Tag Archives: penybont

Friday 18th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

filming at civic rooms place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… the excitement of yesterday, there’s been even more today.

Unfortunately not quite of the same calibre, but nevertheless it beats the monotony. Especially when they lay down a red carpet at the Communal Rooms at the back of my apartment and set up a film camera to film whatever was going to make use of it.

Whatever or whoever it was, though, I’m not able to say. I had to go out to the Post Office before it closed and so I missed it.

If we’re lucky, there will be something in the newspapers tomorrow, but I’m not all that hopeful. There wasn’t a word about what the Dassault Falcon was doing yesterday.

fire brigade rue des juifs burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022At that wasn’t everything either.

This afternoon it looked as if it was the local Fire Brigade’s annual outing. There they were, complete with vehicles, standing around and chatting, looking up at the ruins of the houses that were devastated in the fire.

While we’re on the subject of “devastated” … “well, one of us is” – ed … I was pretty devastated this morning.

It ended up being a much later night than I was expecting or hoping, and when the alarm went off at 07:30 I switched it off and … err .. went back to sleep. But it wasn’t as bad as yesterday. I managed to make it out of bed a good few minutes before the second alarm.

Not all that much on the dictaphone through the night either. I must have had something of a decent sleep. I was out somewhere last night on the road that runs between Newcastle and Shrewsbury. I don’t know where I’d been but I ended up down some kind of side road somewhere. I stopped and I’d had a piece of cake and a coffee, standing in the middle of this farm track drinking it and eating the cake while the farmer was driving around in his tractor somewhere. Something had gone wrong but I can’t remember what it was. I looked at the time and I thought “God! I only have 20 minutes to get to work!”. I thought that I’d never reach work on time at all from here because I’m on foot. I put down my mug and plate down in the middle of this track and walked down to the main road thinking that I’d hitch a lift. I walked back towards the road junction that would take me to Crewe which was 4 miles away. First of all a bunch of school kids went past, then an old Austin A40 Somerset followed by an old BMC lorry. I then found myself in this village As I walked through this village I thought that I’d never seen such a village. I didn’t know that there was a village like this on this road and I know it so well. By now I was in Caliburn and. There was some road work in the town centre. Everything was being dug up. There were rocks being cut up with a disc cutter. They were even dynamiting small small rocks. I was just driving over everything, machinery, the lot in Caliburn. Some guy was even putting his feet against the glass windows to stop them vibrating when the dynamite went off.. There was this really sharp U-bend by an expensive estate agent’s. I thought that things were becoming really bad. Some woman went past and said “you’re going to be terribly late for work. It’s 2 days running for me that I’ve had to call in with car problems”. I was back in Caliburn again and came across an auto-electrician. I drove into his workshop. I had to straighten a carpet. A guy came over so I asked him to go to listen to the starter while I turned the engine so he could see if there was a problem with the starter.

Later on I was out near Tarporley in a small village … “Tiverton;” – ed. I bumped into a girl whom I knew but I can’t remember who she was. She had curly ginger hair and I don’t know a girl like that in real life. She was telling me about a family whom I knew who lived by the traffic lights at the Rising Sun. She was saying that they’d all cashed in their chips, sold up and moved on. I asked if she knew where they had gone. She told me of a couple of them but there was one whom she didn’t know. She mentioned his name and I knew the name. He’d gone to Toronto. She said “yes, I remember now. He’s bought a racehorse”. I looked surprised and asked “what’s he doing with a racehorse?”. She didn’t actually know. In the end she said something like “if you’re going to take a chance on buying an unknown racehorse for £1:00 or something you’d buy it from a member of your own family rather than from a complete stranger” but she couldn’t see the purpose of this racehorse. I asked her if it was identical to any others that he owned because there’s always the old “run a slower identical horse in a few races to build up a bad reputation then switch the real one in for an important race once the other one has a bad name”. She said “no, it’s not at all like (she mentioned the name of another horse)” so I thought that perhaps it might be an identical horse or something where in this case this one might be slower. I was about to ask her the question when the alarm went off.

After the medication and transcribing the dictaphone notes, I spent most of the rest of the morning working on the photos from the High Arctic in August 2019. We’re now back on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR after our little walk around Qikiqtarjuaq.

That was where Dennis Minty and I bumped into a local Royal Canadian Mounted Police “Mountie” who gave us a lift in his pickup up to the top of a mountain on the island where we took some superb photos which you will see in due course.

After lunch I had a letter to write. It’s the reply to one that’s been hanging around here for quite a few months and someone somewhere is probably wondering if I’ve died.

“Snail mail” has all but died out for personal purposes but I still have the odd (and I use the term advisedly) technophobe friend who writes letters. Unfortunately, just like me, she has had a hand injury and so I have a great deal of difficulty reading her writing just like people have difficulty in reading mine, and it’s not easy to decipher it.

But anyway, it was eventually ready and in a mad fit of enthusiasm which has sprung up from heaven alone knows where, I actually set off to post it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check the camera and see what was happening down below.

As you can see, the tide is right out at the moment. It’ll be a while before it’s back in today. But there doesn’t seem to be anyone taking advantage of it and going for a bit of the peche à pied.

And if there’s anything going on at the Ile de Chausey this afternoon, they aren’t doing it aboard the Joly France ferries.

There’s one moored up over there at the ferry terminal in the NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position, and the other two are moored up in the inner harbour along with Chausiaise

charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As well as the Ile de Chausey boats in the inner harbour, there’s plenty of other stuff too.

One of the boats here is Charles Marie. We’ve been keeping an eye on her over the last couple of weeks while she was being serviced in the chantier naval but now she must be ready for the sea.

There was a trawler parked in the chantier naval where she was, but I couldn’t see who she was. I’ll go for a wander out that way tomorrow and find out more about her.

And by the looks of things, La Granvillaise wasn’t there either. She must have gone back into the water but she isn’t around in the harbour so I wonder where she’s gone.

There are tons of the containers in which they stack the sacks of shellfish over there on the quayside. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Dodging the pompiers who were having their meeting on the pavement, I carried on down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

The freight was still there but what caught my eye was the lorry and the digger over there on the track of the old abandoned railway.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw them working on the far end of that track in the town centre. They seem to have made rapid progress.

Down in the town I made rapid progress to the Post Office to post my letter. And then I went off to the Credit Agricole. I’ve received a cheque in respect of my Belgian State Pension but I dont now why. Anyway it has to be paid in to my account.

Now what can I do with €60:45? Spend! Spend! Spend! I suppose.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Walking back into the town centre on my way home I had a quick peek down where the old abandoned railway ran to see how they were doing.

And by the looks of things, they don’t seem to be doing a great deal. They have a compactor down there (which was more than they had on the 1800 miles of the TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY IN 2010 but the road surface doesn’t look much different than it did before they started.

And I’m half-expecting one of those boys to end up like an Austin Powers henchman if he isn’t careful. I suppose that the other boy there would refer to his friend as his “flatmate”.

I’ll get my coat.

So having dome my tasks for the day I set off up the hill for home, feeling rather pleased that I’d actually finished a couple of tasks.

Maybe it is these pills that are giving me energy, I dunno, but sometimes I really think that they could give you absolutely anything, tell you what the imaginary effects will be, and then you psyche yourself up to believe them.

kite surfers people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back inside I went to see what was happening down on the beach outside my building.

Today was a really glorious May day today, really warm, but with a strong wind. And so while there were no Nazguls about, there were a couple of people down there kitesurfing. And having a really good time doing it by the looks of things.

Plenty of people walking around on the beach too having a good time. I don’t know where they have all come from.

One of my neighbours was outside the building too, soaking up the rays. he and I had a good chat before I came in for a coffee.

Later on, I had another session on the guitar. I seem to have rekindled my enthusiasm, having done very little since I fell into this depression several months ago. I quite enjoyed it too, although i’m dismayed at how much of my technique I’ve lost.

Tea was a quick falafel from out of the freezer with pasta and veg because there was football on the internet. Y Bala v Penybont in the first of the Welsh Cup Semi-finals.

And for a match then ended 0-0, this was probably one of the best and most exciting that I’ve seen in a long while. Both teams have star players but they managed to checkmate each other at every turn as the game roared from end to end for the whole 90 minutes. It’s a shame that there aren’t more games like this.

So bedtime now. I’m shopping tomorrow and then I’m going to try to do some exciting stuff. What, I’m not quite sure yet.

Who knows? I might do something wild, like take more rubbish out to the bins.

Saturday 5th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… a few photos of the 120-odd people who turned up spontaneously outside the Mairie in Granville at midday for an impromptu show of support for Ukraine, I’ll tell you about my really miserable night last night.

And when I say “miserable” I really DO mean “miserable” because last night, in a sleep that went on theoretically for just a little over 8 hours, there were no fewer than 14 entries on the dictaphone and that must be something of a record in anyone’s language.

And so it will be no surprise to anyone to learn that when I awoke this morning with the alarm I was thoroughly, completely and absolutely overwhelmed with fatigue.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Although it wasn’t until very much later that I transcribed the dicatphone notes, it’s probably a good idea if I insert them here so that we can keep things in order.

Last night I was standing up but suddenly I fell forward and knocked over this tripod that had some kind of equipment on it like camera equipment or dictaphone equipment. Then I realised that I was wearing a soldier’s uniform and I’d been arrested or captured, something like that

And then there was something about a cucumber rolling around in the bed and I’ve no idea at all what that was all about.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then later on I was out with a friend of mine from Brussels. We’d started off at work – we were working together – and then we decided that we would go for a walk. There’s a bride being married in a couple of days and she was having an exhibition so off we went. We had a lengthy heart-to-heart chat about all kinds of things that had happened between us 20 years ago. It was an extremely intimate discussion. She ended up saying “if only you hadn’t been married, if only you hadn’t been middle-aged” etc. It was a really deep discussion. The bride had settled herself down so we decided that we would go and look. I knew that there was a phrase that you had to use but I couldn’t remember what it was. We walked past this tent and a little head popped out – a little girl. I said “cuckoo, are you getting married?” and she blushed and went back, stuck her head back inside. I could see inside that the bride was asleep in the corner of the tent and there were 3 goats in there as well. I was trying to work out the ritual nature of all of this.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I actually missed out a few things in that story about my friend in Brussels. I can’t remember who I was with at first but we were coming in late for work and we heard people talking about the “Naz” department store. I arrived at work and asked someone what had happened about the department store. They replied that it had fallen down. I asked if it was any relation to the fire a few days ago somewhere. They said “no”. This guy was very interested in telling me so much more about so many different things but I wasn’t interested in hearing them. On my way back to my desk with whoever it was I said that we really need to be in work earlier because we are pushing the boundaries and we need to do better than this and make every effort to arrive at work earlier. When I was walking with my friend we could see in the distance a load of white smoke that might either have been from the collapse of “Naz” or whatever it was called or else the remains of this big fire

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022. Back at home later I was talking to my mother and one of my sisters. I said where I’d been and that many years ago when my blog was in hiatus I used to read books and I’d underline or highlight phrases in books that actually meant something. When I’d been writing my blog subsequently and re-read one of these books and came to a phrase that I’d noted, I’d mentioned it in relation to her. She’s read my blog and seen these references etc but was still interested in coming out with me for a chat. I thought “well, there’s hope yet, isn’t there?”

So there were pirates who stopped a boat and they put everyone ashore. There was a flag that they were flying that had five rings on it like the Olympic flag. I had no idea to engage in this fight so I didn’t go but they swarmed onto this other boat and started hacking the other defenders about to see whether it was going to take them

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And here I am doing it again – dictating a dream when I have no dictaphone with me. I was on a boat somewhere in the Indian or South Pacific Ocean and I was talking about the time that I’d been on a voyage of discovery with my Belgian friend – and fell asleep again in the middle of it – but basically what this was about was something about me being there and maybe taking a boat to Japan and back to the USA. There was a lot more to it than this but unfortunately I can’t remember anything and that’s really disappointing.

And later again I was out on the Pacific on yet another ocean liner with someone else when the subject of this girl in Belgium came up again but I don’t know where it went from here. But how many times last night was it that she put in an appearance?

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Next time I was in the American cavalry in a dark-blue uniform. There was a person of colour in the troop. We came across this girl and noticed her bounty of seventeen dollars which we thought was quite a lot for her seeing as she was an Indian so we resolved to kill her. She was killed in the struggle but handed her jacket all the same to create an entry to receive this money

And yet again dictating in my sleep but it was one on those things where the ones I was with would go and sort out some enemy checks or something like that so we set off in a car and drove. As we drove around the headland we saw the ruins of a castle across a bay that looked very close. We suddenly realised that we had gone within earshot of these particular people and so we’d better not say any more in case they overheard us.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I was at University last night waiting for morning classes to start and I’d been talking to Rosemary on the ‘phone and I said something like “why don’t you come up?”. When I finished I went back into the classroom and took my seat but suddenly Rosemary turned up. I had to go out to see her and talk to her. I sent her off to the cafeteria because our lecture was about to begin. Back in there the cat was on the windowsill so I went to stroke it. Someone said “that’s my cat” but I said that anyone could stroke it as far as I’m concerned. I found that someone else had taken my seat so I had to look for another empty one. Then I had to go through my timetable to find out what lessons I had for the rest of the week so I could go down when this one finished and talk to Rosemary. There were a couple of conversation lessons I couldn’t miss and one or two other things but there was still a fair amount of time so I had to sit down and think about making a plan that I could take to Rosemary in 40 minutes when this lecture finished.

beach rue ru nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After the medication and checking my mails and messages (and having a little relax too) I set off to go into town to do a little shopping. I need some mushrooms for the pizza tomorrow and also a baguette for my Saturday treat.

As usual, I went off to have a look at the beach to see what might have been going on down there today. And one look at what is supposed to be the beach will tell you that there wasn’t anything whatever going on down there right now.

And for an obvious reason too. The tide is right in today at probably its fullest extent and that’s put a stop to everything. You can see now how it’s possible for people to be cut off from the steps.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was also looking out to sea to see what I could see.

Right out on the horizon in the Baie de Granville are a couple of yachts. At least, one of them is a yacht and I’m not quite sure what the other one is.

As you can see, it’s a beautiful day out there this morning but there’s plenty of haze around farther out and the Channel Islands are obscured which is a shame. I was hoping that we might have had a really good view of St Helier today.

And that reminds me – the ferry service is supposed to be starting up some time soon. I must make further enquiries.

cabin cruiser marker light baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022One thing that regular readers of this rubbish might recall is that a few days ago we say the marker on the rocks just off the headland here right out of the water.

Today of course, it’s a completely different story. You can see that it’s almost submerged and that will give you a really good idea of how high the tide is. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we have some of the highest tides in Europe just here.

Of course, with the tide being as it is, the harbour gates will have been open for quite a while and that will account for the yachts, and also for the cabin cruiser that’s out there. At first I thought that it might be fishing but judging by its wake it’s in rather a hurry and presumably heading out to the Ile de Chausey.

pointe de grouin brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022The view out to sea might have been obscured by haze this morning but the view along the coast was one of the best that we have ever had.

Although I had to enhance this photograph quite considerably, it shows a really good view of the lighthouse at the Pointe de Grouin on the headland at the entrance to the bay on the Brittany side.

That’s of course where we spent our first night when we were out and about on the Spirit of Conrad in summer 2020.

It was here that I had a ‘phone call about the Demonstration at lunchtime so I abandoned my shopping trip and headed home for a shower and clean-up and to find some blue and yellow clothes.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On leaving the apartment I’m grabbed my ZOOM H8 to record whatever might be happening.

There wasn’t enough time to check the batteries – I use it on the mains here – and so it goes without saying that the batteries were flat. And so were the spare ones too.

But anyway the talk that we were given only lasted for a couple of minutes and that was that. I wandered around taking a few photos until everyone dispersed.

A couple of friends from the radio were here so we all went for a coffee and a chat.

On the way home I popped into Carrefour for the mushrooms and baguette and then crawled slowly (and it was slowly too because I wasn’t feeling too good after my bad night) back home where I had lunch.

This afternoon was pretty slow. Transcribing all of the dictaphone notes took an enormous amount of time and there was also at least an hour and a half when I crashed out completely, absolutely and definitely.

There was football too on the internet – Penybont v Caernarfon. Penybont hit the woodwork twice, had a stonewall penalty appeal turned down, had about 75% of the play and somehow managed to lose 3-0 in a match that they should have won at a canter.

Tea tonight was a couple of those small breaded quorn fillets with potatoes and veg and it was delicious.

This evening, something surprising has happened. Someone from Ottawa has contacted me and asked to be my “friend” on my social network.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have plenty of family and friends in Ottawa. There are also plenty of people who have been with me on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and of course a certain young lady who has accompanied me on several of my nocturnal voyages in the past.

Consequently I was intrigued to see who it might be and how I might know them.

It turns out that it’s someone who has found me “by accident” and wants me ” to always be open, honest and having free speech about everything, share your worries, your children and everything be that support group for me as I will for you, plan together, play together and treat me like I mean something to you, you don’t have to sugar coat anything, as adults, we can handle things. I expect you to treat me right, be truthful, and honest with me because I do believe in gospel truth and that is what I want. I want to feel true love and happiness with you and share everything with you based on love and understanding.”

She will apparently “climb the highest mountains just to be with the one i love”.

So while you are all reading this, I’ll be waiting for the message when she will ask me to send her the air fare so that she can come to join me.

Saturday 19th February 2022 – HAVING SPENT ABOUT …

prego air fryer place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… a week or so trying to fry some chips in the oven earlier this week, I walked into Noz this morning and Lo! And behold! They had some air fryers in stock, at just €29:99 too.

This is a kind of technology that has passed me by up until now so I’ve not really very much idea about how well they work, but at that kind of price it’s well-worth a try.

Bearing in mind the price of oven chips and the electricity that it takes to cook them, I don’t think that it will take too long to recoup my outlay, and they can’t be any worse that what I’ve been eating for chips so far.

One thing that hasn’t convinced me though is the trade-name of the article. I have a feeling that nine months after making my first batch of chips, I’ll be making medical history.

Trying to awaken this morning nearly wrote my name in the history books too. I didn’t quite go back to sleep after the alarm went off but it was pretty close and I only just managed to make it to my feet before the second alarm went off.

After the medication and a shower to clean myself up, I headed off to the shops. Apart from the air fryer, Noz didn’t come up with very much but at leClerc I spent something like a small fortune.

And for two reasons too

  1. Stocks were pretty low seeing as I haven’t been to the shops for a fortnight
  2. They were having one of their special “multiple offers” again and things like orange juice, soya milk, ginger beer and the like I can always use and the bathroom is a fairly cool room in which to store things.

Back here I put away the frozen stuff and then made myself a coffee. The slice of fruit bread was delicious too.

Next task was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night. And talking about dreaming in French – last night I was with my Welsh class but last night we were speaking Flemish. We’d been on board a ship and it had set sail. I had stayed behind for the next leg of the journey. We carried on having our discussion on line. At one point the discussion became very difficult. One of the girls on board this ship said that it was very late. I had a look at what time it was and I could see that it was a certain time where I was so I said “it must be twintig voor negen where they are. That means that it’s probably late and is getting too late for them”. There was then some discussion about whether we should stop or carry on.

And dreaming in Flemish is a totally new departure, isn’t it?

Later on we were out in the Far East and I stepped back into that dream where I’d left off. We were all getting our radio programmes together but this team there was a team of radio presenters who had to guess whose programme was whose. We did all that we had to do and then our programme was revealed to the public one by one. It came down to the last 3 and there was me, another girl and Liz. They presented their radio programmes and then it came to presenting mine. Mine was about a lake so I presented mine. Then the audience had to award prizes to what they considered to be the best and they also had to guess whose was whose. They were doing pretty well until they reached the last 3, the girl, Liz and me, They had me presenting someone else’s programme but I can’t remember which one – it might have been Liz’s. Then it came to mine which was about the lake but they couldn’t decide who presented it so they gave up. I started off singing the title entry to it, waiting on the podium with this little girl and Liz. I said to the little girl “what do you think? Didn’t we do well?” and we started to sing down the microphone which wasn’t actually picked up by the podcast. They asked me what had inspired me to do this programme. I was beginning some talk about how I had a lorry here and I was on my way to do something else and I just happened to notice the lake in a certain situation, state or colour.

After lunch there was football on the internet – Penybont against Ffynnon Taf in the quarter-final of the Welsh Cup.

Playing football in a hurricane is always a lottery. Even though Penybont are one division and quite a bit above their opponents and played with much more skill, the wind was a great leveller and at one stage Ffynnon Taf were actually leading 2-1.

But almost every second of the last 15 minutes was played in the Ffynnon Taff half and 2 goals in a minute near the end after the Wellmen had gone down to 10 players ensured that Penybont went through.

windsurfer people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022By now it was time to go out for my afternoon walk. I mustn’t forget that.

There were quite a few people walking around down on the beach this afternoon, including a windsurfer who looks as if he’s been making the most of the weather today. The sea might not be as rough as it was yesterday but there was quite a wind still.

And you can see what a mess the sea yesterday has made of the beach, with all of the ripples in the sand caused by the force of the waves as they slammed into it at the height of the storm yesterday.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another thing that the storm will have done is to have ripped a load of shellfish from their beds and cast them onto the rocks.

naturally, the seagulls will have made pretty short work of those but there were plenty of people down there scavenging around to see what they can find while the tide is right out. Let’s hope that they don’t find anything that they wouldn’t want to find

Not too many people up here on the path though today. The wind was quite strong and that was keeping them indoors.

The view out to sea and down the coast was quite clear today too but I wasn’t going to stand on top of a bunker to take a photo in this wind. I’ll leave that for another time when the wind calms down.

cancale brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The clear sky though meant that the view across the bay to Cancale was really good this afternoon.

In the lee of another bunker and the lighthouse I could take a photo without being bowled over by the wind.

The church over there is 18 kms away from where I was standing and I know that from bitter experience. I was once looking for a hotel in the vicinity of Granville and one in Cancale – “18kms away” – was recommended. That was of course 18 kms as the crow flies but to drive it was about 70 kms down to the head to the bay and then back up the other side.

yacht tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022With nothing else going on around the end of the headland I walked on down the path to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval.

The other day I talked about the new props on which the yacht down there had been posed, but while I was out in Caliburn this morning I had a closer look and saw that in fact it’s a wooden framework that has been knocked up quite quickly and doesn’t look all that strong.

And as you can see, there are no nets on board Tiberiade. That’s what makes me think that the nets on which they have been working in the inner harbour belong to her.

By the way, Joly France wasn’t at the ferry terminal. So hats off to any travellers who have gone out to the Ile de Chausey this morning in this weather.

philcathane les bouchots de chausey fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Here though are quite a few people who haven’t gone out to sea today.

As you can see, most of the fishing fleet is in port today, just as it was yesterday. Over on the far side of the harbour are Philcathane and Les Bouchots de Chausey and everyone else is moored up at the pontoon.

On the extreme right is Calean, with Suzanga moored behind her. In front of Calean is Galean, and then Yann Frederic and in front of her is L’Arc en Ciel.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There are people out in the Baie de Mont St Michel having a look at what the storm might have turned up.

But that would be the last place where I would look. That’s right at the entrance to the harbour and all kinds of boats have probably been doing all kinds of things just there.

And so I left them to it and went back home for a hot coffee. But I didn’t have one because I’d had one at half-time during the football and I need to cut down on my coffee consumption. Instead I came in here and …errr … fell asleep for a few minutes.

Tea was a baked potato with veg and a handful of those tiny breaded soya burger things that are really nice when cooked in the microwave in vegan butter.

Tomorrow I’m going to have my long-awaited lie-in and see if I can’t recharge my batteries. They have been run down flat over the last few weeks and I ought to see what I can do about rectifying the situation.

But not tomorrow. I’ll be in bed.

Saturday 28th August 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… miserable day today. And much of that is my own fault too.

Despite having, for what has been just recently an early night – so early in fact that I was nowhere near finished yesterday’s journal entry – it was a real struggle to force myself out of bed this morning when the alarm went off.

It was a crawl into the bathroom and even after a cold-water wash I didn’t feel any different. I had the medication and then came back in here to start work.

After an hour or so and ot having done very much at all, I reckoned that I may as well go for a coffee.

A quick check of the time told me that it was in fact just 05:25 – it seemed that I had forgotten to switch off the alarm from last Saturday. No wonder I was feeling so dreadful.

What I did was to switch off all of the following alarms except that for 06:20 and then went back to bed.

When the alarm went off, I couldn’t move out of bed at all so I went back so sleep and the next thing that I remembered was rhat it was 08:40. That wasn’t the start of the day that I wanted.

Having organised myself I went out to the shops. First port of call was Lidl where I bought some stuff that I couldn’t carry home when I was there on Wednesday.

Next stop was at Centrakor where I wanted to see if they had anything to cover my fruit but that was a disappointment.

At Noz I spent half my time going around the shop buying a couple of things and the other half of the time dismantling Caliburn’s door handle and freeing it off so that it would work.

At LeClerc, that was a disappointment too. No decent keyboard and no decent printer either. Some other stuff that I needed, like food and so on, and then I came home.

Carrying the stuff up here (only some of it too) was quite a struggle and I was glad to sit down for a pause with a coffee. And while I was seated, I organised myself a new keyboard and printer. The keyboard can’t be here soon enough because this one is driving me berserk.

After lunch I came back in here to start work but unfortunately I fell asleep again – as if this morning hasn’t been enough. It meant that I was rather late for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNevertheless, out I went and as usual, my first port of call when I go out for my afternoon walk is to stick my head over the wall at the end of the car park to see what’s going on down there.

Despite the weather, which is quite windy today, there are a few people making the most of the last weekend of the summer season. No-one actually in the water this afternoon which is hardly a surprise because I imagine that it will be quite cold in there this afternoon.

By the looks of things the beaches further along the coast look as if there is no-one on them and that’s a surprise. They are less susceptible to the wind, the views are good and they are good for walking

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile one eye was roving around on the beach, the other eye was having a good look out to sea.

There wasn’t anything going on just offshore but way out in the bay there was a zodiac travelling offshore at quite a rapid rate of knots. I’ve no idea from where it’s come and to where it’s going. There’s no evidence of anything out there that might be of interest.

But you can see how rough the sea is this afternoon. It’s due to the effect of the wind that is whipping up the waves. You can tell that from the whitecaps out there in the bay.

joly france ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite everything else, the sky was quite clear this afternoon and the view was really good.

In the past regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen plenty of photos of the Ile de Chausey but it’s been very rare that we’ve been able to see it quite as clearly as this.

The colours have been enhanced a little, of course, and we can see the houses along the shore quite clearly . And that’s the lighthouse on the left of the image on the hill, and on the hill on the right is the semaphore station.

lighthouse semaphore crowds on footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo that’s the lighthouse and semaphore station station on the Ile de Chausey. Here are the lighthouse and the semaphore station at the Pointe du Roc.

The semaphore is of course the smaller post on the far right. The taller post in the centre seems to be some kind of transmission aerial, maybe for the coastguard post right out on the end of the headland behind the building up there.

And is that one of the Joly France boats out there to the right?

Crowds of people taking a walk this afternoon around the headland too. The last weekend of the summer season and they’ll all be heading home tomorrow (I hope) and we can all return to some peace and tranquility far from the madding crowds.

fishing pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, in other news, a little further on along the path we have the presence of a fisherman.

Not a very optimistic fisherman either because he doesn’t have a net with which to haul in his catch or a bucket in which to keep it, and that seems rather a strange idea to me.

In fact, I’m slowly coming round to the conclusion that the fishing off the rocks is sport fishing, not subsistence fishing, and the aim isn’t actually to keep and eat any fish that they catch but to release it back into the water afterwards.

As a vegan I should be applauding this gesture but it’s still something of a mystery

sparrowhawk pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had our attention distracted by the sea and by the land, it’s now time to turn out attention to the air.

Even if the fisherman isn’t necessarily hunting for food, other people are, like the sparrowhawk whom we have seen on several occasions.

He’s out there again hunting for his food in the rough grass down the bank on the clifftop and he’s probably having better luck than the fisherman below him.

That’s my lot really. Nothing else of any other great excitement happening around here and nothing else going on out to sea, I headed off around the path and across the car park.

carolles plage Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust at that moment, as I was crossing the car park, a ray of sun fell onto the beach at Carolles-Plage and illuminated it as if with a spotlight on a stage.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have walked the length of that beach on several occasions not long after I first came here, when I was staying at that cheap hotel in Jullouville while I was looking for an apartment.

It’s a beautiful beach and quite quiet too as much of it is not easily accessible. It peters out up against the Pointe de Carolles, under the watchful eye of the Cabanon Vauban that is out of shot to the right.

Around the end of the headland and along the path I came to the viewpoint overlooking the outer harbour.

marite les epiettes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much going on there of any note so I carried on along to where I could see the boats in the inner harbour.

First of all, the small red white and blue boat that’s there in the loading bay – when I was down there yesterday I was able to have a good look at her and she is indeed Les Epiettes, the boat that we saw out at the Ile de Chausey when we were aboard Spirit of Conrad last year.

Marité of course needs no introduction at all. she’s quite happily sitting at her berth waiting for her next trip out.

But as for me, I was waiting for my trip back home.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that “bad parking” is a feature that used to figure quite often on these pages, but fear of boring you all to death has made me abandon it, except in certain clearly outrageous circumstances.

bad parking boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust like this one here in fact.

This is a van that is fitted out as a mobile home and because there is no room to park just here (obviously the public car park just up the road at the Boulevard Vaufleury is too far to travel, they have decided to park just here.

Two wheels up on the kerb on the grass verge and the rest of the vehicle parked in the street, on a bus route and right opposite a relatively busy road junction.

But of course, who cares about the day-to-day life of the residents here? Being a tourist is much more important and who cares if it inconveniences the locals? Tough luck!

It’s no wonder that many people are glad to see the backs of the tourists when the holiday season is finally over.

By the way, it was one of those little concrete bollards just there that I tripped over on my nocturnal excursion the other evening.

Back here later there was the dictaphone that needed attention. And despite the rather short night, there had been plenty of time to go off for a mega-ramble or three.

There was another ship very like a Spanish galleon. I was on it and someone said to me “you won’t be going back on board the ship for a while because it had been raided by the local police. I was still out there trying to make a living by getting her food by carving on fish paste sandwiches and making sure that she does actually want to do it herself. I’ve no idea at all what was going on here, but once again I awoke covered in sweat from this.

And who is “she”? The cat’s mother?

Later on I was watching a football match and the opposition goalkeeper had been sent off just like someone yesterday. Someone else had to go in goal. His team won a corner so he went up to the penalty area for it. The corner came in but the other team’s keeper caught it quite cleanly but the other guy bundled him straight into the net, ball and all, and did a lap of honour around the goal at the back. Of course, the referee, talking to his linesman, ruled it out. That caused all kinds of problems but I could certainly see why it had been ruled out and wasn’t going to argue about it. It seemed a fair decision to me

And somewhere along the line I had another one of these work dreams where everything that I was doing was in total chaos yet again, and when I was on the point of retiring and could have just walked out.

There was football too on the internet – Penybont v Connah’s Quay Nomads. An exciting, free-flowing end-to-end game but most of it went to naught because the final touch was just not good enough.

The score finished 1-1 which was a surprise because there was a point in the game when I was thinking that they could be playing until next weekend and the score would still be 0-0. The central defensive pairing of Penybont was one of the best that I have ever seen.

But up front, both teams will have to be doing much better than this.

Just as I was about to go for a late meal, Rosemary rang me and we had a chat for … errr … 2 hours and 37 minutes. Hence I’ve had no food, and I’m too tired to write this out properly.

It’s just not my day, is it?

Sunday 23rd May 2021 – YOU WOULD HAVE …

… expected that I would have learnt enough about tempting fate about my postings.

“An early night” I said. “Fighting fit for tomorrow” I implied. Well, quite. Not even the usual good-old reliable stand-by of watching an old black-and-white film of the dozens that I have downloaded from THE INTERNET ARCHIVE for copyright-lapsed media and many other similar sites, something that has worked WITH MONOTONOUS REGULARITY AND RELIABILITY in the past

In fact I’d watched 2 films and there wasn’t even the vaguest possibility of sleep.

What was happening was that a pain developing in the very region that they had mentioned. And as the evening, and the night had worn on it became worse and worse. Why I hadn’t worried about it at first was because it was a pain that I’d had before and had eventually gone away all on its own.

And I hadn’t mentioned it before in these notes because it was rather a delicate subject.

By 04:30 the pain was indescribable and eventually I succumbed. In all my life I’d never had a pain quite like this. The nurse told me to wait for an hour while she monitored it and as there was no amelioration she called the night doctor.

He had a look and a poke around, and the next thing was that a porter turned up and whisked my bed off to the operating theatre. And after a considerable amount of moving about and swapping rooms, they eventually found where I was supposed to be.

The surgeon was only a young girl but she tried a trick or two first, none of which worked so I was moved yet again. She came along as well, I suppose because I did see her later. But when I arrived, it was just about 08:30. I was undressed and someone clamped a mask over my face. “Have a whiff of this” he said.

The next thing that I remember was that it was 12:35 and I was in the post-op room. “When can I go back to my room?” I asked. “There’s an important football match at 13:15”. And there was too. Pen-y-bont v Y Drenewydd in the other European Competition qualifier. “Later” replied a nurse.

Had I known and had anyone said, I’d have taken my phone with me to watch it down there because by the time that they had monitored everything and the blood transfusion had finished (blood count down yet again to 7.5 despite yesterday’s transfusion) and a porter had come to take me back, I was just in time to watch the final 30 seconds of the game.

Y Drenewydd won the match 1-0 so we are all set up for an intriguing final with Caernarfon for the last place. The 6th and 7th teams have knocked out the 4th and 5th. These two clubs are quite equal but I think that Caernarfon are playing at home and they have that certain little something.

So that’s the Kiss of Death duly given then.

intravenous drip gasthuisberg university hospital Leuven Belgium Eric HallSo here I am in my room with a pile of intravenous drips on the walkie thing. And that’s not all because there are another couple … errr … elsewhere and I’m not photographing them. You’re probably eating your meal or something right now.

Down below I’m all bandaged up and I’m confined to bed, so the nurses are pretty safe at the moment. My request for a gondola’s pole so I can punt my bed around the hospital corridors in hot pursuit has been denied which is a shame.

This would be just the ideal moment for Castor to come along and put in an appearance, enter my bubble and soothe my fevered brow. And wouldn’t that be nice if it were ever to happen. But it’s not unfortunately so I shall have to cope on my own which is a bit miserable.

hospital meal gasthuisberg university hospital Leuven Belgium Eric HallAt least the food here is better than at that dreadful doss-house in Riom where they served me up half a plate of overcooked courgettes that time.

Tonight’s tea was a couple of small breadcrumbed quorn burgers of the type that I once bought in NOZ, with potatoes and endives. With tomato soup to start and although I couldn’t eat the dessert (a milky chocolate dessert thing) the nurse brought me a bag of crisps instead.

The issues with the diet by the way are due to the fact that both the dietician and cute Kaatje who says that she is my social worker but is really my psychiatrist (all terminally ill patients have a psychiatrist allotted to them) are on holiday until Tuesday.

When it all went quiet I made up a playlist of my favourite albums so I’m surrounded by some really good music, I’ve had internet chats with Esi and Alison, internet chats with Rosemary, Liz (whom I’ve convinced that my suffering is worth at least 2 cakes) and TOTGA as well as a few others, friendly nurses who run off and bring me bottles of Sprite and packets of crisps, and reasonable food, a comfy bed and some peace and quiet.

What more could any man desire? Apart from TOTGA, Castor and Kaatje to bubble up and soothe my fevered brown of course.

Saturday 15th May 2021 – WE’VE HAD A

unidentified aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… one of these aerial days today – a day when just about everything in the air flew past me today.

It wasn’t possible for me to count all the ones that went past today because I ran out of fingers. Several of them flew past out of range so I couldn’t photograph them but I did photograph those that I could, like this one here.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to identify it because I couldn’t see its serial number anywhere and it’s not a model that I recognise anywhere. It looks like a pretty lightweight machine so it’s quite possibly one of these kit-built aircraft that care classed as microlights.

unidentified aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is another one that I didn’t recoognise, but that’s for a completely different reason.

As it flew past overhead, it didn’t present to me a surface that carried the registration number. That will be underneath the port wing of course and it wasn’t going that way round. But whatever it is, it’s not one of the aircraft that regularly flies out of the airport here that we see quite regularly.

There was nothing shown on the flight radar for these aircraft of course. It’s unlikely that they file flight plans and they probably don’t fly high enough to be picked up on the radar anywhere.

powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just aeroplanes that went flying past overhead either.

As I walked out of the building here to go for my afternoon walk I was overflown by one of these powered hang glider things. That wasn’t shown on my radar set either and that’s no surprise. It’s the kind of thing that struggles to lift itself over my building, especially as it’s carrying two people therein.

As this went past overhead I was thinking that all I needed now was to see Godzilla going past and then I’d have the full set. Either that or the Loch Ness Monster. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many aircraft on one particular day.

This morning I hauled myself out of bed fairly early, just after the first alarm, despite my rather late night.

And after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was really surprised to find that I’d been anywhere because it had been a bad night with several raging attacks of cramp that didn’t ease off even when I went for a walk around.

This was the worst series of attacks that I’d had and they were horrible. Painful and horrible.

aeroplane 55-OJ place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut returning to our moutons as they say around here, while you admire aeroplane 55-OJ, I was somewhere on the outskirts of London last night, living by the side of this big main road that was a 2×2 lane with the carriageway nearest me higher than the other. Crossing over there was quite difficult because it was so busy. One night I’d finished my tea and I had the remains on the plate so I thought that I would take then to the dustbin. I had to walk along the pavement, across the road on a zebra crossing, down a set of steps and across the other road. Luckily there was no traffic and I reached the dustbins to put my stuff away. I’d been counting my steps – so many steps across the road, so many steps across the central reservation and so on. There was a lot of traffic waiting at a junction on the other side of the by-pass and I had to walk my way round. I thought that I recognised one of them. It turned out to be a black boy from the City of London on a bicycle who had been wanted by the police for a murder but released. At that moment a police car pulled up and someone started to talk to the policeman saying something like “it’s happened again but I definitely saw something white which was either something white once 100 times or something white twice 50 times”. I immediately thought of this boy. What had he been up to?

After that I went for a good hot shower which made me feel so much better, and then I stripped the bed and changed the bedding, the first time since I can’t remember when. The bedding, my fleece jacket and a few other bits and pieces went into the washing machine and I set it off on its cycle again.

Meanwhile Caliburn and I went to the shops. At NOZ I found a guide book on Iceland, which will come in handy when I write up my notes and if I ever return to the island. There were also some frozen vegan veggie balls, so I bought three packets of those.

LeClerc’s was an expensive shop this morning, even if I did forget the coffee. They had vegan burgers on special offer, and also some special vegan burgers made of sweet potatoes, a new variety with an introductory offer and I wouldn’t want to miss those. I’m building up rather a large supply of burgers now, more than I can probably tackle so I need to start to make my way into that supply some time soon.

Back here I put the veggie balls in the freezer along with the falafel, the other vegan veggie balls, the vegan sausage rolls and whatever else I have picked up in NOZ over the last while. The freezer is now bursting at the seams.

Having done that I made myself some hot chocolate. And despite now having some more cocoa powder I made it with real chocolate. I even bought a pack of 5 slabs of pure chocolate so that I can do this again for the next while.

And then back in here I sat down and promptly crashed out.

The football had already started when I awoke so I watched the rest of the game. TNS v Bala Town and even though TNS went down to 10 me, with a defender rather harshly sent off, they were always too good for Bala Town.

They won rather comfortably 2-0 but it didn’t do them very much good because Connah’s Quay Nomads beat Penybont and that meant that the Nomads were crowned champions for this season. The 4-1 victory that the Nomads had over TNS a couple of weeks ago proved to be so decisive.

Despite their championship win, the Nomads are rather short on consistency and rather short of strength in depth. If they intend to make progress in European competition and retain their championship, they need to recruit half a dozen good players this close season and move on a few of the fringe players who haven’t contributed enough to the team whenever they have come on to play.

It’s the same with Bala Town. They have a good, solid side but apart from Chris Venables and Henry Jones, they don’t have any players capable of pushing the club up to the next level. And the rest of the League are just also-rans with just the odd star dotted about here and there.

But one thing is quite interesting, and it just goes to show how much the Welsh Premier League has progressed over the last few years is that when an ex-Football League came to play with a Welsh Premier League club it made headline news that reverberated around the pyramid for months.

These days there are ex-Football League players in every club, several players who play International football for their country and a couple of players who were in Wales’ successful Euro 2016 squad. And things can only get better when we see the money that these clubs earn by being successful in Europe.

All of that took me up to the time to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst stop was to go down to the end of the car park and look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon. So dodging the powered hang-glider and other aircraft, I headed in that direction.

There were crowds of people down there this afternoon, which was only to be expected seeing as the holiday season is well under way. The town was heaving with people this morning as I drove out to the supermarket so it was no surprise to see the beach so packed.

We’re at the period of lowest tide too so I imagine that many of them down there are scavenging for seafood. And I hope that they will share their catch with their friends because you mustn’t be selfish with your shellfish.

aeroplane 35-MA place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier I posted a photo of an unidentified aeroplane that flew overhead while I was walking across the car park.

As I walked back, I was overflown again by an aeroplane that was pretty much identical to one of the unidentified ones. And this time I could see the registration quite clearly on the port wing.

Not that it did me any good because the number on the wing is 35-MA and that is not a number that I can find in the series of registration numbers that I have. And so I’m not able to tell you anything about it, unfortunately. There’s certainly no flight plan or trace of it on the flight radar.

citroen sm maserati place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t make it off the car park and off down the path because I was detained by this absolutely gorgeous machine parked here.

It’s been a while since we’ve featured an old car on these pages and to break our barren spell with a vehicle as rare or extraordinary as this is quite exceptional. In case you don’t know what it it, it’s basically a Citroen DS or ID, with the model designation “SM”.

The “S” of course stands for “Sport” but the “M” stands for “Maserati” because the earlier models of the series were powered by the same engine that was in the Maserati Merak and the later ones were powered by the engine out of the Maserati Biturbo.

citroen sm maserati place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe model was made between 1970 and 1975, but only about 13,000 models were made.

In 1974 there were just 294 examples sold and in 1975 a mere 115 so with the rationalisation of the French motor industry in the mid-70s, the poor sales resulted in the model being discontinued. What did for the model was the fact that the tax band in which the vehicle fell was so high that few people could afford to run them.

Nevertheless, if I had to choose a French vehicle of this era to keep as my own, there wouldn’t be any question about it. I would have one of these in a heartbeat. One of these would rival the Maserati Quattroporte in my list of top-10 vehicles.

citroen u23 place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was something else of interest parked up here at the end of the car park.

We’ve seen this vehicle before a few months ago. It’s a Citroen U23 lorry, a type of lorry that was launched in 1936 and was seen everywhere all over France. There are even A FEW EARLY ONES KNOCKING ABOUT ON THE ROADS today. They were also very popular with the French Army in World War II and quite a few were incorporated into the German army after the fall of France.

The earlier models looked very much like a Citroen Traction Avant but the bodywork evolved over the next 30 or so years before the model was abandoned in 1964. This is one of the last redesign of the model, undertaken in the late 1950s.

On that note I finally set off along the path above the cliffs, amongst the madding crowds wearing facemasks to a greater or lesser extent. There was nothing out to sea but as I approached the lighthouse a storm rolled in quite quickly and it began to rain. And so I didn’t wish to hang around for very long outside.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other side of the headland in the rain I looked down on the chantier navale from the viewpoint overlooking the port.

It looks quite strange right now with nothing in there up on blocks down there. It’s not very often that we can see the place looking quite like this without any boats of any description in there. It’s restricted by the fact that the portable boat lift only has a rating of about 95 tonnes, and so that rules out some of the boats that are based in the harbour.

There’s a dry dock here, the Cale de Radoub, in which larger boats could be placed and where they could be repaired but even though that was declared an Ancient Monument in 2008, it’s been out of use since 1978 and will cost several millions to put into working order so that it could be used again.

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the boats that requites an annual inspection is Marité, the old Newfoundland fishing boat that’s based here and which takes passengers out every now and again.

She had to sail to Lorient for her annual overhaul a few days ago as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. She must have come back on the tide last night. I was lucky enough to catch her coming home last year but I missed her this year.

Back here I made myself a mug of hot coffee and sat down to make a start on doing some work. But instead, I crashed out yet again. This is becoming far too much of a habit these days and I’m becoming rather fed up of all of this. I could understand it if I’d done any heavy exercise but even a walk around the block these days is finishing me off.

After I came round and recovered my equilibrium, I spent an hour or so playing the bass. I have to learn the songs on this song list and there’s no time like the present. I ned to exert myself one way or another.

Tea tonight was a burger with pasta and vegetables followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce, which is just as delicious as it was when I made it. And chatting to a few people on the internet later, I posted them my recipe so that they can make it.

Now I’m off to bed, a lot later than usual but it doesn’t matter all that much because I’m having a lie-in tomorrow. And as long as it’s not 13:30 like it was last Saturday, I won’t mind too much.

Saturday 17th April 2021 – REGULAR READERS …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 9th March 2021 – WE’VE BEEN HAVING …

yacht english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… a nautical afternoon this afternoon. It seems that every man and his dog were out there doing some kind of maritime activity this afternoon.

So while you admire the yacht that went sailing by the headland at the Pointe du Roc this afternoon, I finished writing my notes last night, only to find that I couldn’t go off to sleep. In the end I gave it up as a bad job and carried on working on clearing duplicates out of the back-up drive.

It was after 01:30 when I finally went off to bed, which was not what I was planning on at all with an alarm call at 06:00 and a Welsh lesson on Zoom later in the morning.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while you admire another image of a trawler sailing past the headland towards the harbour in the wake of the yacht that we have just seen, I went to find out where I’d been during the night.

And a very welcome return to Zero who a couple of years ago used to accompany me on my travels on quite a regular basis but hasn’t been around for a while.

Last night I was taking her to a football match but it was the middle of the winter so we were putting on layers of clothes. She was dressed in a big heavy coat. When it was time to go I found that I was dressed in some kind of yellow thermal tights but I’d forgotten to put on my trousers so I had to go back. That was annoying because I’d been urging her to hurry up and now she was ready, I wasn’t. Her father wasn’t all that keen on her going – I don’t know if it was because of me or because of the football but her mother was fine with the idea.

This morning, I wasn’t feeling anything like working. It was all that I could do to keep awake and I was really surprised that I’d even managed to crawl out of bed. As a result I was totally unprepared for my Welsh lesson and it didn’t pass very well at all. Most of the time was spent trying to keep awake.

It was a very late lunch too. Our Welsh lesson overran. I was ready for my sandwiches too by the time that we stopped. And to my dismay, the apples that I’d bought the other day haven’t survived.

After lunch I came in to start work but I fell asleep instead. And I was out for about an hour, comfortable on the chair in the office. That was disappointing but it wasn’t a surprise.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy afternoon walk wasn’t disturbed by neighbours or shopping too, but by a flat battery in the NIKON D500. As I went to take a photo of the people out on the Plat Gousset it just petered out.

And so I had to dash back into the apartment where I grabbed hold of the old NIKON D3000 and swap over the camera lens and then dash back out again for my photos.

And when I say “old” NIKON D3000 I do mean “old” as well. It was an end-of-series discontinued range that I bought in a hurry in QUEBEC IN MAY 2012 after I dropped the NIKON D5000 on a concrete floor and cracked the casing.

And to my surprise, it’s kept on going after all this and still producing some kind of acceptable results.

men fishing from zodiac english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I mentioned earlier, we were having a nautical afternoon today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last summer we were seeing here and there a bright yellow zodiac roaring around offshore. We seem to be in luck, or maybe it’s a sign that the summer is here, because the zodiac is back out there offshore.

There are two guys in there fishing – or, at least – one of the two guys is fishing. The second one is fixing his fishing line ready to cast off out to sea.

And I suppose that we’ll be back as we have been every year since I’ve been living here, watching hundreds of people fishing and catching nothing whatever at all.

There was nothing else doing out to sea off the end of the Pointe du Roc, so I walked around the corner to the viewpoint over the port.

fishing boats returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou have probably noticed that the tide was quite a way in so the outer harbour is flooded.

We saw earlier one of the trawlers coming back into port and here is another one coming into the port, one of the crustacean boats with the roof over the hold to keep the seagulls from stealing the catch. There’s already one of the boats there at the Fish Processing Plant unloading its catch.

The two fishing boats that have been moored there for the past couple of days here seem to have moved on today, but the same four boats in the chantier navale are still there, and look as if they are going to be there for a while as well.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA new arrival in the port today though is Thora, one of the two Jersey freighters.

They seem to be finding plenty of work going on right now and that’s good news for the port. We need all of the business that we can find.

Back here at the apartment I had my coffee and coffee cake and finally settled down to do some work. I’ve managed to edit 20-odd photos this afternoon, some of which involved doing some research and involved the help of a few people in a Group on a Social Networking site who were able to identify a twisting pile of metal as a Bedford JSL.

Such is the power of the internet.

During a few pauses here and there I’ve been going through the duplicate files on the back-up drive and what with last night’s “overtime” and the bits and pieces that I’ve done today, I now have 927GB free. But of course, the farther ahead that I advance, the slower the work becomes.

There was the hour on the guitars of course, and then a hurried tea – stuffed peppers with rice and the last of the jam pie- because there was football on the internet again – Barry Town v Penybont in the JD Cymru League.

It’s easy to see why there seem to be three clubs – TNS, Bala Town and Connah’s Quay Nomads – way out in front of the League because this match was really pretty aimless.

These two teams are fourth and fifth, and Penybont won the match with a deflected shot out of nothing from 20 yards, but apart from that neither team ever looked like doing anything. Long, aimless balls out of defence and plenty of misplaced passes, quite a contrast to the skill that was clearly evident on Saturday when TNS played Bala Town.

There’s a huge gap in skill between the top three and those following on behind at quite a distance.

Right now though I’m off to bed. I won’t have a long sleep tonight, thanks to the football, so I probably won’t be on form tomorrow either. But we’ll see how we go. At least the backlog of photos seems to be shifting and that’s something to appreciate, I suppose.

Tuesday 2nd March 2021 – WHAT I SAW …

ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… out to sea this afternoon.

Somewhere in that sea fog out there are the Iles de Chausey but you can’t actually see them this afternoon. After all of the nice weather that we’ve had over the last couple of days, we are now having a change of weather. It’s still warm and bright outside, but as for whether or not there were any clouds in the sky, that’s a completely different story.

What isn’t a completely different story is that once more I managed to stagger to my feet shortly after the first alarm went off at 06:00, and by the time that the third alarm went off I was already sitting at the computer working.

We were all on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR last night, heading off on a cruise somewhere and TOTGA and her 2 kids came to see me off. This was very nice of them of course and I was hoping that it would lead to something further but we’d have to see (and not for nothing is she known as “The One That Got Away). There was still a couple of hours before our ship sailed. Then I had to leave the group with which i was in order to go to the bathroom. This meant stepping off the ship. As I walked down to the bow there were all these people from the restaurant standing around at the front of the ship having a cigarette, people who worked there, so I made a cheery kind of comment which they took in good heart and I walked off down the corridor of the port to try to find the bathroom, all the time thinking that in 2 hours time something might develop with TOTGA if I’m lucky – but just at this point I fell asleep again. And my apologies to Percy Penguin whose word I doubted when she told me that I snored.

Incidentally, just before I went to bed last night I was having a long chat with TOTGA about her daughter. It just goes to show …

Later on, a lady who worked in the OU said that she would do a drawing of me in pen and ink or something so I went to see her. I ended up staying. She was only down the road from Nina’s so I’d been to see her and then gone down to see this woman. She lived just on the border between Wales and England in Wales, 1 mile from the border. We were chatting and she had some shopping to do so we set out and walked along the old railway line that ran past her house into the UK and got to Ashbourne although it wasn’t the Ashbourne that I knew. She did a few bits and pieces and I was trying to go to the toilet but everywhere that I was going was full or there were cars going past or something and in the end we ended up walking back to her house. She had loads of stuff all over the place that she was drawing for people I knew from the OU. I was saying that that was the area where I’d like to live, on the border there. It always struck me as being an extremely romantic type of place and there were places like Tamworth and so on within easy reach. It all seemed so historical and all so interesting compared to Crewe.

That’s something else we were doing too. We’d been to Virlet at one point too, I don’t know why. I had a tiny solar panel there with a USB type of plug on it that you could plug things like telephones that kind of thing into it which would charge up off the solar panel. Quite a few people were interested in that and I was telling them all about it.

Once I’d organised myself I sat down and ran through about 20 photos from my Greenland 2019 trip, making sure that they were edited properly. I’m pressing on with these

Next, I turned my attention to the preparation for my Welsh class. That involved reading through the notes that I made during last week’s lesson, going through it all, and then looking through the course book for the text for this weeks lesson.

The lesson itself passed fairly well, I suppose. I was in a slightly better mood then last week and feeling much more like it.

After lunch I spent some of the time dealing with a few outstanding issues. Now that the new ID cards are coming through the system and being issued, it’s clear that the enormous backlog is being cleared. This is the moment to make my application to convert my ID card to the new type to reflect our revised status on the Mainland.

We now have no more rights over here than any refugee from Somalia or Syria.

Another thing that needed doing was to go through my bank accounts and see how the land lies. I still have my Canada money kicking around and it’ll be two years’ worth soon. With no prospect of going back until at least 2022 and maybe not even then, I need to make it all work for me in the meantime. It’s doing no good in a deposit account.

Unfortunately, the guy whose number I was given wasn’t the correct person and he couldn’t think of anyone who might help me. So it’s back to the drawing board as far as this is concerned.

crowds on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

Once again, as you might expect, the tide is miles out at sea again. These are the highest and lowest tides of the year right now of course and the public areas of the fishing beds are exposed. There were crowds of people on the beach down there by the steps underneath the Place d’Armes but from up here on the cliffs it didn’t look as if they were actually doing the peche à pied

Maybe they were just enjoying the good weather because despite the rolling sea fog that we were having, it wasn’t cold and it wasn’t all that windy.

kids at gymnase jean galfione place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe schools are still out on half-term this evening so it was fairly quiet around the College Malraux this afternoon. No hordes of schoolkids and no parents parked up where they shouldn’t be.

But there was something going on at the Gymnasium Jean Galfione at the back of the school. These kids all seem to be dressed in some kind of corporate outfit so maybe there’s been some kind of team sport going on there this afternoon.

They were sitting there quietly, presumably waiting for Godot so I left them to it and carried on with my walk along the footpath.

renault voltigeur pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHow long is it since we’ve seen an old car on these pages? Quite a while, isn’t it?

My route took me over the lawn and onto the car park at the back of the lighthouse and there sitting quietly is a rather elderly Renault Voltigeur.

We all know about these vehicles and their heavier brothers, the Renault Goelettes. These were the vehicles used by all of the authorities for a 20 year period from the end of the 40s to the end of the 60s and were the typical paniers à salades, “salad baskets”, used by the Police to carry away detainees, although salade is a more polite way of of expressing what they were usually called.

High ground clearance and short wheelbase, they were ideal for the poor state of the roads in France after the war and with a traditional rear-wheel drive and cheap, basic and simple to assemble, they were much more common than the rival Citroen H “garden sheds” but never acquired the same cult status or lasted as long as their Citroen rivals.

It’s very, very rare to see one on the road these days.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been following the adventures of the roofers on their scaffolding at the College Malraux.

They have spent several months working on the side of the roof facing my building and about a fortnight ago they moved their scaffolding round to the side. While I’ve been away they seem to have moved their scaffolding round to the other side of the building and I noticed that they are now busy attacking that slope.

With all of that do do, that’s probably going to take them up to summer, given the speed at which they have been working so far.

digger port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound at the viewpoint overlooking the port there was nothing much going on, and there were just the two boats in the chantier navale.

But I did notice one of the two diggers that have been working in the port seems to have retired from the fray and is now clanking on its tracks up the ramp.

It was difficult to see what was going on with it over there but there was a workman round at the front of the machine, so maybe they are going to change her bucket for one of a different size, or maybe even fit a grab onto the end of the arm. But there wasn’t anything down there to fit it with.

digger tractor port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, out in the port, the other digger is hard at it with the tractor and trailer.

It seems to have dug up a pile of rocks from the bed of the port and is busy tipping them into the trailer to be taken away. And why they would be doing that I really don’t know because they’ll have to go down extremely deep in order to make it into a wet harbour at all states of the tide.

And that gives me an idea. Maybe they are going to fit a breaker attachment onto the other digger so that it can break up some more of the rock.

After watching them for a while I came back here for coffee and some of my delicious vegan cake and then carried on with my arrears of my journey to Central Europe. And once again I crashed out completely for a good half-hour and felt pretty dreadful again when I came round.

The hour on the guitars was quite enjoyable and then I went for tea. Burger on a bap followed by my nice jam pie with the last of the soya coconut dessert.

The good news was that the football is back. Y Drenewydd were playing Penybont and it was a good match. Despite Y Drenewydd being at the foot of the table they were far too good for mid-table Penybont and fully deserved their 2-0 win, and even missed a penalty. Despite the long pause in the season they’ve obviously kept themselves fit as the game was played at 100% for the whole of the 90 minutes. I quite enjoyed watching the game.

Now I’m off to bed, later than usual. But the football is always much more interesting than sleeping. Tomorrow I have a pile of correspondence that needs my attention, some tidying up, and then I need to crack on. There’s plenty to do.

Tuesday 15th December 2020 – I HAD ANOTHER …

fishing boats st helier jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… go at this long-distance night-time photography lark tonight

So winding the ISO down to a very reasonable daylight figure and slowing the speed down to an absurd 4 seconds, I managed to produce this shot. And you can tell how long the aperture was open because while the background is perfectly sharp, the fishing boats in the near distance (they are probably 10 miles out to sea in this shot) are comparatively blurred due to the distance that they have travelled while the aperture was open.

And as well as a nice, light background to the shot, we have plenty of stars in the sky because it was a delightfully clear, cloudless evening.

It’s a shame about the smear on the lens which rather detracts from the photo, but again considering the equipment that I have and the fact that the camera was actually perched on a flat rock to take this photo, I’m really impressed with it. Almost as impressed as I was with my galvanised steel dustbin.

What else that was impressive was the fact that yet again I managed to beat fairly comfortably the third alarm this morning. I seem to be making a habit of this right now, and quite right too.

And after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was around on a huge liner last night but I can’t remember very much about a lot of it now. It’s gone right out of my head. At one point I had someone with me, a young girl and and I was going to take her to show her around the ship. She wasn’t sure whether she would go and she was dithering at the top of this spiral staircase thing that led down to the executive cabins. The purser came by and looked at her and said “if you want to go, go!” That gave her the courage and she came down with me. I showed her around the Executive Suites, everything like that. Then we found ourselves in the steerage where people were all crammed in like sardines. We were walking through there and I was saying to her that for us who were 3rd class passengers when we came on a cruise we just had one of these bunks that was together whereas they had 9 crammed in them somehow. They had no privacy, no curtains or anything yet we did. It turned out that she and her friend had been sleeping on a mattress somewhere. She sleeping in her friend’s room on a mattress, should I say. Yes, she knew about that, she knew where that was kept round the other side. We walked all around this ship and I was fighting the most enormous temptation to put my arm around her. It was really a strange kind of situation. I had the impression that this was Castor or someone like that but I couldn’t really see who it was. The face was very blurred all the way through this voyage, as if it was being done deliberately which is interesting. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember it now, something that has filled me with extreme disappointment, as I’m sure you can imagine.

Later on there had been a dispute about some postings made on a Social Networking conference and someone had complained. It turned out that people were posting in one particular Group and the guy there was referring them to another one. Of course they were way off-topic and people were suggesting that they should be banned but they should have been banned in the other Group where they were and this was the argument between the two sets of Moderators about this. This escalated into something about families, I’m not too sure now. I was working at work, not doing anything at all and my arrears were building up (this is quite a recurring dream, isn’t it?) but I was leaving on the following Thursday, the day before Good Friday so it didn’t really make any difference to me anyway. I was thinking that I’d be back home and then I was thinking that there would be 2 generations of retired people living in our house. That was unusual these days when I retire on Thursday. A discussion took place about various different generations living together. It turned out that in one house there were 5 generations where a girl of 18 who should have been celebrating her marriage ended up in hospital having a baby so there were now 5 generations living in the house where she was living. This dispute about the internet rumbled on. In the end 2 burly Australian farmers were sort-of involved in it. They ended up having to get a car started which they finally managed to do, so where next? They’d hard some kind of description about something happening. 1 of them said “I know, there’s a place not too far away from here where they have sea lions, all this kind of thing, just by where you turn onto the main highway”. Everything he said had the right kind of description about it so 1 of them grabbed the steering wheel of this car they had just fixed and off we all drove in this car.

Having sorted that out, I had some stuff to attend to and then I cracked on and organised myself for my Welsh class

christmas lights place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just revision from last week and preparation for this week that was important, I had to make the place look pretty too – that was part of the activity.

If you look in the photo just here there are now some red, white and blue Christmas lights. I found those while I was tidying up so I strung them up over where I sit, at the dining room table. That’s only a temporary thing – they will be in the other window tomorrow.

Strawberry Moose came to the lesson too, complete with Father Christmas hat. He certainly helps to liven up the proceedings and brings a smile to everyone’s face.

As for the lesson itself, armed with a hot chocolate drink and a slice of my fruit bread, it passed quite well and we seem to be more confident. We were given the same set of questions to answer that we were given in September and the answers were much more rapid and profound.

Interestingly, just as we knocked off for a break, the ‘phone rang. Caliburn’s new battery has arrived, about two days before the suppliers told me that it would even be in stock, never mind delivered. So Caliburn will be having his new battery fitted tomorrow.

But the timing of the phone call was spectacularly precise.

After lunch I set to and made some sourdough dough – 500 grammes of flour and a pile of sunflower seeds together with salt, water and some of my sourdough started. In the attempt to make something decent, I spent absolutely ages folding it in to make it nice and smooth, but having had a look at it just now, it’s not increased all that much in size. I’m feeling that sourdough is not the way for me to go, especially as my fruit bread with yeast worked so well on Sunday.

There were carrots that needed peeling, dicing and blanching too, so I organised them while I was at it. They went into the freezer later.

wassmer w54 f-bukk light aircraft Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was time to go out for my afternoon walk (we don’t finish our Welsh lesson until late).

Quite a few people out there walking today, celebrating the semi-end of our detention à domicile. Also crowds in the air too. There were several light aircraft flying by overhead, including this one, F-BUKK. She’s a Wassmer W54 Atlantic, fitted with a Lycoming O-360-A1LD engine.

She’s actually quite an elderly machine, apparently built in 1973. And that might be quite right too because the company closed down in 1977. So it’s a surprise to see her still out and about.

fishing boats english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallPlenty going on out at sea today too.

Or, at least, there might have been earlier in the day because everyone seems to be coming home now. The tide isn’t yet in but it looks as if we are going to have a queue of boats waiting to get to the fish processing plant.

Not that I was intending to hang around too long. I had plenty of things to do and wanted to return home as soon as I could. I was rather disappointed in that there wasn’t any other kind of interesting movement out there to attract my attention. The correct thing to do was to go and make myself a coffee and move on.

There was some post waiting for me when I returned. The good news is that my Old-Age Pension has finally come through, so Spend! Spend! Spend! The bad news is that the Taxe d’Habitation people have finally caught up with me and there are residence taxes to pay.

So it comes in with one hand and goes out with the other. That’s quite typical, isn’t it?

So having listened to a few radio programmes, I sent three of them off to the technicians. They’ll be on holiday soon and if I don’t have them in stock down there, nothing will be broadcast. And my Christmas Day broadcast is something special.

Another thing to do is to send a bank transfer of cash to my niece for Christmas. She and her family are really kind to me and do such a lot to help me out. And as I haven’t been to Canada this year to repay them, the least I can do is to express my gratitude in another way.

There was the usual guitar practice of course, and then a change to the advertised programme.

We are now in curfew from 20:00 until 06:00 which means an end to my late-night perambulations unfortunately. That made me wonder how I was going to fit it in, because I can’t do without my runs, so I’ve decided for the foreseeable future at least, to go for my run as soon as I finish guitar practice and have my meal afterwards. I’m not sure how this will affect my digestion or my sleeping.

We shall see.

fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve seen the photos of the Channel Islands tonight anyway, so I carried on with all of my runs, along the Rue du Nord, down the steps and along the path, then through the Square Maurice Marland onto the walls.

There was plenty of activity in the port this evening. You saw in the photo of St Helier that there were plenty of fishing boats out in the English Channel tonight. They were starting to come into port as I reached the viewpoint over by the Eglise Notre Dame.

The Fish Processing Plant is working of course – you can see the lights shining from the open doors into the water, and there’s a refrigerated lorry there parked in the loading bay.

fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere had been some other bright lights shining in the harbour that I had missed.

There was a trawler parked on this side of the quay so I wondered if it might have been her, but then in the background there are all kinds of lights shining at the Ferry terminal, and while it’s unlikely that one of the Joly France boats would be coming back at this hour, maybe the little freighter Chausiais has had a little run out.

Nothing gave me a clue, so I walked round the corner, photographed my Christmas lights and then ran on home.

Tea was a burger with pasta and veg and the last of the delicious vegan pesto. No pudding because the football was about to start.

With a vital basement clash of Flint Town v Cefn Druids, a match that neither side could afford to lose or draw if they don’t want to be cast adrift at the bottom of the table, the broadcasters chose to broadcast Penybont V Cardiff Metropolitan, a meaningless mid-table match.

And meaningless it was too. I fell asleep towards the end of the first half for 5 minutes, and by the time the final whistle sounded I had long-since gone off to do other things. Penybont scored quite early in the match but they were restricted to maybe just 2 or 3 other shots on goal, and I don’t recall Ashley Morris in their goal having a serious save to make. The Met were clueless up front and never looked like doing anything at all.

We’ve seen some exciting matches in the JD Cymru Welsh Premier League in the past but this wasn’t one of them. A miserable, depressing match without a single moment of excitement. A poor advert for Welsh football, when so much was at stake up on Deeside.

But now anyway, I’m going to give my sourdough dough a good going over and put it in its mould to work away overnight, and then I’m off to bed.

Tomorrow I’ll be fitting Caliburn’s battery and making a renewed start on some arrears. I’m making no progress at al with those really and I need to sort it all out.

Saturday 5th December 2020 – I’M NOT …

… feeling myself today.

And quite right too, as it’s a disgusting habit.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire some more photos of storms at night on the Plat Gousset, I can tell you that there’s probably a reason for part of my issues, in that not going to bed until about 02:00 and waking up at 06:00 means that I’m probably quite exhausted. But looking around me and the state in which I seem to be living right now, I can see all of the signs of having fallen into the Black Pit.

When I moved here from the farm I vowed that I wouldn’t let my place ever get into this condition, but they seem to be somewhat hollow words now.

But yes, I was indeed awake at 06:00 and although I didn’t quite beat the third alarm to my feet, there was only a matter of seconds in it.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had the medication, I listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And even though there hadn’t been much time in bed, there had still been plenty of time to wander off. We (whoever “we” were) were living in a house in Africa, a great big house. There were servants and all of these people who were living there. Armed guards and everything because the area was a little out of control. We noticed, peering through the forest, that there were 3 horsemen going past in the distance. We didn’t really pay too much attention to them because there were people always going past and usually it was better not to know who they were. Then a few minutes later they came back. One of the servants pointed them out. It turned out that they were dressed as policemen but they were carrying with them this enormous collection of knives. That made them the strangest kind of policemen I’d ever seen. The servant stuck his head out of the window to see. One of the men saw him and gesticulated so he opened the door and words were exchanged. The woman of the house went next to the window to speak to these guys, then turned back and said “we all have to present our papers to these people”. I made sure than I appeared in the window to make sure that they realised that there were a lot more than just the 2 people they had seen so far in the house.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2012/2012044.html”>storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I had a shower and then headed out for the shops. NOZ had a few bits and pieces but nothing of real interest and at LeClerc the only thing that I bought that was unusual was some puff pastry sheets. That is something really complicated to make and way beyond my capabilities, but I have to turn my attention to making my mince pies very soon.

Back here I was too exhausted to unpack straight away so I made my hot chocolate and with a slice of chocolate cake I came in here to sit down and to do some work.

After lunch I came back to continue but fatigue had caught up with me again and I crashed out for half an hour on the chair, feeling pretty much awful.

Nevertheless, I awoke in time for the football. Penybont playing Caernarfon, a nice mid-table match in the JD Cymru League. And whatever it is that I’m suffering from Caernarfon must have had it too because they were as awful as I was. 6-0 the scoreline was to Penybont and, believe me, Caernarfon were lucky to get nil.

With Lord Lucan and Martin Bormann in the defence, Penybont were striding through on goal at will. I felt really sorry for Tyler French in the Cofis goal because on one occasion he made a brilliant reflex save only for the ball to hit the bar with three of his defenders and one attacker standing on the goal line, the ball did have to drop at the feet of the Penybont attacker who did the necessary.

Caernarfon’s midfield was non-existent too and Mike Hayes and Jack Kenny were totally isolated up front waiting for balls that never came. In fact, “balls” is probably a good word. Loads of them.

storm cotentin peninsula Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was time to go for my afternoon walk. A rather late one, in fact as it happens. And I bumped into one of my neighbours on the stairs and we had a little chat amongst ourselves for a couple of minutes.

When I eventually made it outside, the torrential downpour that we had been having for most of the day had ceased and there were just the occasional gusts of rain coming in with the wind. Mind you, further up the coats of the Cotentin Peninsula they were taking a right battering by the looks of things. That’s an evil-looking cloud up there.

The waves, although still quite fresh, aren’t as turbulent as they were last night which is one good thing, I suppose.

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was quite dark by the time that I made it out, partly due to the time and partly due to the thick, heavy clouds blocking out the sunlight.

Instead of the usual Zoom lens, I had the f1.8 50mm lens on the camera and while it doesn’t zoom in or out, it’s made to perform in these conditions. I don’t recall if I have taken a photo of the Rue du Nord in the twilight before, so here’s one of them to be going on with.

You can see where the city walls zig-zag just to the left of centre where the cars are parked. That’s where there’s the little postern gate that leads to the path that runs around underneath the walls which is part of my running track.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis afternoon I was the only person out there, which is hardly a surprise given the weather conditions so I had the place to myself.

My route took me around the path towards the lighthouse and I was surprised to see that the coloured lights on the semaphore were illuminated. I’ve no idea what message it was supposed to be and to whom it was signalling because I couldn’t see any lights on the semaphore stations on the Ile de Chausey or over on the Brittany coast.

Even though it’s pretty dark now (and wasn’t that quick?) the beam on the lighthouse isn’t illuminated yet. They need to get a move on.

At the top I cut across the lawn and then across the car park to the headland but there was nothing going on there. So with no-one about I ran all the way down the footpath on top of the cliffs on the other side.

rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route went past the chantier navale where Ceres II and the yacht were sleeping peacefully still on their own.

One set of Christmas lights that I hadn’t checked were the ones in the Rue du Port. usually they haven’t been up to very much and so I was intrigued to see what they had done. And the answer was simply that they had done nothing to improve on last year’s.

In fact, it’s all pretty depressing, isn’t it? There’s nothing actually around the port at all.

rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was raining fairly heavily, so I took another photo of the Rue du Nord from a slightly different aspect.

When you think that the Port is the main entry to the town for many visitors you would expect the Council to make much more of an effort than this with the Christmas lights. And if I were the owners of Marité I’d have a pile of Christmas lights strung up all over her rigging too.

She would look quite magnificent like that, I reckon, but it seems to be too much effort for some people . I’ve talked about my “interactions” with the crew of the ship before … “and on many occasions too” – ed.

Back here I did more work in a kind-of desultory fashion and then called a halt for tea. Not that I was all that hungry – I just had a bowl of pasta and veg, including some fresh steamed broccoli (this week’s special veg offer from LeClerc) tossed in olive oil, garlic and some vegan pesto that I found in NOZ a while back (that’s why I like NOZ – it comes up with all kinds of interesting things now and again).

Musée d'art moderne Richard Anacréon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halllater in, in the drizzle, I went out for my evening run around the walls.

Not along the footpath under the walls though. Many of the footpaths are flooded after the rains of today and down there it must be dreadful. I stayed up on the road and walked and ran around to the Place de l’Isthme and the Musée d’Art Moderne Richard Anacréon which I haven’t photographed in the night before as far as I remember.

And I needn’t really have bothered tonight either because I couldn’t find a decent spec to take the picture.

christmas lights cours jonville rue du bosq abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom right up here though there’s a good view across the town and we can see more Christmas lights down there on the Bank and the Post Office in the Cours Jonville.

But what we can also see by the side of the Rue du Bosq is the abandoned railway line down to the port. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that here and there I’ve posted photos of bits of the railway network that runs through the town and around the port. It’s quite substantial and must have seen a lot of use when the harbour was full of all of the cod fishers that went out to the Grand Banks around Newfoundland.

All that has gone though now with the exhaustion of the cod stocks, and the railway network has unfortunately gone with it.

The wind was back up too and we were having some more stormy waves, as you saw earlier. I took a few pics and then ran on home to write up my notes and have a long chat with my friend in the UK.

A lie-in tomorrow and I can’t say that i’m sorry either. I know that i’m sickening for something but I don’t know what, so plenty of rest and sleep will be the order of the day I think.

But I mustn’t forget to make some pizza bases. I’ve run out yet again and we can’t have a Sunday evening without a pizza, can we?

Friday 22nd November 2019 – WHAT ODDS …

… would you have given on me walking into a social centre here in Granville on the West Normandy coast and bumping into three young girls who I have met before … in a small town called Uummannaq in the far north of Greenland?

Yes, it’s true that it’s “Greenland week” here in Granville, but even so, it’s a pretty long shot, isn’t it?

heidinnguaq jensen girls from orphanage uummannaq music dancing granville manche normandy franceWe’ve all seen this smile before, haven’t we?

It’s the smile that I have as the background to the desktop on my little old laptop and the girl to whom it belongs is my friend Heidinnguaq, she who spent half an hour or so posing for me last year when I was there.

And here she is in Granville too, with a few of her friends.

After my marathon session the other evening, last night I was in bed at something like a realistic time last night. Plenty of time to go on a travel or two. And who should I meet last night was my friend Ric. I’m not sure exactly how it had come round to this but I’d come to the town where he lived. I’d been round to where there were shelves and books and like cupboards and so on and it was some kind of description about what I was going to be doing and what I was going to be. Anyway, I knocked on his door, and he came out and we had a little chat. I told him that I was going out with someone later that evening. In fact I was going out with a lot of people but I was hoping that one particular person would be there. He stepped off his door and came in and said “what’s all this about?” and said something like a tree – an oak or a sycamore or something like that. It turned out that that was an euphemism that I had been using on this piece of paper stuck on this wall about the person that I was hoping to see that evening. So I said “yes, I’m going on a date”. I didn’t tell him too much – just enough to get his appetite interested. And that was when I awoke. It goes without saying that the person whom I was hoping to meet was Castor.

The alarms went off as usual and I leapt out of bed (and I did too!) ready for an early start. And after breakfast I did another magnum opus from the pile on the dictaphone. Only one (and half another) but it was certainly one of the longest.

And having transcribed it, I can see why it was one of the ones that affected me so much. It was very similar to one that I had back in May where the world was coming to an end and I was the last survivor. There I was, all alone on the beach watching the world come to an end just like in Neville Shute’s novel On The Beach, and as the narrator brings the story to a close, his prose breaks, in perfect time and perfect scan, into a speech that runs into a slightly amended version of the final couple of lines of the lyrics (which he speaks) of “The Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”.

Well, the night in early September that I transcribed this morning was just like that, and it was such a surprise not just because of the event, but because of the fact that I’d been there a short while earlier in almost identical circumstances. And the narrator’s hypnotic speech added a certain amount of tension to the whole thing too.

But I couldn’t hang around doing that all morning. There were plenty of other things to do, such as to prepare my speech and select about 25 photos from my visit to Uummannaq.

fishing boats entering port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThat took me up to about 13:00 – usually that’s lunchtime but there’s only frozen bread here so I went down to the boulangerie for another dejeunette down in the town to make my sandwiches.

The tide was well in by now and all of the fishing boats were coming into the harbour to bring their catch to the fish-processing plant.

You can see all of the equipment lined up on the quayside.

fishing boat leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd the turn-round in the port was pretty rapid. I’ll tell you that.

It takes me about 5 minutes or so to walk from the top right down the stairs – the escalier des noires-vaches – to the rue du Port. And by the time that had reached the bottom, the yellow and white boat that we saw arriving was just on its way back out to sea.

They don’t hang about in the harbour when there are other fish to fry, that’s for sure.

la grande ancre leaving fishing boat entering port de granville harbour manche normandy franceIn fact, it was so busy in the inner harbour today that we had something of a traffic jam.

There was La Grande Ancre waiting to leave port, but she was unable to because there was another fishing boat on its way in. La Grande Ancre had to wait a good few minutes for the other boat to make its way through the gates before she could make her way out.

Of course, that’s no reason to complain. A busy fishing port is an important asset to the community.

After lunch I made a decent adapter cable for the new laptop out of a cut-down North American extension lead that was hanging around in Caliburn. I cut it down so that there was about a foot or so on the socket end, and added an old European plug on the bare end.

And it works to perfection too. Nothing wrong with that! And then I uploaded Paint Shop Pro and made a slide show out of the photos that I had chosen.

While I had Pint Shop Pro and the external DVD dive out, I reinstalled it onto the laptop that broke down in North America and which I managed to restart. I’m going to see if I can make it run again, although I’m not sure why I would want to.

drum dancing girls from orphanage uummannaq music dancing granville manche normandy franceAt 15:45 the guy from the Education Department came to pick me up and took me to the Sports Hall at the local High School, and that was where I met Heidinnguaq and her friends.

First thing that I did was to scrounge a huge television and couple up my laptop to it, and then set my slideshow in motion.

It would provide a little ambience to the meeting.

girls from orphanage uummannaq music dancing granville manche normandy franceWe had a little talk, that didn’t last too long, and having done their drum dance, throat singing and polar bear dance (the one that Jena did for me last year in Uummannaq), Heidinnguaq was prevailed upon to produce her guitar.

She’s an excellent guitarist and singer, and has written quite a few songs of her own. She played a couple and then did a number by Amy Winehouse.

Mind you, having English as her third language, I hope that she didn’t understand the significance of what she was singing. The lyrics, to a native-English-speaking person, are full of innuendo that a foreigner will probably not understand.

There was a question and answer session afterwards, which I translated, and then in the best tradition of the News of the Screws, I made my excuses and left.

Back here, it was tea-time. I had a rummage around in the freezer and found some lentil, pepper and potato curry from 24th August … errr … 2018. That was just as nice today as it was back then, especially as it was followed down by more rice pudding.

Later, I took out the rubbish and braving the wind and rain, made a hurried circuit of the headland, including a brief run for a few hundred metres. Short of my target unfortunately but there you go.

When I returned, there was football on the internet. Barry Town v Penybont (Bridgend to the uninitiated) in the Welsh Premier League.

For the first 15 minutes you wouldn’t have believed that Penybont were at the bottom of the table and Barry at the top. From the action up until that point you would have said that it was the other way round.

However, as the match progressed, Barry began to exert themselves and they ran out 3-0 winners. The result was right, but the scoreline was rather unfair. Barry’s goals were

  • a well-worked routine from a corner
  • a screamer from 25 yards that could have gone anywhere
  • a defensive error where the full_back slipped on the wet surface and lost control of the ball, with a Barry Town player the quickest to react to the loose ball
    • But credit to Penybont. They kept on going regardless and even in injury time they were still pushing forward playing some constructive football.

      All they need is to get the run of the green.

      It’s quite late now but I’ve been spending all the evening editing photos. All of the photos that I took of the girls I’ll post on a separate page when I get round to it.

      Just one more special event, and that’s tomorrow evening. And then I ca get back round to the usual busy stae without any of these extra jobs cropping up.

      I could do with a rest.

      la grande ancre waiting to leave port de granville harbour manche normandy france
      la grande ancre waiting to leave port de granville harbour manche normandy france

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

Friday 16th August 2019 – SO HERE I AM …

… in Toron.to about to start the fourth leg of my journey. So if you don’t hear from me for a while don’t worry. It merely means that I can’t find a reliable internet connection.

Last night was a really bad night and I don’t know why. I couldn’t get off to sleep and when I did, I couldn’t stay asleep for long.

but I was still up and about reasonably early, having medication and then going down to breakfast.

it took me a good while to organise myself after that but eventually I was ready for the shuttle bus to the airport. It was pretty busy and one guy spent all of the journey talking into his mobile phone and saying nothing except basically “how clever I am and how stupid my clients are” to someone else on the other end of the phone. Not one of the rest of us could understand a single sentence that he was saying.

The airport was busy but the wait through security wasn’t that long and after a thorough examination of my new laptop I was able to proceed.

The plane was pretty full but my neighbour was rather bizarre. I said “hello” to her but she looked back at me as if I had two heads. Never had that in Canada before.

At Toronto it took a while for our suitcases to appear and then I trotted off to the hotel. I’m on the 7th floor in the “secure” area – can’t think why.

We had our expedition briefing later and I met a couple of old friends. But the vultures at the head of the queue cleaned out the buffet – and how – before those of us farther behind could be served. Looking at the mountain of food on some of the plates, then some people have no shame.

I trotted off to Subway for a sandwich and then came back to watch the football. Newly promoted Penybont were playing Barry Town in the opening match of the Welsh Premier League – now the JC Cymru League.

For the first half Penybont played quite well with some nice football, compared to Barry Town’s idea of “hoof it upfield and hope McLaggon can run fast”. 60%-32% possession told its own story.

But in the second half Barry improved and ended up winning 2-1. A bit unfair on Penybont who deserved something from the game.

I’m off to bed now. It’s an early start in the morning. And I don’t know when I’ll see you all again but I’ll catch up eventually.