Tag Archives: parc de val es fleurs

Monday 4th October 2021 – REGULAR READERS …

new shop opened rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago we saw a shop unit in the Rue Couraye being renovated ready for some new owners.

Outside the shop there was a pile of boxes being delivered that looked as if, according to the label, that they had come from a book wholesaler, so I assumed that we were going to have a new bookshop in the town.

Now that it’s open, we can see that it’s not exactly a bookshop but is in fact a centre for comic strips and other assorted accessories that are associated with bandes dessinées.

They are much more popular here on the mainland than in the UK and in the USA.

sign on door avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021But while we’re on the subject of shops … “well, one of us is” – ed … here’s a sign that I saw in a shop in the Avenue de la Liberation.

It’s proof that you don’t need any kind of qualification in mathematics to own or manage a shop. That’s the strangest looking 2 people that I have ever seen in my life.

Last night I wasn’t in bed as early as I was hoping so it was rather a struggle to force myself out of bed at 06:00. And after the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down to work on the radio programme.

It was rather straightforward today, although it took me a while to find a suitable final track. Nevertheless I could have finished it before 11:00 had I concentrated but after breakfast I was side-tracked by a few things here and there and it was 11:20 when I finally finished it.

Strangely enough, I didn’t really enjoy doing this one and I’m not quite sure why. It’s probably something to do with the way that I’m feeling right now.

While I was listening to the finished product and also to the one that will be broadcast this coming weekend, I was going through my mailbox weeding out a pile of dead correspondence that is serving no purpose. It’s now down to about half its previous size.

After lunch I had a shower and then prepared to go out for my physiotherapy session. The days are being changed at the moment.

Outside in the wind I walked across to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was going on.

dredger cleaning chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There wasn’t anything much going on down there this afternoon but there was certainly some activity going on over at the chantier naval.

Never mind the dredger, which is still there, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the past couple of months the yard has been packed continually with boats undergoing all kinds of repair and they’ve been making quite a mess of the place.

And so today they have brought in a street sweeper and it’s giving the place a really good wash and brush up, creating quite a cloud of dust as it goes past.

boulevard des terreneuviers closed to traffic Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further on down the hill, I stopped to look at the workman’s compound that has appeared in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

It looks as if things are about to start down there any day now. We can see that the road is closed and diversions signs have been posted.

The lorry has dropped off a container and they have already started to fill it with soil, although I can’t see to place from where they have scraped it.

But as the work progresses I’ll be able to find out so much more about where they are working anf what they are doing.

road closed rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There are more roadworks going on here too.

Believe it or not, the passage over the drawbridge into the old town is a street, the Rue Cambernon, that’s accessible to motor vehicles. But that seems to be closed off too and the traffic diverted elsewhere.

Presumably there are roadworks going on up there too.

My route took me on down the hill and into town, and then up the hill in the Rue Couraye to the physiotherapist. Surprisingly, I only had to stop twice to catch my breath going up the hill. That makes a change from the last couple of weeks.

Today he tested my knee, seemingly having forgotten everything that I told him a few weeks ago, and then he put me on the tilting platform and then the cross trainer.

Even more surprisingly, I pushed my best time on the cross trainer to 4 minutes and had I tried a little harder, I could have done better than that. It seems that my health is slowly improving. Maybe the physiotherapy is doing me good.

rainbow place semard Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I’d been in the physiotherapist’s we’d had a torrential downpour that stopp just as I set foot outside – and that’s not like how things usually work for me, is it?

And across the road hovering over the railway station we had this really gorgeous rainbow. It’s been quite some considerable time since I’ve seen a rainbow looking as good as this one. It’s magnificent.

And, as we can see, the leaves are now starting to turn. It’s not as vivid as in the Canadian Maritimes, which is where I usually am at this time of the year, but we can see that autumn is now well on its way. I wonder what weather that is going to bring.

digger loading soil onto lorry abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021This afternoon I walked on down past the railway station and down to the abandoned railway line, which I followed down to the Parc du Val Es Fleurs.

The digger that we saw the other day is hard at it this afternoon, scraping up the old ballast and soil and dumping it into the back of that lorry that had reversed all the way up there from the Rue d Boscq.

They have made quite a large amount of progress with that since Friday afternoon. They aren’t going to be hanging about with this project. It’s quite a contrast with what seems to happen in Belgium, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

piles of soil workmen's compound parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There were no haphazard road signs at the foot og the steps, but there have been “other developments”.

The area at the foot of the steps has now been cordoned off and there’s a skip, a mini-digger and a van towing a trailer parked down there now.

The piles of soil are still here too. They don’t look as if they have changed in size – neither increased nor decreased.

From there I wandered off down the Boulevard Louis Dior to the corner of the Rue du Boscq to see how they were progressing there.

digging trench rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021No change in the park opposite the Ecole des Docteurs Lanos, but there are plenty of goings-on across the road.

Having gone to all of the lengths that they have of preparing the surface, they have now dug a trench in it and they are laying some of this red cable trunking in it. That’s rather a shame after all of this effort.

Meanwhile, part of the car park here has been cordoned off. That’s being used at the moment as a parking area for the machinery and vehicles, but I could see them digging this up as well and resurfacing it to match the rest of the work.

Before I left the house I’d packed an energy drink so I wasn’t all that worried about the walk through the town and the climb up the hill towards home.

sailing school belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Once again, I only needed to stop a couple of times instead of the usual half dozen just recently.

One of the places where I stopped for breath was at the viewpoint over the harbour. And out there in the bay the sailing school was just setting out for the afternoon now that the tide was well in.

While I was watching them, I was leaning on the wall drinking my can of energy drink thinking to myself that had I not been having all of these problems right now, I might easily have been out there with them having a go.

That’s something to do that’s on my bucket list, but whether or not I manage to get round to it is another thing completely.

trawlers waiting to enter port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was waiting there to catch my breath I was looking down at the harbour gates.

They were closed at the moment but the pile of fishing boats that was out there told me that they would be open any time now.

And so I waited for about 15 minutes to take a photo of a nice stream of fishing boats following one after the other into the harbour, but as long as I waited, the gates didn’t open at all.

In the end I became fed up of waiting and headed for home.

Just up the road I bumped into a neighbour and we had quite a chat that went on for quite a while. And I learnt quite a lot of interesting facts too that will come in useful as time goes on.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Instead of going straight home, I went over to the wall to have a look down onto the beach.

The tide was well in as I said earlier, so there wasn’t all that much beach to be on this afternoon.

There were a few people nevertheless and by the looks of things, they appear to have been in the water. Not that it’s warm, of course. It’s pretty windy too so hats off to these people.

And for a change, there was nothing whatsoever going on out at sea. I couldn’t see even one boat anywhere out there.

workmens compound place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was out here, I went to have a look at the workmen’s compound, or whatever it is.

Much of the stuff that has been there over the past few days has now disappeared. But to where, I don’t know. Perhaps it’s something to do with the roadworks in the Rue Cambernon.

Back in the apartment I had a nice hot coffee and then, regrettably, I fell asleep for 10 minutes. The first time for a couple of weeks and I was quite disappointed by that, having done so well just recently.

As for any nocturnal voyage, I was at British Salt and they were busy erecting barriers around all the doors so that no-one could see in. I was wondering what was going on. It was obviously something special that they didn’t want anyone to see. Then they wheeled out this extraordinary – it looked like a motor bike with a Ford Model T place to sit for 4 passengers and a huge engine at the back with a big exhaust. Someone called it the “White Fox” or something like that. It was a huge long thing so I asked if I could take some photos of it and the guy said “yes”. He started to move all the boxes and coats and everything that was on it. I started to help and I can’t remember where we went from that. We were all sitting around eating a meal later. Someone had to leave the garage and they had an A40 Farina hatchback thing. I expected them to open the doors wider but he managed to drive it in a slalom all the way round these sight screens and out like that. Then we were sitting down having a meal and talking, and that’s where this ended. It was a most impressive motorbike thing. I’ve never seen anything like this.

A little later or maybe earlier, I can’t remember now, there was a group of cowboys and a woman holed up inside a house, a cabin on the prairie because they were surrounded by Indians. The Indians took their buckboard, filled it full of explosives and rode it round and round until it blew up, all that kind of thing. Someone had managed to slip out and they were there for several days. Then there was a knock on the door. It was this guy who had come back and brought a few other people with him, the Matt Dillon type, US Marshall and a couple of his friends. They’d come to deal with the issue after all but it seemed that these Indians had gone. Whether it was because of the new arrivals or not, I don’t know.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, and then I came in here to write up my notes.

That reminded me that I’d weighed myself just before I had my shower. And over the last week, I’ve lost half a kilo. I consoled myself by thinking that if I carry on at this rate then in a little over three years I will have gone completely.

Friday 1st October 2021 – I’VE HAD AN EXCITING …

… day today. So much so that I’ve hardly done a thing of what I’m supposed to be doing.

It wasn’t very exciting at first though. The first job that I had to tackle was to get my entry from last night on line.

For some reason, access to my web host timed out last night every time I tried to access it, and in the end I gave it up as a bad job and went to bed.

The night was better than some that I’ve had just recently although I wasn’t too happy about being wide-awake at 06:40.

Nevertheless I waiting until the alarm went off, had my medication and then came in here to tackle a few tasks.

The web-host was still timing out and even clearing the cache and cookies on the (four!) different browsers that I use didn’t make things any better.

However I do have another browser that I don’t use too often, and for a variety of reasons too, but its big advantage (which at times is a big disadvantage) is that it automatically erases your browser history, cache and cookies and everything else on closedown.

On trying that, it worked perfectly (given its limitations) and I was able to upload the journal entry.

Then I had a rather onerous task to perform. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I was having some kind of issues about an insurance policy that I believed that I had and that other people disagreed.

Searching around in the apartment (and thank heavens that I have most of my papers filed neatly) I found exactly what I was looking for, so I sat down and wrote two letters.

Incendiary letters – the type that blister the paint off the walls of the office where they are opened – are two-a-penny around here, but the two I wrote today will probably beat most of those. And they were written in French too.

They will certainly provoke a reaction, although whether it will be the reaction that I want remains to be seen.

Writing those took much longer that it ought to have done because Rosemary rang me – not once but twice. She’s having difficulty dealing with a French administrative issue but because I can’t go into the site, I was unable to help her.

As a result, it was lunchtime by the time that I’d finished .

After lunch I had a shower (and my weight is now down to the lowest that it’s been for a good seven or eight months) and then headed off towards town.

baie de mont st michel joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down on the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne I stopped to have a look down into the harbour.

From here, I could see that they are up to their antics with the crane again. Parked up, fully extended like that, at the worst possible angle for it to be. All of the weight on the arm pressing down on the hydraulic seals. They won’t last for long.

Down there underneath the crane moored at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France boats. The older one of the two with the larger upper deck superstructure and windows in “landscape” format.

dredger chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was here, I had a look down towards the chantier naval to see what was happening in there today.

No boats as yet, but there’s a much better view of the dredger that arrived here at the end of last week. And it’s definitely a dredger too, I reckon. We can see the grab quite clearly, and the pipework that discharges the waste water that the grab might pick up.

But when is she going to go into the water? And more importantly, where? They must have some task lined up for her now that she’s here, and I wonder what it’s going to be.

Time will tell.

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021So from there I wandered off down the hill towards town.

For a change, moored up underneath the crane is Belle France – the new ferry for the Ile de Chausey that arrived here in the summer. She won’t be loading, of course, so I imagine that she’s just parked there waiting for a more permanent mooring.

Into town, I went to the Post Office and posted my letters. Recorded delivery with registered receipt. I’m taking no chances. Mind you, I did include the bill for the postage and my time when I wrote the letters.

Whether the recipients will pay me, I really have no idea and I doubt it very much, but at least it’s a menacing gesture.

The walk up to the physiotherapist wasn’t quite as exhausting as it has been. He put me for 20 minutes on this tilting platform thing and we went through several exercises to strengthen my knees.

Finally, he put me on this cross trainer thing and I managed to push my personal best up to 3:05 which is pretty good. Even more surprisingly, when I had a second go after catching my breath, I was so busy talking that I went well over 2 minutes without even noticing.

After he threw me out, I headed for home via the steps down to the Parc Du Val Es Fleurs.

soil parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There wasn’t a weird collection of signs at the bottom of the steps this afternoon.

Instead of the signs, we now have a huge pile or two of soil now deposited at the end of the car park where they had set up their little compound, with the signs hidden somewhere behind it.

It looks as if the renovations are progressing quite rapidly. That pile of earth wasn’t there last week, and this week, some of it has been removed already and presumably scattered about somewhere over the course of the work

digger on abandoned railway line parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And as for this beast here, I wonder if he’s the machine that moved it.

He was sitting on the abandoned railway line a short distance down from where everything was happening looking as if he was waiting for a signal from someone to go and do something else.

There was a driver in it and the engine was ticking over too, so he was clearly up to some kind of work.

But I didn’t wait to see. I continued on my way down past the Primary School to the corner of the Rue du Boscq.

parc des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the end of the road on the corner by the Rue du Boscq I asked myself if this is where the big pile of soil is going.

After all, they seem to have just about everything else here – piles of gravel, piles of sand, and that looks like soil down there right by the yellow digger.

At the moment this all looks like quite a mess but then it wasn’t actually very pretty here before the work started. It was a rather sad place. And so I’m looking forward to see how it develops over the next few months.

It has to be an improvement on how it used to be.

new roadway construction rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The reverse angle shot from where I was taking the previous photo already shows signs of dramatic improvement.

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen the Rue du Boscq in all kinds of different states but right now we can actually see signs of progress. The stones are all down by the looks of things and there’s just a little bit of building up to be done before they add the tarmac.

Last time I photographed this, with the grader and the compacter here, I made some kind of remark about the Trans-Labrador Highway. If this had been Labrador, all of the construction crews would have been long-gone by now and they would be running heavy lorries on it already.

filling road markers with water rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the far end of the roadworks there’s quite a bit of excitement going on right now.

They are obviously expecting a storm here this weekend, because being carried on that digger is a pallet tank of 1,000 litres of water and the guy in the red fluorescent jacket is opening the tap and filling the red and white road markers with water, presumably to weigh them down.

Of course, for an extremely complicated job like that, there had to be a supervisor, doesn’t there?

There was qute an interesting storm in the Avenue de la Libération when I walked past. There was a vehicle dropping off a passenger in the Place Marechal Foch right on the corner, not caring less that there were three or four vehicles waiting to turn into the square behind the.

As the next in the queue was a large lorry, he was too wide to pass in the inside lane and consequently the traffic was backed up right the way through the town centre as this one person leisurely took its time.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk back up the hill towards home was a little easier than it has been of late.

There were only a couple of times where I had to stop for my breath. One of those was at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour. The gates were now open and this trawler was setting out for the fishing grounds, rather later than the others.

She must be one of the lucky 50% of the local fleet that has been given a permit by the Channel Islands authorities. Whether the remaining 31 temporary permits will be finalised or whether they will join the ranks of the 75 who have been rejected remains to be seen.

marité chausiaise joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was there catching my breath, I noticed that there had been a change in position of some of the boats.

On our way out, Belle France was moored over there underneath the crane, but now her place has been taken by Chausiaise.

Belle France is now moored down here next to one of the Joly France boats. This is the newer one of the two as we can tell by the small upper deck superstructure.

Also in the photo is of course Marité. She’s in port rather than being out on an excursion, which is probably logical now that the summer season has come to an end.

trawler returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I walked further on up the hill, I noticed that there was something rather strange going on.

The trawler that we had seen earlier setting out to sea was now on her way back to port, like you do if you have forgotten your butties or your overcoat.

But instead of coming back into the harbour, she did a rather dramatic left-hand U-turn and headed off back out to sea, brushing along the harbour wall. And I’ve no idea what that was all about either.

workmen's compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And here’s something else about which I have no idea at all.

A few days ago I posted a photo of a workmen’s compound that had sprung up in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers, something that looked as if it might have some kind of connection to the electricity supply.

Although I have yet to see anyone working around there, we now seem to have acquired a large lorry and a digger, so it looks as if we are about to see some trench-digging beginning some time fairly soon.

That’s something else for us to monitor in the forthcoming weeks.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way back home, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down on the beach.

Actually, there wasn’t all that much beach for people to be on this afternoon, and that’s probably why there weren’t all that many people on it. In fact I didn’t see a soul.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, one of the things that I had intended to do this afternoon was to go and have a look at the builders’ compound that has sprung up in the Place d’Armes.

Instead however I fell in with one of the guys from the radio, we had quite a chat and I’m afraid that it totally slipped my mind. There’s always tomorrow.

Back here, I had a couple of things to do – including playing the guitar for the first time since for about ever. These days it’s very hard for me to summon up any enthusiasm.

Tea tonight was a baked potato, some veggie balls and the left-over pasta mix from last night. And I’m convinced that spicy food left to marinade for 24 hours improves its flavour considerably.

And then we had the football. Y Fflint v Y Bala.

Flint at one time were leading the league and with a front line of veteran striker Michael Wilde who is enjoying a resurgence wince his move, and Jack Kenny who I have always admired, it was no real surprise.

However they have gone off the boil just recently and were up against a Bala side that has always been a good, if inconsistent side that is enjoying a bit of a good run right now.

Most of the football was played in the Flint half and it was easy to see why – Bala were certainly the more skilful side.

However Flint caught them on the break with a good cross over to Michael Wilde to head home, and he almost had a second 5 minutes later when a powerful run, shrugging off four defenders, saw his shot strike the inside of the post but rebound to safety.

A couple of substitutions for Bala did the trick though. They wore down the opposition and scored twice later in the game to pull off a deserved victory.

Mind you, it ought not to have been. Bala scored one of their goals from a throw-in which absolutely everyone watching on the internet and in the ground except the linesman and the referee considered that it should have been awarded to Flint.

And where did I go last night? Mustn’t forget that. In fact I must have forgotten it because I remember almost nothing about this except that that there was some kind of special offer for families going for a 4-week speaking course in Welsh that was being offered as a taster. There was some issue about driving licences in these communities but that’s really all that I can remember.

So I’ll go off to bed and hope for a more memorable voyage during the night.

Friday 24th September 2021 – MY LIE-IN THIS MORNING …

… would have been really good had it not been for the 12 text messages that I received – 8 of which were from my mobile phone supplier telling me about special offers that I neither want nor need – during the course of the early morning.

There’s always something that goes wrong whenever I try to have to lie in for a morning.

And as you also might expect, I didn’t actually feel much better when I awoke either. But more of this anon.

After the medication I sat down to finish off yesterday’s blog entry. And there were tons of it too. It’s no surprise that I fell asleep halfway through, especially as that long chat had made me start it rather later than usual.

There was a pause in the middle for breakfast but even so, not finishing it until 11:45 was rather extreme. Mind you, I did have a few other things to do while I was at it.

Once I’d done that, I turned my attention to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something last night about being in the Army in World War II in the Home Guard. Our platoon had a couple of machine guns and suddenly the alarm went off so we dashed with our machine guns to our selected point and erected our machine guns so that they were covering the beach. After we had been covering the beach for a few minutes the captain, probably Captain Mainwaring, turned round and ordered our guns to point to the right. The sergeant-major immediately leapt over the wall to accost the captain about this, as it meant that we were now no longer firing on the enemy as they landed. The captain gave him such a dressing-down and sent him back to his quarters. A couple of our soldiers were crying as they wouldn’t be able to have a direct reult on attacking the Germans and stopping them landing. We kept our position for about 5 minutes then the captain dismissed us, saying that we had performed a very valuable exercise and we could all go home, to everyone’s dismay. I was one of the last to leave, and suddenly I heard the sound of horses galloping up. I took cover and it turned out that they were on the TV. It was Kenneth Williams and someone else, some kind of medieval heroes doing something. Much as I appreciate the humour of Kenneth Williams, it wasn’t what I wanted to watch so I had to look for the remote control to flick through the channels to see what else was on.

Later on I had a girl come round to me in Virlet and she ended up staying the night. Next morning I had to take her back to work of course. We were wandering around the farm and I was showing her all of the solar panels, everything, and it all looked pretty overgrown with weeds because I hadn’t been there for ages, even on the roofs. The solar panels were still working fine. There was a ritual that I went through to make a reading but I couldn’t remember what it was. I was stuck there for a couple of minutes. I asked her if she wanted a coffee but she said “no” so I asked if she minded if she waited 30 seconds while I made myself one and I could rake it with me. She replied “no, that’s fine as well”

Finally, there was something weird last night about I was walking down a country lane. Someone had fenced off or roped off all of the grass verges, roped off the drive to his house which was really difficult, like a labyrinth or honeycomb, rows and rows of ropes going across it. As I walked past I dropped my screwdriver over the hedge so I crawled under the ropes all the way up to where my screwdriver was and I met him coling down the drive. I explained that I was after my screwdriver and we had a chat. In the end he invited me in for a coffee. By this time I’d acquired a girl, I don’t know who it was. Then he said that he’d go out shortly but he’d be back later on. We heard the sounds of him locking the door as if we were prisoners in it. We both had a shower and change of clothes and sat and waited, then we managed to make our way out of the house. By this time we had discovered a young lad who was something to do with the farm but was also having a lot of difficulties with him. We packed up a few things and I pinched a couple of carrots because I’d been on my way to the shops to try to buy some. I’d already been to the market and bought some cheese. We set off and had to dismantle a gatepost to get out and had to reassemble everything. That took a while, but we were able to get into our car and drive away, leaving the place exactly as it was before we left but obviously without us in it.

One thing that I wish I knew was “just who are these girls who keep on appearing during the night?”. Especially the one who spent the night with me in Virlet. I have a feeling that I’m missing out on an awful lot these days.

As I have said before … “many, many times” – ed … whatever I get up to during the night is far more exciting these days than whatever I do during the daytime, but it seems to be such a waste when I can’t remember who it is that I’m getting it up with.

After lunch, I had a shower and then set off for my physiotherapy session.

ile de chausey man fishing from rocks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Yesterday I mentioned that if I manage to set out early I would go for a wander around the walls to see what was going on with the repointing.

Before I did so, I stopped off at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord to see what was happening out there on the beach below me.

Not a lot, as it happens, but out there on the rocks we had a lone fisherman casting his line out into the water. I didn’t stay around to see if he caught anything.

And look how clear it is this afternoon over towards the Ile de Chausey in the background.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But let us turn our attention to the repair of the medival city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

On the inside, facing the street, they have already repaired a few patches and it looks quite nice, the work that they have done so far.

But as for the outside of the wall, they are going to be here quite a while trying to fix this. The presence of all of those plant roots are undermining the mortar and that’s what it probably causing a lot of the problem.

But if they repoint it with lime mortar (nasty corrosive stuff) as I did with my house in Virlet, they won’t have too much trouble in the future because any seed that tries to take hold will be burnt to a frazzle.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up along where that white protective sheeting has been fitted, they are also pushing on.

You can’t see very well in this photo but there are two guys down there underneath the footboard that you can see, and as I watched, they were busy raking out the old, loose mortar from the joints.

If you look lower down underneath where they are working, you can see that they have already repointed to a fair height, so they don’t seem to be hanging around, which makes a change these days.

beach diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021My route carried on around the path underneath the walls and round to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

The other day I mentioned that the beach cabins had been taken away for the winter. The Plat Gousset is looking quite bare without them.

Another thing that I mentioned was the diving platform. As you can see, the platform has also been taken away for the winter and there is just the concrete pillar left.

The swimming pool is looking quite lonely as well. No customers, and no water either. This is all a sign that Autumn has arrived, whether we like it or not, and even though it’s still extremely warm for the time of year.

classe decouverte plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Another sign that the tourist season is over is that the Classe Découverte season has started.

During the summer, the youth hostel in the town is full up with young tourists but once they have all gone, it’s the turn of the schools and their Discovery Classes to take over. That’s a big thing in France, with kids from the cities going into rural areas and kids from rural areas coming to the seaside.

Mind you, what they are going to discover at the Plat Gousset is anyone’s guess.

At the viewpoint I staggered off down the steps to the Place Marechal Foch and then crawled wearily through town and up the hill to the physiotherapist. Nothing happening at the building that we saw on Wednesday, and when something does, I’ll post a photo.

The physiotherapist put me through my paces on the tilting platform thing that he has, and I had to abandon one of the exercises, not because of my knee but because my shoulder was hurting. I’m having problems everywhere by the looks of things.

Mind you, I managed to add a few more seconds to my best on the cross trainer.

random road signs parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back home I came past the old railway line and down the steps to the Parc du Val Es Fleurs.

And we can see that just as last time, the local kids have been up to no good with the road signs again.

As I mentioned the other week, part of the park’s car park has been transformed into a store for the equipment that they are using for the building of this new road, that we’ll see in a minute.

But the compound isn’t all that secure while they are down the road working, so anything can happen. And, of course, we were all kids once too – something that many adults forget.

resurfacing parc docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So where was I? Ohh yes, walking down by the side of the old railway line towards town.

They have now stated to dig up this little park just here in order to resurface it. I

‘m not sure what the park is called but the school at the side is the Ecole des Docteurs Lanos, whoever the Docteurs Lanos where when they were at home, if they ever were, and there’s a Park somewhere in the town called the Parc des Docteurs Lanos so I imagine that this could well be it.

But it seems that nothing is sacred when they are on a mission.

grader compacter rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Now doesn’t this here in the Rue du Boscq bring back many happy memories?

Eleven years ago I was the driver of one of the very first vehicles to drive over the new TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we had endles encounters with graders as we made our way through the mountains.

There weren’t so many compacters though, which was surprising, so our drive was rather adventurous to say the least, but seeing a grader and a compacter here reminded me of old times.

digger moving rocks rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further on, there was a large digger having fun with a pile of rocks.

He was dragging them around presumably to put them into position for the compacter to come and compress them into the soil ready for a layer of smaller rocks to be laid on top.

Ohh yes, I can build you a Roman Road any time you like. That course that I studied on Historical Technology was one of the most fascinating courses I have ever studied.

Nothing much else was happening in the town centre so I made my weary way up the hill towards home.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the climb up the Rue des Juifs I stopped more times that I care to remember. This is really getting me down, this health issue.

At the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay in the port we have another pile of freight deposited down there by the crane. One of the Jersey freighters must be on her way.

But it won’t be Normandy Trader, I’ll tell you that. She’s up on blocks in the chantier naval in St Malo having a good clean, a wire-brushing and a new coat of paint to maker herself look pretty.

marquee rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours coming down so I was glad to sit down and rest for a while.

We were sitting on the wall talking, right by where they are erecting the marquees. And I can tell you what they are for as well now.

The season for the Coquilles St Jacques starts next week, and preliminary trials suggests that this is going to be one of the best seasons in modern times.

Consequently, they are going to hold a fête, a buffet and so on this weekend to celebrate what they are hoping to be an excellent season, and there will be shellfish all round for everyone, with a buvette of course. You can’t have a festival in France without there being a buvette involved.

And this is why Hera was in the chantier naval the other day. She was being cleaned and tidied because her owners are going to be giving tourists a guided visit.

bouchots donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back home I went to see what was going on down on the beach, seeing as it was round about my usual time.

Plenty of beach to be on of course as the tide is receding rapidly, but surprisingly there was hardly anyone on there. I couldn’t see more than about half-a-dozen people down there this afternoon.

But with the tide being well out, the bouchot farmers were out in force of course, harvesting close to the shore while they wait for the tide to go even further out.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On my way out, I mentioned that the air was quite clear and the views were quite good this afternoon.

The camera that I had with me today was the old NIKON D3000 fitted with the 18-105mm LENS so I’m not going to have the same photos as yesterday.

However, this one of the north-east end of the Ile de Chausey came out really well.

Back here I made myself a cold drink (I’ve finished the bottle of banana concentrate and I’m not going to open another one and leave it standing over winter) and then came back in here.

Something has cropped up just recently that featured on a web page that I wrote quite a few years ago, so I had to review the page, rewrite some of it and edit the rest to bring it up to date. And once you do one, it leads you on to another.

It relinded me of a quote by Fridtjof Nansen that I read in his book In Northern Mists “the more extensive my studies became, the more riddles I perceived – riddle after riddle led to new riddles and this drew me on”

That took me up to teatime. Plenty of mushrooms left so I made a potato and mushroon curry. There’s some left too, so I’ll lengthen it with a small tin of something and finish it off tomorrow.

After lunch I had a listen to the internet radio. It’s the last Friday of the month so I feature a live concert and tonight’s (repeated tomorrow at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK time, 15:00 Toronto/New York time) is one of the best that I have ever attended since the halcyon days of the early-mid 70s.

It took quite a bit of editing and I was keen to hear how it would come out, and I do have to say that it’s one of the finest that I have ever prepared.

It’s repeated TOMORROW at the times that I mentioned, and is podcastable afterwards. It’s well worth a listen.

moonrise eglise notre dame de cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Just before I went to bed I went into the living room to close the window.

And the moon tonight was beautiful. It was rising tonight just above the roofs of the houses in the old medieval walled city and looked rather strange, being well below the spire of the Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

It was obviously one of these essential photography moments so I went and fetched the NIKON D500.

And so right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and as yet, I haven’t fallen asleep. That is some progress, and a good night tonight should help matters even more. I hope.

Friday 10th September 2021 – ON WEDNESDAY …

digging trench laying drains rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021 … we took a little trip to see the roadworks that were going on in the Rue du Boscq.

On the way back home from the physiotherapist I came back that way to see how they were doing and they seem to have made a great amount of progress in just 48 hours.

They’ve already started to dig the trench that looks as if it will be going the length of the street and they are laying the drainage pipes in there already. They certainly seem to be advancing a lot quicker than those workmen did in Leuven when they were doing a similar job that took 18 months and more.

lorry load of gravel on old railway line parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021What had excited my curiosity was that a heavy lorry was going down the track bed of the old railway line towards the road works.

He had a trailer that was quite heavily loaded with gravel, and so that gave me some kind of indication that the work was progressing rapidly. They wouldn’t be bringing in the gravel to leave lying around for 12 months or so.

And it was interesting to see that the old track bed was being put to good use as well, even if it won’t ever be a railway line as well. A sign of the times, maybe?

notification of works rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Something else that has appeared since we were here on Wednesday is a noticeboard at the town end of the work setting out the plans.

So we are going to have a cycle path, some car parking, piles of trees (at last), a real footpath and 2 viewpoints, presumably up on top in the Avenue de la Gare where one may look down on the scene.

There don’t seem to be any plans for a lift though to take you up to the station instead of having to negotiate these awful steps.

It’s going to cost pretty much €2,000,000 and I hope that they have their money’s worth out of it.

having fun with signs parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Talking of “these awful steps”, these are the ones that I mean.

Trying to walk up here with a suitcase in the pitch-black in the middle of winter is a nightmare. Since I tried it once like that, I’ve been going up the Rue Couraye instead.

There was a pile of builders’ material that had been dropped here and it looks as if someone has been having a great amount of fun playing around with the road signs. Still, it keeps them out of mischief.

By the looks of things, I didn’t get into much of a way of mischief during the night. There was nothing whatever recorded on the dictaphone. I didn’t sleep right through though – I had a miserable, uncomfortable night tossing and turning in bed for much of it. I was exhausted when the alarm went off.

home made bread fruit bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021After the medication there was the bread-making to be done.

There was no ordinary bread left, and only a very small amount of fruit bread so I decided to make both lots seeing as I had the oven on.

Having had one or two failures with my fruit bread just recently through having tried a new method, I decided on a kind-of hybrid method and that actually looks quite a nice loaf.

After I’ve tried some tomorrow, I’ll tell you what it’s like but I do know that the ordinary loaf is excellent.

Having made the dough I went to have a shower to make myself smell nice and it was just as well that I did because the nurse came earlier than expected.

He had all kinds of trouble trying to find a vein from which to take the blood, but not half as much trouble as some of those butchers in Montlucon did.

Once he had departed I could have my coffee and the last of the old fruit bread, and then make a start. First task was to deal with the dictaphone arrears and now every one of those has been transcribed. Another good job done.

The next task was to deal with an outstanding h=journal entry from THE END OF AUGUST. by the end of the day that was finished and as from tomorrow I can turn my attention back to the 2019 photos and the trip to the Ile de Chausey.

As for updating the journal with the details of the night’s travels for the three weeks or so that I let things lapse, I’ll just do a couple a day.

There were the usual breaks, one for lunch and another one to go to see the physiotherapist.

ferry to ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way out, I went via the old medieval walls.

And from the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I could see way out to sea and there was something of a reasonable size heading out towards the Ile de Chausey.

Without any doubt at all, it was one of the ferries going that way so I photographed it in the hope that back here later I could see who it was.

It wasn’t easy, but I could see that she had no step in the stern and had a more angular that streamlined shape so I think that she may well be the elder of the two Joly France boats.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One of the features that seems to run through these pages is the sad state of the medieval walls.

The area round by the Place du Marché aux Chevaux was closed off about a year or so ago and when I was round this way a couple of months ago they had made a start on repairing them.

Just recently however, they seem to have made rapid progress and while the actual repointing hasn’t progessed that much on the outisde of the walls, we now have a huge scaffolding that is in the course of being erected just there.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021What caught my eye were the huge water tanks that are on the scaffolding there.

With 1,000 litres of water in each of them, each one will weigh a metric tonne. So judging by the way that the scaffolding is being erecting, it looks as if they are going to be erecting a “flying scaffolding” over the walls and the water tanks are being used as a counterweight.

This is going to become quite interesting and one of these days at low tide, I’ll go down onto the beach and have a good look from underneath at what they are doing.

female underwater swimmer rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was looking around at the scaffolding I was also having a look around on the beach as well.

Emerging from the water down there just like Ursula Andress in DR NO was another one of these underwater swimmers, complete with snorkel and flippers.

Whatever it is that they are doing, I still haven’t managed to find out. It can’t be anything special because where they are swimming is uncovered at low tide. It must be some kind of training exercise, that’s all that I can think of.

beach swimming pool diving platform promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A view that we haven’t seen properly, with not having come this way for a while, is the view down to the Plat Gousset.

First thing that I noticed was that it it still seems to be the summer season as far as the local Council is concerned. The beach huts are still there and the diving platform is still on its pillar.

These are all removed into storage at the end of the season. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen the power in the storms that crash down there during the winter. The storms will make a considerable mess of those cabins if they were to remain there during the winter.

There are some steps at the end of the path that go down to the Place Marechal Foch. I went down that way and headed off through the town centre.

delivery van unloading rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Another thing that regular readers of thids rubbish will recall is that bad parking is another regular feature of these pages.

Delivery vans these days are everywhere these days and they park anywhere they like. But if you have a look at this photo very carefully, you’ll see that there’s an empty parking space just to his left,.

Rather than waste 10 seconds of his own by manoeuvring into it, he proceeds to waste about 5 minutes of the time of 20 other motorists stuck in the queue behind him.

This is the kind of thing that brings these delivery drivers into disrepute, and it’s hardly any surprise that people have such a low opinion of them.

At the physiotherapist’s, he put me through my paces on his tilting platform. He gave me a pile of new exercises to do, with the result that just about every joint in my body, except the right knee, which is why I’d gone there for treatment in the first place.

flowers dying avenue de la gare Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, I went down the Avenue de la Gare to look at those flowers that we saw last week.

Whatever was happening to them has obviously happened very quickly because most of the flowers seem to have died in that very short space of time.

And there were no more than a handful of butterflies compared to the other day.

Down the steps I went to the Parc du val es Fleurs to check on the roadworks, and then went to the Carrefour for some fruit, seeing as I won’t be going shopping tomorrow.

empty quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It’s amazing the difference that a couple of kilos of fruit make. It was quite a struggle to climb back up the Rue des Juifs

At the viewpoint overlooking the harbour I could see that the pile of freight that had been visible on the quayside yesterday afternoon has now disappeared.

Checking the comings and goings in he port on the radar later, I could see that Normandy Trader arrived in port at 09:10 and left again at 11:13. That is what I call a quick turn-round. I can’t keep up with all if this.

trawler aground in naabsa position port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Yet another subject that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that of fishing vessels which, instead of going into the inner harbour, are left outside in the outer tidal harbour to simply settle down in the silt.

The technical name for this is NAABSA, i.e. Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground, and it seems to be happening more and more frequently these days. We’ve seen this vessel a couple of times now moored up against the sea wall near the entrance to the harbour.

When I first came to live here we would only very seldomly see one, but these days it seems to be a couple of times a week. There must be something going on about the mooring in the inner harbour and I wish that I knew what it was.

trawler saint andrews catherine philippe l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There’s plenty going on over at the chantier naval today though.

By the looks of things, there has been a big clear-out of ships that were in there. Of the seven that we have seen over the lst couple of weeks, we now seem to be down to just four.

The ones that remain, by the looks of things, from left to right, are Saint Andrews, the unidentified one, Catherine Philippe and L’Omerta. Back into the water today have gone Yann Frederic, Peccavi and Massabielle.

The next question that needs to be asked is “who is going to come in to take their place?”. There’s a very high turnover of boats in there these days and those places won’t be remaining empty for long.

tank cleaner porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021from the viewpoint over the harbour I headed off for home.

We have another lorry parked up by the Porte St Jean that can’t fit under the arch. It’s not a question of a trans-shipment today. That’s a tank cleaner or drain unblocker.

Someone must have a problem with the drains and so there’s about half a mile of pipework running into the old town as the driver tries to blast it away. There’s no end of inconvenience that you encounter when you are living within the walls.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Before I went home, I went to have a good look down on the beach as usual.

The tide is well out but there weren’t too many people down there. It was rather cool and windy compared to how it has been and that might explain it.

There did seem to be a few people in the water too, although I don’t know why because it’s not really swimming weather. Anyway, I left them to it and came back here for my banana smoothie and a little rest.

As it happened, it was more than a little rest too. Probably about an hour’s deep sleep, in fact. And it’s no surprise because I’d worked hard at the physiotherapist’s and then i’d had the long walk home up the hill.

Tea was a burger on a bap with a baked potato and veg. No pudding still, but it doesn’t seem to be working because not only did I put that 100 grammes back on, I added another 100 grammes to it as well.

But right now i’m off to bed. I have visitors tomorrow morning and I want to be on form.

Monday 31st May 2021 – HERE I ALL AM …

… not exactly sitting in a rainbow, but sitting on my seat in the office in the comfort and security of my own home. And am I glad to be back after all of this?

Blasted out of bed at 05:00 by the alarm, I’d made a coffee, filled the flask, made my butties, packed my bags and cleaned the digs by 05:30 and I was ready to roll. But it was far too early because I didn’t want to loiter about on the draughty Brussels Midi station so I relaxed for a while

At about 05:55 I hit the streets and walked off down to the station. And I’m not used to it being so bright so early.

martelarenplein gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will remember the Martelarenplein – the Martyr’s Square – just outside the railway station.

A lot has been said, mainly by me, of the pedestrian pace at which Belgian (and French) builders seem to work. Much of that is reflected in what’s going on here. It’s been under repair for a good couple of years and by the looks of things they are still a long way from finishing it.

Surprisingly I was on the station for just after 06:10 which meant that I had the choice of a couple of trains that were running earlier than the one that I intended to catch, and that’s always good news.

1904 class 18 electric sncb locomotive gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric HallThe train that I caught was the 06:19 to Oostende and that is my favourite choice of train if I’m ever allowed to choose.

It’s a rake of double-deck coaches pulled by one of the top-line electric locomotives of the SNCB stable, and I’m not disappointed. Despite its number, this is one of the Class 18 locomotives built by Siemens between 2009 and 2011. There are 120 of these locomotives in total and they have displaced almost every other type of electric locomotive from front-line duties, although we’ve ridden on a few others just recently.

There was a lady ticket inspector and she seemed to be quite satisfied that I’d correctly installed the SNCB app on my mobile phone and displayed the ticket correctly. I’m making great strides with this technology stuff, aren’t I?

The train pulled into Bruxelles Midi bang on time and to my surprise my train was actually indicated on the departures board. So I went up to the platform and there was a TGV already there. Not mine though. This one was going to Marseilles. Mine would be a-cumen in once this one had cleared off, so an attendant told me.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4539 gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric HallShe wasn’t wrong either. About 10 minutes later our train did indeed pull in.

It’s one of the TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt trainsets, the PBA (Paris Brussels Amsterdam) sets that we have occasionally, and the fact that it’s pulled up so far down the platform seems to suggest that there will be a train set coming from Amsterdam that will be coupled up at the back.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw them coupling up on another occasion that we were here just recently.

The train was actually quite empty and we all had plenty of room to spread out which was nice. I could get on with some work. And once more, the electronic ticket on the SNCF app that I presented to the inspector passed muster too.

And to my surprise, I passed muster at the Paris Gare du Nord Railway station as well. The gendarmette who inspected my Covid declaration from the hospital and my carte de sejour and waved me through without comment can detain me for further questioning any time she likes.

The metro was crowded – it seems as if despite the President’s entreaties, France has gone back to work. The casualty figures show me that this virus is very far from being beaten here and it’s all going to end in tears.

84556 gec alstom regiolis bb7200 507219 nez casse gare montparnasse paris france Eric HallAt the Gare Montparnasse what I reckoned would be my train was already in. It was the only Normandy train in sight.

Parked next to it is one of the BB7200 class of electric locomotives, the nez cassés or “broken noses” of the SNCF railway system. These, and their half-brothers used to be the mainstays of the high-speed long-distance SNCF railway network but now they are used for less glamorous purposes since the arrival of the TGVs.

It’s a long walk from the metro station to the railway station (they moved the railway station so that they could build the Tour Montparnasse on its site) and so I was exhausted. But I found some more seats that I hadn’t noticed before and one of them was vacant so I could sit in peace.

It is indeed my train – the back half of it in fact because it’s 2 trainsets coupled together. And I’m sitting in the rear trainset. The train is busy but I could still have a pair of seats all to myself which pleased me greatly.

And here’s a surprising thing. The ticket collector came up to me and instead of asking to see my ticket he asked “what’s your date of birth?”. So I replied and he said “bon voyage, Monsieur Hall”. This SNCF app clearly does more than it lets on that it does.

In the past that kind of thing would have bothered me greatly but everyone’s privacy has long since been eroded away. 30 years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of writing like I do but the authorities know where I am and what I’m doing no matter how hard I try to disguise it

84559 gec alstom regiolis Bombardier B82790 gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe pulled into the railway station bang on time too and found ourselves parked up next to one of the Bombardier trainsets that works the Caen-Rennes line. At least I could photograph the front trainset from here

It had been a pleasant journey and to my surprise, despite the 05:00 start I’d only dozed off for about 10 minutes. But I’d only had some hot coffee, not anything cool to drink, with me and so having set out at that time, I now had a thirst that you could photograph.

That was what I would call rather bad planning, but seriously, you’ve no idea how much stuff I usually have to bring back and I simply couldn’t carry any more. I had quite a job carrying this lot.

Going down the steps to the Parc de Val es Fleurs was okay but even on the flat I was struggling. I wasn’t looking forward to the hill up to my place. But I cheered up watching a grockle try to park his motor home in a completely empty car park. I really don’t understand some of these people.

water leak rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the foot of the Rue des Juifs there were temporary traffic lights and water all over the place. It looks as if there has been a burst pipe.

But surprisingly, despite the emergency and the big hole and the traffic lights and the vans, there wasn’t a single workmen (and not a married one either) about anywhere. It was about 14:15 so they all should be back at work after lunch.

The hill up the Rue de Juifs was not something to which I was looking forward. It’s pretty steep at the best of times and here I was, loaded up, not in the best of health, and I’d had an emergency operation a week or so ago and the stitches were still in.

But I shan’t get home just standing here looking at it. There’s no other solution but to press on.

people playing bowls bar ephemere place pleville pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s most unlike me, I know, but I had to make several stops on the way up to catch my breath.

One of these stops was looking over to the Place Pelley where they usually play boules. There’s quite a crowd down there right now, presumably also taking advantage of the bar ephemere, the temporary bar in the shipping container that comes here in the summer and which we saw them unpacking a couple of weeks ago.

If I had had any sense I’d have come home that way and stopped off for a cold drink but I was in a hurry to go home. I took a deep breath, girded up my loins and continued on my weary way back homeward.

builders compound place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd what’s going on here then?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen over the past few weeks a corner of the car park of one of the other building in the Place d’Armes used as a builders compound but they all cleared off just before I came away and left the place empty.

But it seems that there is some more work going on somewhere presumably in the old walled city and they have set up the compound again. I see that I shall have to go for a walk out that way one of these days and have a good look to see what’s going on, and where.

You’ve no idea the size of the sigh of relief that I emitted when I sat down in my chair in the office, back home. It’s been a long hard slog in the 12 days since I was last here and I don’t want to have to go through all of that again. I transferred the files over and merged everything in – that’s the limit of the work that I did.

And despite the short night, I did actually manage to go off on a couple of nocturnal rambles here and there. And more than just a few too. I’m surprised that I kept going for as long as I did today.

First off was about a boy who lived just up the street from me when I was a kid. Last night he got divorced. I’d forgotten to tell everyone on the day but about a day or so later I remembered it. Anyway we were sitting around the table at lunch ansd he came along with his ex-wife and sat down at our usual table. A couple of other people who were usually there picked up their knives and forks to go away and he sent some kind of scathing comment after them. Of course I didn’t say anything at all. He looked at me and started talking to me about how well I knew Sandbach. I said “yes, I knew it quite well”. He asked “enough to take me somewhere tonight?”. I replied “yes”. So he mentioned a street called Volunteer Avenue (that’s in Nantwich by the way, not in Sandbach). “Do you know where that is?”. I said “yes” so he added “you can take me there and there’s a lot of money in it for you” – something to do with jewellery. He said “we have to leave at 04:00”. That was a bit inconvenient for me but I’d go because I don’t believe this story about money than anyone else. So I leased some sort of dummy office and fitted some kind of dummy recorder because I expected some kind of strange visit. While I was out fetching a coffee and people were talking to me a girl who I’d known and I knew her very well too (and I wish I’d remembered who she was) just walked up to my office as if she was going in. I thought “what on earth is happening here?”. She saw me so I said “what are you doing here?”. She replied “I’ve come to see if such-and-such an office is convenient for me and my boss”. “Really?3 I asked. “Why don’t you go in and have a look?”. “I can’t” she replied. “I don’t have the keys. It says that it’s locked for painting”. So I asked “why did you come here if it was locked for painting?”. She stammered some kind of silly answer at that point and I thought “yes, this is all just so crazy”.

Next up, I was in an office somewhere. I was overhearing a conversation from another desk about a woman who was trying to arrange some kind of exchange visit with a Government department in Germany about tourism. My ears pricked up and I said that I would be extremely interested in that. This woman looked at me with a puzzled look on her face. She had a little chat with me while she was having a chat with this other person. When she’d hung up on this other person she said ‘here’s my number” and it began with 5 zeroes, not 0049 as you would expect, and then a couple of other numbers “and I’m on extension 37 at the moment but this afternoon I’ll be on extension 38. Why don’t you give me a ring?”. So I asked her name and said “yes, OK”. I don’t think that my employers would agree to it but it was still an interesting thing to overhear.

Later on we were a group of impresarios organising musicians and dancers and all that sort of thing for different concerts all over the place. Roxanne was there and I told her a joke about Aunt Mary – Aunt Mary had died and it was actually quite funny but the answer to this was silence, which was one thing that no-one would ever have got. Roxanne delighted in telling it to everyone. We were trying to get this act together with these 3 or 4 dancers and so on. Roxanne told this joke to TOTGA but she didn’t understand it. There was something about ballet in it and I surprised TOTGA and Roxanne by actually being able to do these ballet steps without even thinking about it

Tea was burger and pasta followed by chocolate sponge (to my surprise it’s sill good) and coconut soya dessert.

And now having written my notes, I’m off to bed. And quite right too. I’m absolutely whacked. Tomorrow is Welsh lesson and then I have to look at these hospital appointments and condense the timescale because I have no intention of being away for another 12 days, that’s for sure. I can’t keep on going like this.

Saturday 27th March 2021 – THAT WAS PROBABLY …

… the most uneventful journey that I have ever had since I’ve been going back and to to Leuven.

It might have been all so different though. It’s a good job that I checked the telephone before I went to bed because I found that I had forgotten to set the alarms for this morning. And there would be very little chance of me awakening from the dead at 05:00.

So with the alarms switched on and me fully dressed and not having had one of these new knock-out pill things that they have prescribed for me, I went to bed and slept right through, just awakening once and not having had an attack of cramp either.

As for whether there is anything on the dictaphone, you’ll have to wait for another day to find out about that.

When the alarm went off at 05:00 I leapt out of bed with alacrity and by 05:30 I’d packed, made my sandwiches, washed up, tidied up, handed back my keys and was halfway down the road to the railway station.

multiple unit am96 automotrice 569 gare de leuven railway station belgium Eric HallBang on 06:14 my train pulled into the station.

It’s one of the AM96 class of multiple units running the train to one of the smaller towns on the Belgian “Costa Stella”. We’ve travelled on quite a few of these and I happen to quite like them. They are quite clean, tidy and comfortable considering that they are over 20 years old now.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall, because I’ve said it before … “and you’ll say it again” – ed … when two of these sets are coupled together, the two driving cabs that are next to each other can pivot out of the way so that passengers can walk from one set to the next

Despite having to go round by the airport, we pulled up in the Gare du Midi with plenty of time to spare.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4523 gare du midi railway station brussels belgium Eric HallThe train for the next part of my journey – the trip to Lille Europe – was already in the station.

It’s one of the Reseau 38000 tri-volt units on which we’ve travelled quite regularly. The train is the 07:17 to Strasbourg that goes via Lille, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and then cross country.

Although the doors were open, there was a sign saying “do not embark” but after waiting around for 10 minutes freezing we all had a minor revolt and boarded the train regardless. It set off on time and roared off down the line towards Lille Europe Railway station where it arrived on time.

Then I had my 10-minute walk across the city to the Lille Flandres railway station. My leg was still giving me cause for concern but it was certainly better than it was on the way out after my fall. I made it quite comfortably with plenty of time to spare.

TGV Reseau Duplex 218 gare de lille flandres France Eric HallAt Lille-Flandres, my train was already in at the platform. It’s another one of the TGV Reseau Duplex sets that work the route from Paris to Lille.

My seat is, as usual, upstairs on the top deck and, just like the previous train, there was plenty of room to spread out, due to the low numbers of passengers riding right now with the Covid restrictions.

On the way into Paris I ended up having a little doze and awoke with a start as we were creeping into the suburbs. Bang on time yet again. I headed off for the metro and just as I set foot on the platform a train pulled in so I didn’t have to wait at all for my TRAVERSEE DE PARIS, with or without Bourvil to carry my suitcase.

84574 gec alstom regiolis gare montparnasse paris France Eric HallAt the Gare Montparnasse I went up the stairs down which I had fallen the other day, and say a train that looked like mine sitting at the platform.

It wasn’t indicated though so we had to wait around for about an hour or so. That’s the annoying thing about Paris main-line railway stations though. They are huge, draughty and there is nowhere for anyone to sit. I had to stand up leaning against a notice board, watching the police interrogate foreigners and the like and check their papers.

With about 20 minutes to go before our train was due to depart, the platform number came up on the station display board and e could make our way to the train. And it was indeed the train that I had seen at the platform.

84561 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was a 12-car train made of two 6-car units and quite naturally I was in the second unit right down the far end.

Once we set off I spent some time working on the photos from my trip in 2019. I’m now on the Deadwood Trail in South Dakota, waiting for the Deadwood Stage to be heading on over the hills, where the Indian arrows are thicker than porcupine quills. I covered a darn sight more than 23 miles on that day.

To my surprise we pulled into Granville 2 minutes early. I gathered up my stuff and headed off down the steps to the Parc de Val es Fleurs into town.

On the way past, I called into Super U to pick up some mushrooms for my pizza tomorrow and then headed for home where I collapsed into a chair.

The football came on later – Caernarfon Town v Cardiff Metro. Caernarfon aren’t a particularly skilful team but they are an efficient team. Cardiff Metro, technically pretty good as you might expect, lack the skill to go with it and are extremely lightweight up front.

The Met’s central defenders are skilful and brave but they are probably the slowest, most ponderous pair that I have ever seen. Caernarfon won the match 3-2, a score that flattered the Met, having taken advantage of the Met’s central defenders by catching them too far upfield on two occasions and beating them to a couple of long balls over the top.

Mind you, Noah Edwards’ long-ball pass for the first goal is about as good as you’ll ever get at this level of football. It was an absolutely inch-perfect curving long-ball pass with the outside of the right foot. Just look at AT ABOUT 25 MINUTES INTO THE VIDEO (ABOUT 11 MINUTES OF THE GAME) and you’ll see what I mean.

For a couple of hours I did some tidying up on the computer and then went for tea. A burger that I had brought back from Leuven with a couple of the mountain of potatoes that are were still waiting for me here.

Now that that’s done, I’m off to bed. No alarm in the morning so I’m hoping for a good lie-in. I reckon that I need it after my day. Not that I had a stressful journey back. There won’t be another one as calm as that.

Saturday 14th March 2020 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… day this has been for me. Easily one of the worst that I have ever had in recent times.

It started so well too.

Once more I managed (just about) to beat the third alarm call and that’s always good news.

After the medication (more of my delicious orange and ginger syrup) I had a look at the dictaphone to see where i’d been during the night. And hadn’t I gone some distance?

We were in a wagon train or something like that heading to the far west of the USA or somewhere. At a certain moment we came across some kind of supermarket or café, place like that, or shop that was empty. We were having a good look round and there were all kinds of things, cauliflower seeds, that kind of thing, packets all over the floor and ripped open. But there was a lot of food left on the shelves so we started to have a look through the food on the shelves and in the cold store and fridge to see what we could take with us. Someone talked about “yes, we could go to the pub and have chips and a pint there”. I said “oh no. I haven’t been to the pub 5 times in the last 10 years I reckon. I’m going to see what I can make out of all of this”. I was busy wandering around trying to see what there was there in this shop place that I could take with me. My brother and one of my sisters were there too but I’m nor sure what was going on with them. But it was round about there that I woke up. There was beer and all kinds of things in this place.
Having gone back to sleep, a little later I found myself back in the same dream again. The sister was there and she had her handbag but it had holes in it, as if it had a pattern punched through the leather. Of course it might look pretty but I thought “what use is that in a rainstorm?”. I was making a pizza and I had my brother there and I was showing him how to make it. I had to make some room on the worktop in order to have room to make a pizza, just like in my house. You have to unwrap the pastry and tease it out with your fingers to the correct shape, all that kind of thing before you can use it and how carefully you have to put it in the pizza tray.
And so later again, this dream continued. There were four of us by now – me, someone else, a young girl who might have been Percy Penguin and my brother. We were arrested for something or other and marched off. I had my guitar and a pile of other stuff as well. Percy Penguin picked up my guitar and my stuff and walked off with it. We were all ushered away somewhere and for some unknown reason I came back – there might only have been three of us and the fourth person had been taken away previously. She came back and saw me and was trying to find out what was happening. I was trying my best to explain it to her without giving away too much of the game. These people came back to start the interrogation of me. They hadn’t really got very far because I wasn’t sure what they wanted and I don’t think that they were sure what they were wanting. It came to tidying up the room, like in a hotel where you tidy away the breakfast. You cover everything up, put labels on it, stuff goes of the fridge into the main room down to the fridge at the back which is better. One of the guys said something like “can you deal with all of this and all of that” which meant throwing away the orange peel and orange pith and so on. There were some maraschino cherries lying around. I asked “what do you want to do with those?”. One of the guards said “you don’t need to do anything with those because there’s someone whom we took down earlier who’s dealing with all of those”. he meant Percy Penguin who was sitting there eating a lot of them. Anyway I awoke again at that point.
There was also something about Percy Penguin doing a modelling job. We finally caught up with her but I can’t remember what happened then but I had a really bad attack of cramp, awoke yet again and that was my lot.

There was even more to it than this but as you are probably eating your tea right now I’ll spare you all the gory details.

After breakfast I made a start on splitting a couple of digital tracks. The first two were straightforward and it wasn’t long before I was having my shower and preparing for the road.

The streets were empty today, except for by the drive-in collection point for LeClerc. The queue was right down the street as people chose to suffocate themselves in motor vehicle pollution rather than to risk the shops.

As a result, NOZ was empty. There were just three customers in there and that’s nothing for a Saturday morning. I bought a small baking tray, some small pie moulds a few other bits and pieces of no great importance, some more of that cranberry-and-rosemary alcohol-free beer and another pot of that Alpro salted caramel vegan ice-cream that is now back in stock.

They had some of the expensive soya burgers too with a short sell-by date at about two-thirds price so I bought a couple of packets. I can always use those.

Although there were fewer cars on the car park at LeClerc, the place wasn’t noticeably more quiet. Still the usual crowds.

My shopping there today came to very little because I don’t need much. In fact, a large proportion of the bill went on a large pot of thyme. I’ve been wondering for ages what has been the missing ingredient in my cooking and it clicked with me the other day.

For some reason, when I came back, I couldn’t find the energy to put anything away. It was an effort to put away the ice-cream before it melted.

But I didn’t get to rest for long. Rosemary rang up for a chat and we were on the line chatting until almost lunchtime.

After lunch I attacked another couple of digital sound files and then, a terrible thing happened. I crashed out completely, absolutely and definitively. It was just like a couple of years ago when I was totally devastated.

Eventually I awoke and it took me a good 15 minutes to find my bearings. I felt really dreadful too – worse than I have felt for quite a while.

charles marie chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNevertheless, you can’t keep a good man down. Nor me either. I staggered out for my afternoon walk.

My route this afternoon took me the long way round the headland and down the old path into town past the Chantier navale where there were hordes of people clambering all over Charles-Marie doing all kinds of things to it.

For my part, the tide was out so I headed down to the harbour and crossed over to the other side via the path on top of the harbour gates.

lys noir port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd here’s a boat that we haven’t seen for a while.

Built in 1914 and considerably overhauled in the 1990s, Lys Noir has been up for sale for quite a considerable time and at an asking price of €120,000, I’m hardly surprised.

But word on the streets is that she now has a new owner, and it looks as if they are having a little celebration aboard the vessel.

So we should be seeing her out and about this summer.

Ecole Primaire Docteurs Lanos allee des cygnes granville manche normandy france eric hallA merry and mazy way through the town eventually brought me to the Parc de Val es Fleurs. There wasn’t an awful lot going on there either.

However, I did find a new footpath that I hadn’t noticed before. This one brought me out round the back of the Ecole Primaire Docteurs Lanos – the Doctors Lanos Primary School, whoever the Doctors Lanos were when they were at home, if they ever were.

So I had a little look around, but there was nothing of any importance going on. Just a father and son playing football and the boy hit the post with three consecutive shots, much to the amusement of his father and Yours Truly.

allee des cygnes chemin des moulins granville manche normandy france eric hallThe footpath is called the Allee des Cygnes – the Avenue of the Swans – and it’s a continuation of the Chemin des Moulins.

Why it’s so called is that apparently there’s a river flowing through here that has now been culverted over. It’s supposed to discharge into the sea somewhere, so I wonder if that’s what we saw the other day that I thought was a drain outlet.

But anyway, the path brought me round the back of the town centre and out by the Casino. And so I decided to come on home. It had been a long walk.

Back here, I tidied up the music. It’s somewhat all over the place and it’s very confusing when I’m trying to arrange some radio programmes. By the looks of things, the last time that I sorted it properly was back in 2006.

But now it’s divided into 5 groups of 55 groups or solo musicians each, and that’s about 750 albums that have been digitalised to date. There are probably that many again that remain to be done.

While I was at it, I updated THE PLAYLIST FOR THE RADIO PROGRAMMES. At least, even if I don’t feel like it, I ought to be doing something or other.

Later on, I sorted through the burgers that I have in stock. There were some that were a couple of months past their sell-by date so I attacked one of those with some pasta and vegetables. I’ll gradually work my way through those as I go along.

For pudding, I had the last slice of that delicious apple pie with some soya coconut dessert stuff that I bought. Tomorrow, it’s pizza of course so with the oven on, I’ll make a rice pudding in that new casserole dish that I bought a couple of weeks ago.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a rice pudding and I do happen to like them

lighthouse beam college malraux place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd so for my evening walk, even though I didn’t feel much like it.

The NIKON 1 J5 and the f1.8 18.5mm lens came with me, and I managed a rather iffy shot of the College Malraux with the lighthouse beam hovering over it.

Nothing would stop me attempting my two runs and not only did I manage them, I even pushed on beyond my boundaries, making the top of the first ramp on my second track across the Square Maurice Marland. I can’t be as ill as I was thinking.

So now I intend to have an early night, and sleep until I wake up. I’m off to Leuven, trains and Government legislation permitting, on Wednesday and I really have to pull myself together if I’m to sort all of this out.

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

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

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

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

So I went off and had my medication.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll get my coat.

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

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

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

There have been much worse shots than this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday 27th January 2020 – IT WAS HARD THIS MORNING …

… to get out of bed at 05:30 but I managed it – only just.

And by the time the third alarm went off at 05:45 I was already on my way down the road having rinsed my empty bottles, packed my rucksack and put the key to my room in the key disposal box.

sncb am 80 multiple unit gare du midi brussels belgium eric hallWhen the first of the normal series of alarms went off at 06:00 I was sitting in a train at the station in Leuven.

It’s an elderly AM80 electric multiple-unit. Covered in graffiti and not very clean at all. But the fact is that it’s here, it’s leaving at 06:04 and it’s travelling non-stop into Brussels.

That’s good enough for me.

At the Gare du Midi I went into the Carrefour, bought myself some raisin bread for breakfast and then went to sit down to wait until my train is called.

sncf tgv reseau 38000 gare du midi brussels belgium eric hallWith half an hour to go before departure, I took the initiative and went myself to look for the train on the off-chance that it might be ready.

And sure enough, here it is sitting on the platform ready to go. It’s one of the “Reseau 38000” PBA (Paris Bruxelles Amsterdam) trainsets built for the start of thatservice in 1996.

To my surprise the door was open and I was able to go in and find my seat – a good 25 minutes to go before departure.

A ticket inspector came by and I thought that he was going to heave me out but he simply checked my ticket and that was that.

As for the journey itself, I have no idea at all about it because I slept for most of the route. This early start caught me up good and proper.

We arrived about 10 minutes late but that didn’t inconvenience me at all. The Metro was quite rapid even though it was crowded and I had to stand all the way, and I arrived at Montparnasse a good hour before my train was due to leave.

With the new timetable, it now arrives and departs from a platform in the main station complex rather than the Vaugirard annexe. In some ways that’s a good thing because it saves me a 10-minute walk, but in other ways it’s not so good.

That’s because Montparnasse is a huge, windswept desolate, cold station whereas the Vaugirard annexe had a nice draught-free glass waiting room where it’s reasonably comfortable to sit.

But hunting around, like you do … “like YOU do” – ed … I found an ideal hidey-hole where I could even see an electronic departure board.

With 15 minutes to go, my train still hadn’t been posted so i went to look for it. And I found it sitting at one of the platforms. Meantime, the PA announcer was telling us that “the departure details are currently unavailable” – which was the craziest thing that I’ve ever heard seeing as at the time she was making the announcement I was actually looking at it.

GEC Alstom Regiolis gare de granville railway station manche normandy france eric hallEventually we were called to the train – exactly where I said it was – and we could board it.

For part of the way, as far as L’Aigle, I had a very charming young female companion but after she left, I dozed off and there I stayed, fast asleep again, almost until we reached Granville.

Bang on time into the station we were, although it took me a few minutes to get my things together. And then I headed off into the rain.

circus marquee chapiteau cirque parc de val es fleurs granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago a notice had appeared in the car park of the Parc de Val es Fleurs to the effect that a chapiteau – a marquee – was to be erected there.

Just for a change I came back home that way to see if there was anything exciting happening. And sure enough, we did have our chapiteau in all of its glory, surrounded by a load of caravans.

It’s a circus, apparently, and even as I watched a huge pile of schoolkids filed their way into the chapiteau. They were obviously going to be treated to a matinée performance all to themselves.

joly france spirit of conrad charles marie port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNow here’s a thing!

For the last I don’t know how many weeks we’ve seen Spirit of Conrad up on blocks in the chantier navale. But no longer, by the looks of things.

Here she is, in the inner harbour with Joly France on one side of her and Charles-Marie on the other side. But no Aztec Lady. It must have been her that we saw heading out into the English Channel in the wake of Normandy Trader the other day.

Barry Hay once famously told us “one thing that I gotta tell you man – that it’s good to be back home!” and he’s absolutely right. A year or two ago, for the first time ever in my life I felt the pangs of homesickness after I’d been away from here for a couple of months.

This place really is my home and I was glad to be back here, even if it was absolutely freezing cold with no heating having been on. And to my delight a parcel for which I had been waiting since the end of November has finally arrived, at long last.

Nevertheless I sat down in my nce comfy chair and did nothing until tea time. I’m entitled to a relax after my efforts of today.

For tea, in the absence of any special willpower just now, I grabbed a frozen curry out of the freezer – the left-over leftovers from a few weeks ago. With rice and veg, including sprouts and spinach, it was delicious. And followed down by fruit salad and lemon sorbet.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe rain held off tonight for about 5 minutes after I set out for my evening walk – and then I caught the lot. All of it!

The tide was well-in and there were several trawlers out there heading in to harbour with their catches so I took a pick of one.

The lights of St Malo were looking quite good tonight too but the wind was far too strong for me to take a steady shot with the camera. The tripod wouldn’t have fared any better either – the wind would have had that over in a matter of seconds.

fishing boats chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut round by the chantier navale I could take a photo of the inmates there.

No Spirit of Conrad of course – just a couple of fishing boats and another one right at the back. But the photo is no good because of the wind and rain. I wasn’t going to stay out long.

Getting back into the rhythm, I managed my little run just to keep up with my progress. Whatever else I do, I have to concentrate on getting fit no matter how much it hurts me. I do actually feel much better with having less weight to carry around these days.

So having written up my notes for the day, I’m going off to bed. Tomorrow I’ll be getting back into the routine. There are two and a half radio programmes that need finishing and that’s the priority task for this week.

So I need to be on form.

Sunday 12th January 2020 – THAT GUY HAD …

helicopter place d'armes pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hall… his chopper out again today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that he flew past me at a height of about 10 feet a few weeks ago and I snapped a good shot of him as he went by.

Today, wherever he went to back then, he’s on his way back now. It’s not as good a photo as the last one as the camera wasn’t set up properly and I had to take the shot on the … errr … fly … “ohh well done!” – ed … but nevertheless, here we are.

And here I am too, on a Sunday, having to work. This blasted translation thing, for which I know about half of it at least will go straight into the bin and I’m not very impressed.

And they day got off to a miserable start too. I awoke at about 09:30 but no intention of leaving the bed at that time. 10:45 was when I finally arose and that was the morning effectively done.

First thing was the medication of course, and then I had a look at the dictaphone

I was with a group of soldiers who had been captured in World War II and we’d been herded off into a prison camp by the Germans. It was in a barn, this camp, and had been converted very roughly with wire beds, that kind of thing in it, very dirty, very horrible place to be, no toilets in each of the rooms and so on. The commandant of one of the rooms decided that he was going to escape so he arranged to be sent into solitary confinement, a tiny little box room stuck at the back of a shower from which it was possible for him to get out. Someone smuggled in a key to him that he used as a lever to cut the electricity in order to escape under cover of darkness. We had our meal there that morning and I’d met one or two people and talked to one person, found out that he was in my cell thing so we went back to the cell. Then someone else came into the cell, another British guy, to complain that one of the guards wants the commandant to stop this person singing “he must be a night-time guard” he said. We said “the CO’s not here now – he’s in the shower room so the guy went off into the shower room and started to shout the CO’s name. In the end the CO replied, obviously really upset at being shouted at mid-escape like this. In the end we went back to our cell. It was evening meal time and this guy friend of mine I noticed was already in the queue with his plate. It looked like old roast potatoes and meat of some description so I went to ge tmy plate to join them although I wasn’t very happy about having the meat of course. Yes, there were no toilets in each of the cells and in one all of the ill people were there and a load of people with dysentery and it must have been hell for the people in there, I thought but that was when I awoke, when I was going to get my meal.

Breakfast next, and I tried the surviving glass bowl (the one that didn’t go in the microwave) and that seemed to be much better. I’ll pick up a couple more of those – they are much more like the things that I want for cereal and desserts and so on.

There were a few things that I wanted to do this morning. First thing was to update the Radio Anglais “A La Pointe Du Rock” playlist. After all, you never know. Someone might want to buy an album and that will be an extra €0:16 in my coffers, which will go a long way towards paying for my web-hosting fees, wont it?

Which reminds me – if you appreciate the efforts that I’m making, don’t forget to make your next Amazon purchases via one of the links aside. It doesn’t cost you any extra but I receive a small commission on the sale.

After that, I had a couple of web pages to update. They have suddenly become quite topical, for a variety of reasons, and they were still in the “old” format that I have been changing (or, at least, I was changing until I became overwhelmed with work).

Anyway, they are now in the current format and quite right too.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter that it was almost lunchtime. They will be back at work at the railway station in half an hour so now it’s time to be moving.

The tide was out so the harbour gates were closed so the path over the top was accessible so I went to see what was happening. And there was Joly France, moored in the position where I would expect to see Granville and Victor Hugo.

It looks therefore if they are going to be away for some time.

chausiais joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHowever, something that is not going to be away for quite a while is our new friend Chausiais.

She’s been missing from the port for a few days as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but now she’s back, tied up over there to the other Chausey Ferry, Joly France II. So that’s all the full complement back in place.

It’s still something that’s intriguing me, wondering why she’s here and where she goes.

chantier port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallA little further on along the docks I was interrupted in my thoughts by something else that caught my eye.

There’s a chantier – a work site – being created here with this little compound, a storage skip and some machinery. That’s something else for me to keep an eye on as I go past here – to find out what they are going to be doing.

Off now up the hill to the station. It was open (which was a surprise after yesterday) and it was the same woman with whom I had that big dispute the other day.

However, this time she was quite amenable and it was a shame that she couldn’t have been this pleasant the other day.

No real problem changing my tickets for Monday 27th, except for one issue.
“I can’t put you on the 08:13” she said. “That’s more expensive and you’ll have to pay a supplement. The train at 07:33 however is the same price as yours …”

Now, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that at moments like this, I might begin to lose my self-composure. The terms and conditions laid out in the documentation that I have clearly state “you can change your ticket … at no extra cost”.

However, regular readers of this rubbish will also recall that when I did my famous TRAVERSEE DE PARIS (without Bourvil to carry my suitcase) IT TOOK ME 90 MINUTES on foot in no particular hurry to do the 7 kilometres.

I might be faced with the same issues again – i.e. the lack of Metro, and the earlier train gives me 1 hour 50 minutes to cross the city.

Admittedly I’m not in the same good health that I was back then, but if I put my mind to it, I should be able to make it on foot in time if the trains run to the timetable.

Of course, it might be that the train to Granville is cancelled, but that’s a bridge that I’ll cross when I come to it.

erection d'un chapiteau parc de val es fleurs boulevard louis dior granville manche normandy france eric hallJust for a change I came back a different way – around the office blocks and down the steps at the back to the Parc De Val Es Fleurs.

And it looks as if there is going to be something exciting going on here to in due course. There are “no waiting” signs aound all over the place and a few notices talking about the “erection of a chapiteau” – a marquee.

That’s something else to investigate in due course.

collapsing wall boulevard louis dior granville manche normandy france eric hallIt’s amazing, when I take a walk along a road that I’ve not walked for a while, what else I noticed.

Here in the Boulevard Louis Dior right by the abandoned dockyard railway line, there’s this huge stone reinforcing wall that looks in a very precarious, dangerous condition.

One of the props has snapped too, as you can see in the photo. I don’t reckon that that wall will be there for long unless they do something about it quite quickly

marking on road rue des moulins granville manche normandy france eric hallStrange goings-on in the rue des Moulins too.

For some reason or other they have been painting a series of numbers in pink paint along the road. There are three rows of numbers, in consecutive order, all along the street and they don’t seem to bear any relation to anything else.

That’s yet another thing to investigate in due course.

Anyway, having picked up my bread at la Mie Caline, I headed back to the apartment for lunch, bumping into a neighbour on the way.

It was such a nice day that I was really tempted to go and sit outside but I had far too much work to do. I just had a quick butty and started on the translation.

We had the afternoon walk of course, where I met the helicopter, but that was about it really. The walk was good but I pushed on rapidly and came back for some more work.

At least, that was the plan but rather regrettably I … err .. closed my eyes for a while. A proper full-blown crash-out too. I awoke half-way through and I remember thinking to myself that this just isn’t any good at all

Tea was a vegan pizza of course, cooked to perfection, I have to say and it was delicious. There was a rice pudding a-doing too, because the Christmas Cake is almost gone.

All alone on my evening walk tonight too. No-one else around. And I had my run, such as it was.

Now I’m going to have another half-hour on this blasted translation and then go to bed. Another session tomorrow morning after breakfast and I might have done about half of it. Whether it’s the half that ends up in the bin or not, I really don’t know.

Sunday 10th November 2019 – EXCUSE ME …

full moon granville manche normandy france … a minute while I shave the palms of my hands.

We’re getting close to that time of year again and probably within a day or two we’ll be having a full moon. It won’t affect me of course, because although I used to be a werewolf, I’m all right nooooooooooooooooow!

Nothing wrong with a bit of lycanthropy when yuo can get it, is there?

You’re probably looking at the huge pile of photos from today and thinking that I’ve really been out on the prowl today.

And that’s quite true. I’ve done over 100% of my day’s target according to my fitbit and I haven’t failed to notice that the daily target for the new keep-fit me has increased from 7.7 kms to 9.0 kms as a result of my increased athletic activity.

Mind you, I nearly didn’t go out on the prowl today. No-one was more disappointed than me to wake up, despite having a rather latish night last night, at 06:09. And on a Sunday too.

But badger that for a game of soldiers. If anyone thinks that i’m goign to be doing anything at that particular time of the morning on a Sunday, they are totally mistaken.

What I did was to turn over and go back to sleep, where I stayed until a much-more realistic and appropriate … errr … 11:25.

Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a day like that!

Plenty of time to go on a nocturnal ramble, you might be thinking. And you’re dead right.

Last night I was helping out in a cafe somewhere taking the cash from people and paying it into the till and there was some confusion about what went where because I couldn’t see where the 5 cents went. I just left them on the side while I carried on working .later, the manager came in and had a look round. “Ohh the 5 cents go in here” he said, pointing to a space in the till. But that had all kinds of rambling writing in it from someone. We had a look at it and quite a laugh because the narrative was changing from “us” to “we” to “I” as if he wasn’t really sure about who he was writing about (… there’s a Sherlock Holmes story about this …) in his long rambling speech. We had a good laugh about it and I said that I hadn’t wanted to disturb it otherwise I would have missed the start of this conversation, something like that. he said “yes” – it’s very important to get the start or you just have to wait a year and get it when it comes round again next year”. We began to talk about music lessons and I’m not quite sure how that fitted into the arrangement anywhere and I was saying that I wanted to learn the guitar and the piano and a third instrument and I lost my way into a rambling incoherent thing after that and woke up – that was at 06:09.

As I said, i went back to sleep and ended up in Leek last night – but don’t ask me why – and it wasn’t Leek at all but some strange town. I was walking through it, although there wasn’t all that much to walk through and I wanted to find a way to walk through the town. I found a street that was called James Lyette Way or James Wysse Way or something like that and that name rang a bell with me in this town – I could not think why. So I thought that I would go this way. So I got round that way and I was kicking something in front of me which wa making a rattly noise and I’d only gone about 30 yards in front of me when I came to a dead stop because there was a huge set of double doors in front of me with glass and this was the shopping centre. I thought “yes I remember this” so I walked in. There was a group of young people in there all over the place milling around, standing, talking, leaning against the wall, sitting and I noticed that they were all wearing a kind of plaid overshirt, the type that I used to like to wear but they were wearing them two by two – like if you were in a couple you had to have the same overshirt as your partner. They were lounging around and drinking coffee and so on and I said to whoever I was with “God this is where everyone – a heavy place to hang out”. There were no shops but just like little rooms with glass fronts for little groups to sit with coffee. There were stairs so we went upstairs and there was like an art class going on and people were around there doing art things, all young people all wearing these plaid shirts in couples. I was hoping to find a door through here so I could get out and find my way onto the main road, or find some shops or something interesting but this shopping precinct in James Lyette Way was really strange because there are no shops, just these rooms with these groups of young people in them sitting around.
But somewhere in the middle of all of this I had an old Ford “T” and I was having to drive somewhere. This Model “T” was old and creaking and the steering wheel was weak and about to break in two but I was driving it all the same (… and people were noticing me and watching …) on this road that was taking me towards Leek. It was all up and down hill and round bends and over canal bridges and I seem to remember that this vehicle was going really well and I was doing about 40mph and I thought to myself that at times I’ve gone down here at 60mph and it’s seemed to be really slow so I thought that it must be something to do with the particular make of car or type of car and that was when I got into Leek. And it was strange because I had to walk though the streets and they had traffic lights to control the flow of pedestrians on the pavement because the pavements were so narrow and they didn’t want you to be walking into the street.
(… something that I maybe ought to add because I can still remember it even if I didn’t dictate it – that on my way back downstairs I noticed sitting on a window ledge a young girl with glasses and curly hair all sticking up around her head. Although she was wearing a plaid overshirt she didn’t seem to strike me as being the kind of person who would have a partner (although I’m not sure why because I thought that she was quite attractive) but having a good look round I found a tall girl on her own wearing the same plaid overshirt …)

With a late start to today (almost an early start for tomorrow in fact) I had my medication and subsequently my breakfast rather later. And I did without lunch too.

instead, I cracked on and transcribed the night’s dictaphone notes, and then carried on updating the web page that I told you about the other day, and the relevant files that go to it.

And reviewing what I wrote at the time, I can say without fear of contradiction that I’m glad that I don’t write like that any more and that I’ve moved on from those days.

crowds of people pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceThat took me nicely up to the time for my afternoon walk, having missed my morning walk.

With it being a Sunday with a Bank Holiday to follow, and a nice afternoon to boot, the place was absolutely heaving. I’m sure that I can say with confidence that I have never ever seen so many people out there, even on a summer Sunday afternoon.

No idea what was going on at all

jersey channel islands granville manche normandy franceAnd it was certainly a nice day for being out there.

Although there was something of a wind, the air was perfectly clear and I could see for miles. Even parts of the Channel Islands that I have never ever seen before were perfectly visible with the big zoom lens this afternoon.

And I felt really sorry for the couple behind me asking each other if they could see with the naked eye whatever it was that I was photographing.

yacht bird english channel granville manche normandy franceIt wasn’t just on land that there were hordes of people either. It was pretty crowded out there on the water too.

This yacht was one of the many out there today having a really good time, and we were once more photo-bombed by some kind of flying thing.

Although I have spent many years doing plenty of bird-watching, and with binoculars and huge telephoto zoom lenses, it wasn’t this kind of bird that I was watching so I’ve no idea what it is. Craig thinks that it’s a cormorant but I wouldn’t know.

And that brings me round to one particular occasion when we were aboard The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour and they announced that we were going to have a lecture on birdwatching.

“Not a problem” I replied. “I had plenty of those from Nerina when I was married”

yacht motor boat pointe de carolles baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france“Hordes of people in the water” I said just now. And I was right too.

We’ve seen plenty of stuff in the English Channel, but the Baie de Mont St Michel was heaving with vessels too enjoying the wind.

And you can see how clear the weather was today too. Even the hotels down at the foot of the bay near Mont St Michel are clearly visible in this photo, and that’s without me making any special effort to include them in the image.

From the Pointe du Roc I carried on down the path and into town along the harbour.

old van rear suspension collapsed rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOne of the reasons why I’d come here was to have a closer look at this strange van that has been parked at the fish processing plant for quite a while.

Either the rear suspension has collapsed or else there’s a really heavy weight in the back of it because the rear end is almost touching the roadway.

And it looks to me as if someone has jemmied the back doors of it at one time too. They are held together at the moment by a cord tied across the back.

port gates opening granville manche normandy franceAnother reason for my being down in the port area today was to go and have a look at the strange boat that has just appeared in the harbour.

The tidal gates were shut as I strolled leisurely past the fish processing plant, but just as I was about to put my foot on the top of the gates, the siren went off, the barrier went down and the gates started to open.

It seems that I had missed them by about 2 seconds. But I contented myself with watching them open, and then walked around the harbour to the other side.

chausiais granville manche normandy franceThat new boat was still there, tied up at the quay in between Vicor Hugo and Charles Marie.

And I can put a name to her too. She’s called the Chausiais and she’s out of Cherbourg.

But interestingly, she’s painted up with the advertising from the company that runs the ferry service out to the Iles de Chausey, so does this mean that they are now going to be running some kind of freight service out there?

la grande ancre granville manche normandy franceTalking of freight services to the Iles De Chausey, we’ve seen La Grande Ancre go out that way on a couple of occasions with what looked like a load of freight.

More recently though she’s been going back and to into the bay to carry out what looks like fishing activities.

But here she is, at rest today in the harbour with some kind of pontoon or lighter tied up to her.

What with one thing and another, there’s a lot of activity in the harbour these days even if we haven’t seen a gravel boat for quite some time and it doesn’t look as if there’s one due any time soon.

With it being such a nice day today I decided to carry on with another long walk.

Institution Sevigne granville manche normandy franceMy journey took me through the town and out along the old harbour railway in the general direction of the Parc du Val es Fleurs.

It’s a walk that I’ve taken on a few occasions but it wasn’t until today that I looked up onto the top and saw this building.

It’s called the “Institution Sevigne’ and it’s some kind of secondary school. The school’s advertising blurb (crudely translated by Yours Truly – after all, if you want any crudity then, in the words of the late, great Bob Doney “I’m your man”) says that it’s a “Catholic Educational Establishment of which the aim is to help young people become adults”, whatever that is supposed to imply.

animals parc du val es fleurs granville manche normandy franceIn the Parc du Val Es Fleurs there is some kind of zoo place where there are several animals of all kinds – terrestrial as well as aquatic ones.

With the crowds of people milling around the park, all of the animals were out there looking for some petting or, maybe, some food, although feeding the animals is strictly forbidden.

This horned sheep and these hens were eyeing me rather suspiciously, but I’m a vegan, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall

yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceThere’s a path and a set of steps at the back of the park that lead up to the top of the corniche and the road to Donville-les-Bains.

We were starting to lose the light by now but there was still a good view out across the rooftops and I could see a yacht out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel making the most of the last of the weekend’s sunshine, with the Brittany coast in the background.

The seagulls perched in a line on the roof were enjoying it too.

storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy franceThere’s a back way down the hill to the Place Marechal Foch.

That was the route that I took, and found myself amongst yet another madding crowd of people. Although the wind has died down considerably from how it was a few days ago, there’s still quite a powerful force embedded in the sea.

All of the people were thoroughly enjoying it, even when they received a drenching from the spray. And we’re still half an hour from high tide too.

storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy franceBut here’s an object lesson for you all.

Never stand on the boat-launching ramp when the sea is powering its way into shore like this. One of the waves caught the edge of the ramp just in the right place at the right moment and we had this huge cloud of spray thrown up.

When the wind caught it and blew it inland, that guy there knew all about it.

For a change I climbed up tall the steps and headed home for tea. A vegan pizza, which was delicious and properly cooked too, seeing as I’ve moved the oven shelf down one row to the bottom.

Rice pudding too for afters.

night place marechal foch granville manche normandy franceEven though I’d had a really good walk this afternoon, I still went out for my evening promenade.

One or two people out there too enjoying the chilly night, and so was I because I could take my time. It’s a Bank Holiday tomorrow so I can have a lie-in.

The pleasant evening enticed me to linger a while, leaning over the wall and looking down to the Place Marechal Foch where I was earlier this evening.

parc du val es fleurs granville manche normandy franceAnd then back home, but not before I include this photo of the Parc Val es Fleurs.

The reason why it’s so interesting is that you can see just how far down it is and that gives you some idea of the steps and that path that I had to climb up to the top.

The slope is about one-in-three and I actually managed to run about 100 metres up it too, and I was well-impressed by that.

And not only that either. On my way back from my evening walk I managed my evening run and made it all the way up to the top of the little ramp too – the one that in the past has always defeated me.

Things must be looking up.

So now it’s bed-time. No alarm for me tomorrow as it’s a Bank Holiday. And if I have a sleep that’s only half as good as the one that I had last night I’ll be happy.

There will be more albums to record too. So far tonight I’ve done seven.

And the guitar too. This afternoon I’ve been working out the chords to Traffic’s “Dear Mr Fantasy”.

kids fighting granville manche normandy franceBut before I go completely, I’ll let you make up your own minds about what these kids were doing in a quiet corner of the Primary School playground down by the little stream.

kids fighting granville manche normandy france

kids fighting granville manche normandy france

jersey channel islands granville manche normandy france
jersey channel islands granville manche normandy france

fishing pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
fishing pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

yacht motor boat english channel granville manche normandy france
yacht motor boat english channel granville manche normandy france

jersey channel islands granville manche normandy france
jersey channel islands granville manche normandy france

yachts baie de mont st michel pointe de carolles granville manche normandy france
yachts baie de mont st michel pointe de carolles granville manche normandy france

privateer Le Pelley de Pléville dit la Mouette granville manche normandy france
privateer Le Pelley de Pléville dit la Mouette granville manche normandy france

chausiais granville manche normandy france
chausiais granville manche normandy france

animals parc du val es fleurs granville manche normandy france
animals parc du val es fleurs granville manche normandy france

animals parc du val es fleurs granville manche normandy france
animals parc du val es fleurs granville manche normandy france

animals parc du val es fleurs granville manche normandy france
animals parc du val es fleurs granville manche normandy france

granville manche normandy france
granville manche normandy france

storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storms high tide waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france