Mont St Michel is about 10 miles away as the crow flies, and in contrast to the other day when I was here with Alison and you could hardly see 100 yards, a little bit of “crop and paste” and image enhancement can bring out the abbey at Mont St Michel quite nicely.

To the right of the island are the white buildings of the hotel complex on the mainland. And I’m sure that this is what we have seen on a couple of occasions from Granville.

granville manche normandy franceTalking of Granville, we can actually see that today from here.

There’s the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou on the far right, and to the left of it are the public rooms and the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs. To the left of that is the other block of apartments that they are renovating right now.

My building is out of sight behind there.

autogyro baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceBut that’s not all.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day I mentioned an autogyro, but I wasn’t able to take a photograph of it. Today however, while we were here, the aforementioned went a-flying by overhead.

Luckily I had the camera ready and I was able to shoot off a photograph of it. It’s a modern machine, not one of the early ones from the 1920s and 30s.

baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceSo while you admire another photo of Mont St Michel – the one that the copped image above was taken, I can tell you that there are plenty of photos that I took at Mont St Michel that haven’t made it onto this page.

That’s because it’s my intention, one of these days in early course, to put them all up on a web page of their own.

And then you can admire them at your own convenience.

On the way back here we went to LeClerc. I needed some new bootlaces and Hans wanted to look at the recycled bags that they use here instead of plastic bags, and he took a few to analyse with him later.

Tea tonight was some taco wraps with a stuffing made of this couscous powder that I bought, some tomatoes, olives, onions, garlic and kidney beans, all in tomato sauce. With some spice rice it was delicious.

Having seen Inspector Hornleigh on Holiday last night, we watched a few Bulldog Drummond films on the DVD tonight. That took us nicely up to about 23:30 and then we turned in.

Hans is leaving to head off back to Germany tomorrow. I have a pile of tidying up to do and then I can start packing for my voyage, wherever it might be.

Sunday 15th July 2018 – 10:35 …

… is a much more civilised time to be waking up on a Sunday morning, isn’t it?

But what’s not so civilised is the fact that I was still up and about at 04:00 this morning.

For some reason I just wasn’t tired and at some silly time in the morning I was dealing with the hidden files that I told you about yesterday on the portable drive – passing them over to the master disk and then having to work out a way of deleting them from the drive because, for some reason, they had been installed in the system drive part.

In the end, a good old proprietary file shredder came to the rescue. The one that I have can reach into the parts of the computer that other file shredders can’t reach.

As a result of my late arousal, I had a very late breakfast. And I almost forgot my fig rolls too. But I had both of them, which meant that I didn’t have any lunch.

brocante haute ville granville manche normandy franceThe crowds out here wandering around told me that there was something afoot in the Medieval town. And so I grabbed a quick shower, but my nails, and went out hot-foot (or chaud-pied as they might say around here) to see.

Sure enough, we were having another brocante around the streets. And this time I managed to find something. A Michelin “Green Guide” of Normandy – a 1970-71 version in really good condition for all of €0:50.

There were lots of other things that I would have liked too, but I drew the line at paying €500 for a nice seascape or €220 for a nice model of a sailing ship.

The owner of the sailing ship told me of a secluded harbour in a wide bay where it could be kept, and he made it sound so good that I reckoned that his barque was worse than his bight.

photograph exposition haute ville granville manche normandy franceAnother thing that was going on up here was a photograph exposition in the open air.

It seems that someone has been out in an aeroplane or maybe one of these paraglider things and taken loads of photographs of Normandy from the air, and there were about 20 of them on display outside this afternoon.

Some of them were quite good too and there were one or two that made my quite envious. I wish that my photographs would turn out like his.

eglise de notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy franceI had another bit of good luck too this afternoon.

The church, the Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou was open to the public today.

That doesn’t happen all that often, and the last time that I noticed the open doors I didn’t have the camera with me. But today, I was properly equipped.

eglise de notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy franceThe origins of the church go back to 1113 when it is said that fishermen dragged up a statue of Mary from the sea, presumably from an earlier shipwreck.

In honour of this event, a chapel dedicated to her was erected in this vicinity.

But all of this changed during the latter stages of the Hundred Years War

eglise de notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy franceAfter the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 the English occupied Normandy and the the Medieval City was created and the fortifications built.

In 1440 the construction of the current church began. The granite blocks that were used in its construction were brought over from quarries on the Ile de Chausey.

And from then on, after the recapture of the town, the church was continually enlarged, with the sacristy being added as recently as 1771.

eglise de notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy franceThere are plenty of very worn gravestones on the floor of the church. It seems that this was the place for the notables of the town to be buried back in those days.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to read the inscriptions on them now.

As an important historical edifice, the church was added to the list of Historical Monuments on 12th December 1930.

eglise notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy franceWhile you admire another photo of the interior of the church, I headed for home.

Back here, shame as it is to admit it, after I returned I crashed out for a short while. And then I had to start to do some work.

There’s a possibility that I might be having at least three visits sometime over the next few months so I need to organise my diary, organise my appointments and make a few arrangements with others so that we all know what we are doing it – and, more importantly, when.

And that takes more time than you might imagine too. I don’t know where the time goes to these days.

With having had no lunch, I was ready for tea and with it being Sunday it’s pizza night. But surprisingly (or maybe not) I had a struggle to eat it. I’m definitely not doing too well, am I?

On the walk this evening I met Gribouille again and he came for a pick-up. And it seems that he has acquired a new younger brother, a little tabby, and he came for a pick-up and cuddle too.

peugeot 403 granville manche normandy franceAnd they weren’t the only things to see outside.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen this car before. It’s a Peugeot 403, built between 1955 and 1966 and which replaced the legendary Peugeot 203.

1,200,000 or so of these cars were built and there are still several thousand driving around on the roads of France as daily drivers, never mind as voitures de collection.

So I’ll try for an early night tonight. The alarm goes on in the morning and I really must organise myself. There’s a lot to do.

Tuesday 23rd January 2018 – AND IN NEWS …

… that will surprise, if not shock, regular readers of this rubbish who have been following my vicissitudes with bated breath, according to the medical examination that I was given this morning by a doctor who works in partnership with the French Government, I am considered fit enough to drive a 44-tonne articulated lorry or a bus with 75 paying passengers on the public highway.

Last night was another miserable night, having gone on yet another lengthy travel, the details of which were immediately wiped from my memory as soon as I awoke. And I staggered off into the living room with no medication and no breakfast this morning, for obvious reasons.

Nevertheless I did manage a shower and a change of clothes though – I need to look my best for my appointment at 09:15.

inondations quetteville sur sienne floods manche normandy franceAt about 08:00 I hit the road for Countances.

And it’s a good job that I allowed myself plenty of time because I needed it. Quetteville sur Sienne isn’t “Quetteville on Sienne” at all – it’s “Quetteville-in-the-Sienne” right now.

You’re all aware of the weather that we’ve been having just recently. While most of Europe has been swaddled in snow these last few weeks, we’ve had nothing but torrential rain

inondations quetteville sur sienne floods manche normandy franceAs a result the Rivier Sienne has burst its banks and the outskirts of the town (the town itself is perched on an eminence) are flooded.

It’s completely cut off to the north and so all of the traffic heading to Coutances and Cherbourg is diverted down a country lane. And by the looks of things, a couple more days of this weather and this won’t be passable either.

It certainly messed up my arrival.

But I was there in good time and, as luck would have it, I found a parking place right outside the doctor’s at the back of the sous-Prefecture. And that’s not something that happens every day either, is it?

Being early, I was first in. And out again after 10 minutes.

And this medical is a total farce. I hadn’t said anything about it because I was convinced that I would fail it, with my well-documented medical history. And I was determined to answer every question honestly, truthfully and completely. Which I did.

The only problem with that though is that he only asked two or three questions – and nothing of any significance.

The scar on my chest from neck to navel and the chemo port in my left shoulder should have given the game away but, unbelievably, he stethoscoped me with my tee-shirt on.

A test of my vision and a few exercises in co-ordination, and that was my lot. I’m fit to drive a 44-tonne artic or a bus on the public highway. And if that’s an example of a medical undergone by every other lorry or bus driver in France, then God help the average motorist.

ruins coutances manche normandy franceBeing out early, I had plenty of time to kill. And so I went for a wander around the town.

Coutances is a Roman town, named for the Emperor Constantine, but was destroyed by the Vikings in 866, the French in the 12th Century (Normandy was an independent Duchy until 1204), the Huguenots in the 16th Century, the town planners in the 18th Century and the Royal Air Force and American Air Force on 6th June 1944 and a couple of days thereafter.

And so there are traces of ruins here and there about the place, and you can’t really identify them or say who it was who destroyed them.

coutances manche normandy franceBut the Allies’ bombardments killed well over 300 civilians and there’s a monument to them at the back of the cathedral.

And I do have to say that I was very disappointed in this monument. I could have done something better and more powerful than this, and I expected to see at least a list of names of those who died.

But apparently not. And I can’t understand why

cathedral coutances manche normandy franceAs for the cathedral itself, it remained surprisingly undamaged during the bombardment. Clearly, the Devil looks after his own.

But then again, it has suffered enough.

The first recorded church on the site (this isn’t of course to say that there weren’t earlier ones) dates from about 430, and the story goes that a heathen temple was cleared away to make the space.

This chirch was destroyed in the Viking raids, and when the town was reoccupied at the beginning of the 11th Century, construction of the cathedral began.

When the French took over from the Normans, they completely redesigned the cathedral and what wasn’t demolished was hidden by their modifications.

interior cathedral coutances manche normandy franceThe interior of the Cathedral is nothing much to write home about.

I was expecting something spectacular give the cathedral’s fame as one of the favourite churches of William the Conqueror and as a pilgrimage venue, but it’s nothing like that at all.

It’s actually quite spartan ad even the stained glass windows are nothing like as flambouyant as you might expect.

interior cathedral coutances manche normandy franceThe cathedral is the “Cathedral Notre Dame” – the Cathedral of Our Lady, and so ypu might be forgiven for expecting to see statues of Mary and Jesus all over the place.

But you’ll be very disappointed, because I couldn’t see any statue of any significance.

And as for the Chemin de la Croix, we’ve seen some exotic symbolisation on our travels, but here, there were just a few notices with numbers written thereupon – no paintings or statues at all.

town hall hotel de ville coutances manche normandy franceThe Twon Hall across the square though is certainly splendid and does the town a great deal of credit.

I’ve no idea when it was built, but a great deal of civic construction took place in the period of the “Second Empire”, so it’s quite possible that it dates from that period – the third quarter of the 19th Century.

The fountai in front of it was rather disappointing though. I was expecting much more than that.

coutances manche normandy franceI’m not sure how much the town hall was damaged by the bombings of June 1944, but you can tell that the surrounding area was pretty badly hit.

You’ll notice the building on the left – the row of shops with flats over the top (this is actually a hotel here). Go to any French town that was badly damaged during the war and you’ll see this style of building in every town centre.

Designed by architects such as Louis Arretche, they were designed to be thrown up in a matter of a couple of days to bring back the life into the town centres as quickly as possible, and they’ve withstood the pressure of time rather well.

At 10:00 I was outside the mobile phone repairer’s, and at least, they decided to have a look at it. And that’s progress. They would call me back.

I went for a coffee and then to do some shopping. Apart from the usual stuff that I need, I found a cheap shop and bought some stationery and also a new dash-cam – for just €11:95. I already have one but I don’t like it much – it’s big and obtrusive but it will do to take to Canada and install in Strider. The new little one, I’ll put in Caliburn.

They called me back bang on midday. They couldn’t get it to work so could I come by and pick it up?

Not until 14:00 after lunch so I grabbed a baguette and some stuff to go on it and had a quiet relax in the rain.

There’s an Orange shop in the town so I went in to see what they had. Strangely, they didn’t want me to browse the stock, but they would give me a “special deal”. They would knock 50% off one of their phones for me and let me have it at … errr … €349.99.

Quite.

Down the hill at the repairer’s, they also tried to fix me up with a deal. And while it might have bee more attractive, it wasn’t that attractive. So they suggested I try a phone laboratory in Saint-Lô who might be able to repair mine.

But when my new UK credit card arrives (I posted off all of my letters this morning too) I have another idea.

Having done all of that I came home, to find that yet another problem has arisen at the Bank. I’m not saying too much now, but I’m going out tomorrow to buy a pick-axe handle and I shall deal with the issues in the traditional manner by impressing my message into the skull of the bank manager in Morse Code with the aforementioned.

Having exerted myself quite a lot today, I crashed out for a couple of hours too. And I’m not surprised. And then it was tea. Microwaved potatoes with home-made burger in a bun from the batch at Liz’s, and vegetables. delicious it was too.

stade louis dior us granville manche normandy franceAnd then it was walkies. Around the headland.

And that was where I should have been had I been able to exert myself the other day. At the football. And Granville won too – 3-2 in extra time. Just 16 clubs left now in the Cup and I wonder who they’ll draw in the next round.

Rest assured – I’ll be camping out at the ground the night before and I’ve asked if, if the match is “away”, whether there will be any buses running.

But now it’s bed-time. I’ve done over 100% of my daily activity target and that’s enough for today. All 1560 words of it.

Wednesday 3rd May 2017 – I’VE BEEN TO COUTANCES …

… more times today that I have been in the rest of my life.

Well, anyway I reckon so, because when I was there a couple of weeks ago I didn’t see anywhere or anything that made me think that I had been here before when Nerina and I did out Grant Tour of Normandy and Brittany in 1991.

But last night, once I finally managed to drop off to sleep, I slept the Sleep Of The Dead and it wasn’t until the alarm went off that I awoke.

Terry and I were on our own today after breakfast and I had to go into Countances for the stuff that we needed for today’s exertions – the pipes for the plumbing of the heating in the kitchen, some more metal studding for the walls and a few other bits and pieces too. While I was out at the shops Terry started to fit the wooden bracing supports on the wall where the kitchen units will be.

Upon my return I helped Terry finish off the bracing and then we had a mega-tidy-and-clean-up, which took us up to lunchtime.

After lunch we fitted the insulation and the plasterboard on the ceiling in the hall, and that was quite exciting seeing as there was just two of us. And then an inventory of stock showed us that we were still short of what we needed and so I had to return to Coutances.

While I was there, I noticed that the Intermarché had a couple of small 6kg washing machines on offer at just €199. There’s plumbing for an automatic washer at my new place and so this could be a possibility.

Back here, we finished off the day by installing all of the studding down the wall that runs down the front of the kitchen and the hallway. That took a while as there were many fiddly bits to be done.

Liz had done a machine-load of washing for me before she went. I’d found a bag full of dirty washing at the bottom of the pile of stuff in Caliburn and so I’d put it all in an empty black holdall similar to the one that I use for travelling that had a set of clean clothes and stuff like that. And then I’d brought the wrong one with me and left behind in my apartment the one that I should have bought. And so tonight I had a shower in the gorgeous new shower here and a change of clothes to make me smell nice – if that’s at all possible.

The Electrickery Board has changed the time of my re-connection on Friday to between 13:00 and 17:00 so I’m staying here tomorrow to give Terry another day of help, and I can sleep here until Friday morning. That will take me nicely into town on Friday morning to do the essential shopping to start myself off.

The big question is, though, will I have faded away by Friday morning? At this rate I wouldn’t rule it out.

Sunday 23rd April 2017 – THERE MUSTN’T BE …

… a single pie hut in the whole of Normandy, from what I can see. This afternoon I was down at the Stade de la Plage in Donville les Bains for their second team’s match against La Brehalaise’s first team, and there wasn’t one there either.

Unbelievable!

So falling asleep in the middle of yet another film last night, I was awake at 06:00, even though it was a Sunday. I’ve not had a Sunday lie-in for quite a while, have I?

But I did take it quite easy this morning and didn’t do all that much – just mooched about on the laptop and eventually I had a shower.

You’ll remember that I’d bought some bread yesterday, and so I made some butties, and then I headed off.

plage donville les bains manche normandy franceNear one of the camp sites that I looked at a while ago, there’s another pile of dunes with a beach beyond it.

Negotiating the vipers (because there are signs warning us that they are about) I climbed over the dunes and found myself a cosy little niche in between a couple of dunes, relatively-well protected out of the wind.

And here I had my lunch – the usual vegan cheese, tomato and lettuce sandwiches with that salad dressing that I bought the other day

granville plage donville les bains manche normandy franceThere’s a beautiful view from here right down the beach, past that miserable building that I visited a few weeks ago, and down to Granville and the head of the promontory.

That’s a walled city by the way, up there on the promontory. The old town of Granville. And there are some barracks over there dating from the 16th or 17th Century, long-abandoned and now being converted into apartments.

That’s another place where I’ve tried to contact an estate agent but, as you might expect, no-one ever called me back.

ile de chausey plage donville les bains manche normandy franceThere’s an even better view from here across the bay to the Iles de Chausey. And what I’ve done is to mess about with the colours and the contrast to enhance the differences in the topography, and you can see everything so much more clearly.

The islands are inhabited, as you can probably tell from the buildings that you can see out there. A couple of hundred, if that, in the winter, but several thousand in the summer when all of the grockles arrive.

A couple of sailings each day out there in the summer, but in the winter you are lucky if there are a couple each week.

ship of the day plage donville les bains manche normandy franceNow when was the last time that we featured a “ship of the day” on here?

It’s quite a regular occurrence when we are in Canada or near a main shipping lane, but this is the first time that I’ve ever seen anything worth recording in the Bay of Mont St Michel.

No idea what it is, of course, but it’s an impressive sight all the same. I only hope that there are more of them as time goes by.

oyster beds domville les bains manche normandy franceAnyway, that’s enough of the excitememnt for just now. It’s the time of the year when the tide is going out further and further, and this is the first time that I’ve been able to see the oyster beds as they emerge from the sea.

And people down there working on them too.

But don’t believe anything that anyone tells you about oysters. It’s a myth. I had 12 on my wedding night, but only 9 of them worked!

modern building plage donville les bains manche normandy franceThere’s a weird building here at the foot of the cliffs. It’s a block of apartments that dates probably from the 1980s or thereabouts and it looks as if they ran out of money before they had quite finished it.

There’s an apartment for sale in there, and I had a look at the photos in the estate agent’s window a couple of days ago. It’s quite cheap for what it is, and that’s what is worrying. I’ve heard about buildings like this all over the holiday resorts of France.

stade de la plage donville les bains manche normandy franceOne advantage of the apartments though is that they overlook the Stade de la Plage, the home ground of the Union Sportive des Mouettes de Donville.

Today’s match is their Second XI against the First XI of La Brehalaise, whose Third XI we saw yesterday evening. It’s in the Second Division of the Manche District League so I’m rather hoping that it’s going to be better than what was served up last night

And indeed it was. La Brehalaise were much better than the Union Sportive des Mouettes de Donville – in fact it took the latter about 20 minutes to get out of their own half after the kick-off.

La Brehalaise won at a canter, 3-0, with a beautiful header from a corner that would have graced the televisions of the Premier League, a hopeful lob into the penalty area with the bounce and the wind deceiving the the Union Sportive des Mouettes de Donville goalkeeper, and a speculative shot from about 25 yards out that swerved into the corner of the net on a gust of wind.

There was a penalty awarded when the the Union Sportive des Mouettes de Donville goalkeeper tripped a la Brehalaise attacker who was clean through on goal. A red-card offence certainly, but the referee didn’t even brandish a yellow card, much to the astonishment of everyone in the crowd. And to run salt into the would, the keeper saved the penalty.

And, as I said, no pie-hut either!

After the game I headed back to the beach for an hour to sunbathe as it really was quite warm. And then back here for coffee and tea.

Now it’s an early night. I wonder what film I’ll fall asleep in the middle of tonight.

Tuesday 11th April 2017 – I’VE JUST HAD ….

… the most extraordinary proposition put to me.

And no, Rhys, it’s not like that. And it doesn’t involve sheep either.

I went to see two more ruins this morning. And I was quite right too. One was really beautiful, with a magnificent view out to sea and the price wasabout right too. But it was furnished, and furnished too in the worst possible taste, and it was thoroughly filthy. Not even I as a tenant would leave an apartment in this kind of state. We shan’t talk about the kitchen either.

But it was the other one in the same building that really got me. It was another studio – which was superficially larger. But all of the difference and more was taken up by a totally pointless hall d’entrée and I didn’t understand that at all.

And worse was to come. For it had a balcony, which the one at the top didn’t have, but this was on the first floor and it had a stunning view of the car park and the high hedge that screened it from the view of the sea.

But there was one thing that totally shocked me – and it does take a lot to do that, I’ll tell you. There had been transfers or patches stuck on the wall, and it was impossible to remove them. "Don’t worry" said the estate agent. "The landlord will buy the paint and you can paint over them". At that, I turned on my heels and walked out.

Some, if not all of these landlords whom I have encountered, are living on a totally different planet than I am, and I’m sure that it’s not me who is devoid of reality. I expect a clean and tidy apartment in good order and good repair in a respectable building – that’s a prime consideration. But clearly many of these landlords – and many of the tenants too, I shouldn’t wonder – have totally different ideas than I have. Whatever is the world coming to?

So last night I slept the Sleep of the Dead and it wasn’t until the alarm went off that I staggered to my feet. 10 minutes under the shower soon restored me to life (well, sort-of, anyway) and I was glad that I wasn’t having breakfast because I wasn’t hungry in the least. I headed off instead through the fog and mist and the roadworks (of which there were more than just a few) for my rendezvous with destiny.

The esate agent had a bit of a moan about dropping me of at the railway station but then she can’t pick and choose her clients either.

sncf gare de granville manche normandy franceI had a long wait for my train so I had plenty of time to relax and buy a coffee – but then it was worth the wait because it was a very modern diesel mutiple-unit. A bit lightweight and it rolled around quite a lot, but on the other hand the seats were super-comfortable and there were plenty of power points all over the place.

My neighbours were a young woman and her two kids who were pleying an exciting game of cards all the way to Paris. It certainly kept them amused and out of mischief for a while.

Lunch was the baguette that I had bought last night for this morning’s breakfast, together with the bowl of mint couscous that I had bought from LeClerc on Saturday, washed down with sparkling water that I had brought with me. Very acceptable.

The Paris metro was the usual incomprehensible maze, worsened by the fact that one half of the metro station at Montparnasse is cloed for renovation – and it’s the half that I need. Consequently it’s a bit all round the houses to reach the Gare du Nord.

tgv paris gare du mord france bruxelles midi belgium We had an exciting few minutes of security alert as someone had forgotten their luggage in the waiting room, and then we were all ready to board out train – the one on the right of course.

There’s one of these stupid security checks that you have to pass before boarding the train these days – and that’s the kind of thing that gets on my nerves as you all well-know. But at least I had a comfortable seat on the train and I was quite undisturbed.

Imagine my surprise on arriving at Bruxelles Gare du Midi to discover that there was a train for leuven pulling in right at that moment. That involved something of a sprint but nevertheless I leapt aboard, as did another family who immediately discovered that they had leapt aboard the wrong train.

I was okay though and ended up being decanted in Leuven much earlier than anticipated.

verbond van belgische tuinbouwcooperaties belgium april avril 2017Walking around the ring road towards where I’m staying tonight, I noticed this sign on a wall by a door to a building.

Verbond is “Association”, tuin is “garden”, bouw is “building” and cooperatie is “co-operative”. And so I’m wondering if this building is the headquarters of the Association for people who share garden sheds with other people.

belgium march mars 2017My early arrival gave me time to visit the Colruyt supermarket down the road to stock up with breakfast material, which is good news.

And my trip down the road took me past a fritkot that advertised a terrace, so on the way back I stopped for tea. The terrace is hardly the most exciting terrace in the world as you can see, but it was nice to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air

I’m not staying in my usual hostel but in a flat-hotel place called the Condo Gardens. Here I have my own tiny little studio and although breakfast isn’t included, it’s totally self-sufficient.

And I do hope that the bed is comfy because I’m ready for it.

Monday 10th April 2017 – WHAT A SHAME!

I’ve actually seen a place that I liked today. It had everything that I wanted except for the kitchen of course (one of those really cheap units with the two ancient hobs and the fridge underneath so that the hobs take ages to heat up, they are pretty much uncontrollable, and they melt everything in the fridge).

And so why haven’t I signed for it then?

Two reasons really.

  1. It’s not free until the beginning of July
  2. It’s three floors up without a lift

And that’s that.

There was another apartment to let in the same building, on the first floor but without the terrace and the view of the sea. And that smelt as if the people living there had smoked 100 cigarettes a day for 20 years.

In other words, yet another wasted morning.

bad parking barneville carteret manche normandy franceBut on the other hand, it wasn’t exactly wasted because I did learn one or two things about the town.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, poor parking is a regular theme that crops up, and here, I regret to say, is yet another example of the dismal failure of other selfish motorists to respect disabled parking spaces.

This tells me more about the town than any other factor, and in this sense I’m glad that I’m not moving here.

But before I had left my little studio in Granville for my drive out, I had given the studio a quick clean-around and took some stuff down to Caliburn with me, and then we roared off to Barneville-Carteret to look at these apartments.

And then we roared back.

I finished off the tidying up and passed the inspection with the landlord, and then set off to find a place for tonight. And with what is befitting a holiday resort in the school holidays, there’s not a room to let anywhere in town.

After an hour or so of fruitless searching, we all took to the road and 80 kilometres and 80 minutes later we ended up in Cancale on the other side of the bay.

I had the last room here too – the Hotel le Chatellier – and at €60:00 it looks as if I have made a good choice. It’s quite comfortable and the shower is delicious. I spent half an hour in there.

No breakfast though. It doesn’t start until 08:00 and I’ll be long gone and down the road by then.

Cancale is beautiful. It’s nearly 30 years since I came here with Nerina and it’s changed dramatically in that it’s impossible to park by the sea.And it’s a hell of a climb up to the car parks at the top. And of course, all of the places to eat are at the bottom.

Luckily, on the edge of town was not darkness but a pizza van and we sorted something out. He came, would you believe, from Moisie in Quebec, so we had a really good chat.

Back at the hotel, I found a quiet little corner out of the wind and sat outside and ate my pizza. It really was a nice evening.

So now I’m ready for anything. Including two more ruins to visit tomorrow morning, and my train to Leuven at 11:50.

Sunday 9th April 2017 – WHAT WITH …

… my late night last night, I was looking forward to a decent, long sleep without an alarm to bother me. And so there I was, wide awake eventually, thinking that I can’t stay lying in bed for ever and wandering around the kitchen when I noticed the time – 08:30.

Yes, quite!

But after breakfast I started going through the room putting the less-essential stuff into one of my big blue IKEA bags to take down to Caliburn later in the day. And there was a fair bit to go too. It also gave me an opportunity to tidy up a little and do some more cleaning which you all know isn’t my strong point.

Once that was organised I went down to the boulangerie from where I bought that good baguette the other day. And it was bizarre, if not downright amusing, to see the difference in people’s tastes, with loads of people all coming and going in different directions carrying their favourite baguettes from their favourite boulangerie.

plage casino granville manche normandy franceFor lunch I made myself the usual sandwich and then toddled off to my favourite spot on the promenade at the back of the casino down at the end of the street to sit in the sun, to eat my butties, read my book and to admire the view.

With it being Sunday and also the hottest day of the year, all of the benches were taken and that meant a pretty uncomfortable lunchtime break.

plage casino granville manche normandy france I had to stand up in the sun, leaning on the wall, to eat my butties, read my book and admire the view. And to also rue the fact that, as I had mentioned yesterday, I have all of this beach furniture and I’ve managed to leave it all behind back in my barn in the Auvergne.

Normally, you might think that that will teach me lesson. But it’s far from being the first time that something like this has happened, and it will be far from the last time either.

There’s only so much time that you can spend standing up, and so back here, I had a little doze for half an hour and then hit toe road for Liz and Terry’s new place at Roncey. We had a delicious pie followed by ginger cake for tea, and hats off to Liz who had conjured that up out of nothing and cooked it in the oven in the caravan, because she has no kitchen.

In the fog and mist and in the dark I came back later. And it’s nice to be able to drive at full speed down narrow lanes without worrying whether you are going to hit a sanglier or a chevreuil.

So now its bedtime – my last night here. Tomorrow I have to find a hotel and that will be exciting. I’ve forgotten that it’s the Easter break.

Saturday 8th April 2017 – WELL, THAT WAS ANOTHER …

… total, complete and utter waste of time.

I could smell the rising damp from outside the front door. And I wasn’t wrong either. I shan’t go on (and on and on) about the place to spare you all the unpleasant details, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the average standard of living of people here in Normandy is to bed down with the cattle.

genets mont st michel manche normandy franceIt’s a shame really though because the village of Genets itself is quite pretty. And not only that, there’s a most spectacular view of Mont St Michel from the car park across the road.

Nerina and I went there almost 30 years ago for a good wander around and it’s always inspired me. And what is more, it’s possible to walk across the sands from here to the Mont when tidal conditions are right, and there was in fact a party setting out while I was there.

Regular bus services to the railway station at Avranches too, but unfortunately I won’t be on them.

I headed back to Granville and went to do some shopping.

Having enquired of the BIOCOOP before I came down here about vegan cheese and been told in the affirmative, I headed in that direction to stock up. But having spent a fruitless 20 minutes looking, I enquired of a member of staff, only to be told “ohh, we don’t have that”.

That’s no good.

And so I went up to LeClerc and bought a few bits and pieces there to stock up for the next few days and to take with me on the train. And that reminded me – my Senior Citizens railcard – it needs a photograph, and there’s a photograph booth there.

Another thing was that the place was advertising tickets for this evening’s football match – US Granville v Rennes II in CFA Nord – the equivalent of the Nationwide North League in the UK. Cost all of €5:00, and I reckoned that buying now would save queueing at the ground.

plage donville les bains granville manche normandy franceWhile I was out looking at that wretched apartment at Donville-les-Bains the other day I had noticed the gorgeous beach there. And so that was where I headed for lunch.

A pot of hummus from LeClerc (and that took some finding) and a nut loaf to dip into it, and some fruit and soft drink – and there I was, sitting in the gorgeous sun with my book.

I dozed off for half an hour too,and who can blame me? But I do feel a bit of a fool. I have two sun-lounging reclining chairs as well as a fold-up portable chair, and where are they? That’s right. Bane of Britain has left them back at the Auvergne.

At about 16:00 I headed back to my little studio for an hour or so and a coffee, and I was lucky with a parking place. Just as I arrived, someone was trying to pull out into the traffic and so I stopped to let him out, and then quickly reversed in.

stade louis dior us granville rennes 2 manche normandy franceI was glad that at LeClerc I had bought a ticket for the match, because there was something of a queue. I had no problem entering the ground.

The stadium is pretty similar to that at St Eloy-les-Mines, but it looks as if at one time it had a dog track around the outside. There’s even the channel where the electric hare (an “external” hare) would have run.

But I was thinking, like I do on special occasions – what a superb speedway track this would make. France was never very big in speedway but this place would be ideal.

stade louis dior us granville rennes 2 manche normandy franceAs for the match itself, it wasn’t too bad. Had Granville won, and both Chlet and Bergerac failed to win, then Granville would have gone top.

Cholet lost and Bergerac could only draw, but US Granville lost too – and so it’s Rennes who are king of the heap right now. Final kick of the game – right between the keeper’s legs.

But it was played at a pace and both of the keepers had their work cut out. US Granville missed a sitter straight from the kick-off and a Rennes forward kicked the ball over the bar, totally unmarked, from 6 yards out.

But there were a couple of “incidents”. There was a bad tackle after about 65 minutes which resulted in a red card for a US Granville defender, but it wasn’t a “violent” tackle in my book and I would have only given a yellow card for the offence.

And then a few minutes later, we had another reckless tackle (well worth a yellow card to a Rennes defender) but a US Granville player decided that he would intervene. A Rennes player pushed him away and the US Granville player went down as if he had been hit by a nuclear missile, holding his face although the push had been to his shoulder.

The referee sent off the Rennes player, and I do have to say that if referees sent off everyone who had pushed an opponent in the middle of a mêlee we’d be playing matches with no-one on the pitch. A yellow card, very likely, but also a yellow card for “unsportsmanlike conduct” to the Granville player is what I would have given. It really was shameful.

Anyway, I headed home and ended up having a late night, what with one thing or another. But no matter.It’s Sunday tomorrow and I’m having a lie-in.

Friday 7th April 2017 – I MADE A CONSCIOUS …

… decision this morning and turned down the thermostat in the fridge. Much a I like ice-cold soya milk and fruit juice, I don’t like the racket that the fridge makes during the night. I can’t have the best of both worlds unfortunately – it’s one or the other.

But once I did finally manage to settle down I was well-away and it was the alarm that once more awoke me. And I’d been on my travels again, with some friends with whom I used to go and watch the Alex play in the mid-70s. We’d been to a match where they had been playing the Clayheads in a tense local derby and had won 2-1, although we didn’t arrive there until the final whistle (which rather defeated the point of going).

After breakfast I didn’t do too much – just chatted to a few people on the internet, and also spent ages (so it seemed) going through the old laptop removing duplicate files. It seems that I had let it get completely out of hand and there was about 15GB of duplicate files in there that needed removing.

I also made a few more enquiries about apartments and I have two more to see – one tomorrow morning and the other on Monday morning.They both look quite nice, but then again I’ve heard – and seen – all of this before and I don’t intend to count my chickens before they are hatched.

For lunch I strolled down to the promenade with my butties, my fruit and my book and sat at the same place as yesterday. If anything, it was a warmer day than yesterday and just for a change it was fatigue that drove me back to my little studio.

And just for a change, it was 17:20 when I came round, and made myself a coffee. I’m really not doing too well with things at the moment.

One thing that I didn’t forget (which was just as well) was to move Caliburn. One part of the public parking is reserved on Saturday mornings for the vans of the market traders and that was where I had parked him up. But across the road there were a few spaces and so he’s gone in there.

Tea was pasta with the rest of the lentil stuff that I had made yesterday. And it was delicious too, although it will be nice to get back to having a proper kitchen and doing proper cooking.

Now I’m having an early night and tomorrow I might even have a shower. Have to look my best for my visits.

Thursday 6th April 2017 – YES, DEFINITELY THE FRIDGE.

It took ages to go off to sleep again last night with the fridge whining away in the background. And I was awoken once more in the middle of the night by the rattling of the compressor.

But I did manage to go back to sleep and was awoken by the alarm, which is always nice.

I’d been on my travels too – something I’ve not really done for a while. I was taxiing again – this time in the white Volkswagen Passat estate that I own. And the wife of one of the people for whom I drove back in the early 80s put in an appearance too.

And that reminds me – I need to rescue the Passat and the Minerva next time I go back to the Auvergne and put them on the hardstanding. After all, that’s why I had it made.

I had a quiet leisurely morning. I’m not up to doing too much these days. What with chatting to Liz and so on, I was late for going to buy my baguette and ended up at the boulangerie across the road. I had a walk down to Caliburn too, to make sure that he’s okay and to pick up a few things that I need.

casino granville manche normandy franceAt lunch I went for a walk down on the promenade at the back of the Casino over there to sit in the sun and eat my butties. And sit in the sun I did too – for about an hour.

But the wind was rather wicked and despite the sunshine, it was really cold and there was nowhere to shelter. In the end, I decided that the only protection was “flight” and came back home.

Back here I carried out some more research about places to stay and made a few phone calls but no-one called me back. But then I’m not surprised. No-one seems to want to earn any money these days. They just want to sit at home and moan about how cruel the world is.

Tea was the rest of the potatoes, and I made a thing out of a tin of lentils, a tin of veg and a bottle of tomato sauce. It wasn’t too bad after. It was all washed down with some fruit salad and soya dessert which was nice.

So now let’s see what kind of night we have tonight. I managed to avoid crashing out so I should be ready for a good sleep. Watch someone come along and spoil it for me.

5th April 2017 – WELL THAT’S ANOTHER …

residence l'ermitage manche normandy france… complete and utter waste of an afternoon as far as I am concerned.

Somewhere in that big building down there on the seasfront in the distance at Donville-les-Bains is a studio to let.
Vue sur mer so they told me, and so I went to look this afternoon in the company of an estate agent.

Vue sur mer there certainly is, but not the vue sur mer that I was hoping to have, but I do realise that I shall have to make compromises.

It’s a old hotel by the looks of things that’s been converted into studios and apartments, and the first thing that I noticed was that the building has seen much better days.There’s been no process of renovation for about 30 years by the looks of things.

And then the front doors to the building were wide open. And in a holiday resort too. That’s not a good plan as far as security goes.

It’s also one of these rabbit warrens, with about 10 apartments and studios on the same floor. It’s not going to be quiet.

As for the studio itself, it is only small – 23M² – but that doesn’t bother me as it is less to clean. But half of that is in the bathroom – which is totally silly if you ask me.

And the rest is … well … derelict is probably too strong a term to use, but it’s definitely seen much better days as far as the decoration goes.

The kitchen is like something out of the 1950s. One of those silly units with the sink with cupboard underneath and the ancient cooker elements right on top of the fridge so the ice cream melts when you are trying to cook something. And there’s no possibility of inventing something different.

Don’t get me wrong though – the price was right at €280 per month, but I want something with much more style than this. My days of slumming it in all kinds of disreputable accommodation are long-gone. I’ve earned a comfortable retirement.

Last night was a slightly better night and although it took ages to go off to sleep, I was away with the fairies until the alarm awoke me. High time that I managed that.

I like the idea of the really cold stuff in the fridge. It’s beautiful for breakfast. And two mugs of coffee too. Luxury. And then I had a relax for a while.

Later on I had a good walk looking for another boulangerie and the baguette in this one is the best to date. Far from perfect, but an improvement on the others.

After lunch we had the appointment at Donville-les-Bains and then back here at Granville I made an exciting discovery. The ice-cream stall by the casino sells sorbets. expensive, mind you, but I treated myself nevertheless.

And then a climb up the hundred or so stairs to the old town. It took me a while with several stops for breath, but there I was. And I went for a walk around. There’s no boulangerie up there, but a very friendly and garrulous newspaper-shop proprietor up there is a dêpot de pain and he sells bread at 08:00 6 days per week at 08:00. That’s useful to know.

The walk down here, underneath the arch and over the drawbridge, was very nice too. But the climb had worn me out and I had a good hour or so crashing out.

for tea I had the last of my vegan burgers with spuds and mixed veg, followed by the last of the carrot cake and some more soya dessert. That’s a shame. I shall have to start to use my imagination now.

And an early night again. About time, too. Tomorrow is a new day, and we shall see what that brings me.

Tuesday 4th April 2017 – I THINK THAT IT’S THE FRIDGE …

… that’s causing me my sleeping issues. I had a good night last night up to about 03:40 when I awoke with a bang. The fridge was rattling away like nobody’s business and so I rearranged a few things inside, made sure that the door was properly closed, and then stuck my head back underneath the quilt.

And there I stayed until the alarm awoke me.

After breakfast I relaxed for a good while and then went out to find a baguette. Four different bakers I have tried here, and four awful baguettes that have the constituency of chewing gum. At this rate, I’ll be having to make my own.

Lunch was partaken in here seeing as how it was misty and damp outside. And then we hit the streets.

I headed south through St Pair sur Mer to Jullouville and Carolle. And apart from a couple of beautiful beaches (especially Carolle-Plage where I stopped for half an hour and read a book) there was nothing of interest.

Mind you, we did have an exciting time at the Square-Immo offices in Jullouville. Yours Truly arrives just as the estate agent is departing. He looks at me – and I look at him.
After a minute’s pause – “well, can I come in?”
“No” replied the estate agent. “I’m just leaving” and he ushered me out of the door.

And they say that there’s a recession ongoing in Western Europe. Is it any surprise when they heave customers out of their shops like this?

So dodging the raindrops, I drove across Granville to Breville. And there was nothing there either. It’s all looking a bit miserable.

However there were two camp-sites and so I made enquiries. This idea of parking up a caravan for the summer and seeing what the winter brings is certainly not impossible. While I have paid less for accommodation in the recent past, it does have its attractions from a financial point of view and might save me from embarrassment when I end up with nowhere to live.

I came home via Donville les Bains to have another look around at the place. It certainly has its attractions too and I shall look a little further into this.

I had vegan burgers for tea, with potatoes and veg. Followed by more vegan carrot cake and soya cream. Now I’m ready for anything – but bed is the most likely.

Despite having had a decent sleep last night, I’m still worn out. It’s taking its toll of me.