Tag Archives: pierre

Wednesday 23rd February 2022 – NOW THAT THE WIND …

woman sitting on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… has calmed down to just “high speed” instead of LUDICROUS SPEED, people are slowly returning to their old habits.

For the first time for a while, there was someone this afternoon sitting down on the bench at the end of the headland at the Pointe du Roc admiring the view.

At least, I imagined that they were admiring the view, because it was one of these days when admiring the view required quite an effort because there was some kind of hazy mist out there which meant that you couldn’t see all that far this afternoon.

contrasting water pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There was however something for me to see, that certainly isn’t to anyone else’s taste.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that every now and again we see something strange happening in the water where there are a couple of distinct colours and a distinct line between them.

Today was one of those occasions, as you can see in the image just here. I’ve no idea what causes this effect – it’s certainly nothing to do with the underlying nature of the sea bed and nothing to do with the clouds in the sky either because we have 10/10ths cloud today.

As for me, I also had another few hours of uninterrupted sleep. In bed at 23:50 and the first file on the dictaphone was timed at 03:41, so that’s almost 4 hours and that’s pretty good going for the last few weeks.

Nevertheless it was a struggle to leave the bed at 07:30. In fact it was more like 07:50 when I finally showed a leg and then I staggered off to take my medicine.

The morning was a very slow start but eventually I managed to summon up the strength to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I’d been injured in some fighting that had taken place and been taken to hospital but the opposing army was closing in so I put on a disguise to modify my appearance. I thought that it looked OK but someone else there thought that it was quite obvious that it was a disguise and spoilt the effect. This led to a bitter argument between the two of us and it ended up by me striking out at this person because I thought that everything was perfect and I was bound to escape detection if the enemy came into this town.

Later on I was out with Paul Temple and his mate, Sexton Smith or whatever his name was, except that in the radio programmes his assistant was a woman called Steve. We were going to do something that involved a trip down the coast of South-West England and North-West France. It meant getting a few things ready but my bedroom was a tip with dismantled Cortina parts all over the place. it took me ages to sort out what things that I needed. We got everything together and the two of us, Paul Temple and me and a third guy who was some kind of French person, we set off from the house in a car down this very long drive. When we reached the main road we got out and got into Paul Temple’s car which was a left-hand drive French registered Austin Cambridge. I asked “what about the food and the things we need to take?”. They replied “you’re in charge of that” so we had to get out the food that we need for the journey. It came to the case of hiring an aeroplane and that was my job too apparently. We then had to pick up his friend and that meant going back up the drive to this house again. Halfway up the drive we encountered another vehicle travelling slowly so we overtook it on this muddy drive but there was an electricity post in the way so we had to swerve back and almost cut up this car. In the meantime he said to the guy who was with us “you fancy a Honda, don’t you? There’s one for sale on the front here” so they talked about this Honda for a while. When we returned to the courtyard in front of this house one of the people there was a schoolteacher – there were several outside – but his friend Sexton Smith or whatever his name was still hadn’t turned up

One thing that I forgot to mention about Paul Temple was the tomcat, a long-haired ginger cat, which had the ability to blend in with whatever boundary it was against and was a valuable member of this expedition, and whatever that is supposed to mean, I really don’t know.

Ingrid telephoned me too, which was very nice because I’ve not heard from her for ages. We had the kind of chat that would rival any one that I’ve had with Rosemary, but then a lot of things have happened since we last spoke to each other.

While I was rummaging around in the freezer I came across a bag of what looked like pie filling and so that gave me an idea for a cunning plan. I put it out to defrost. However it turned out to be some kind of potato curry, by which time it was too far defrosted to put it back.

After lunch, I sprang into action.

For reasons that will become apparent tomorrow, I decided that I needed to bake a cake. For some reason or other I had a fancy for a coffee cake so yesterday I’d trawled the internet for a suitable recipe for a vegan coffee cake using ingredients that I had to hand.

Having finished my butties and fruit I set about mixing everything together in accordance with the instructions. This time I mixed the dry ingredients separately from the wet ingredients and it all seemed to go really well when I combined both lots.

While it was baking, I made a vegan pie with the mix that had defrosted and some pastry that I knocked together while I was in the mood. There wasn’t enough mix to fill the pie so I lengthened it with a tin of sweetcorn and then a tin of lentils.

The cake took ages to bake – probably double the time that it said in the recipe. I think that my oven is rubbish as everything I bake doesn’t work out properly.

When it was done I took it out to cool and put the pie in to bake.

There was a recipe for some vegan coffee cream cake filling that would go really nicely in between the two layers of cake. And having struggled with the icing for the Christmas cake, I mixed it all in the whizzer and that seemed to work perfectly.

coffee cake vegan pie place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When the cake cooled, I cut it in half, spread the cream on the top of one of the halves and pressed them together, and then iced the cake with the remainder.

Here I found an unexpected problem. I’ve never, in all the time that I’ve been baking, had a cake that has risen as well as this one, and as a result it’s too tall to go in my cake tin. I wish now that I’d brought the giant one with me from the Auvergne.

And one thing that I can say, is that if the finished cake tastes as good as the mix did when I licked the spatula, it will be absolutely delicious.

Much later than usual because of the time that the cooking took, I went out for my afternoon walk. However, on the car park I encountered Pierre, the skipper of Spirit of Conrad, and we spent a good few minutes chatting about his plans for the forthcoming season with his craft.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022After he had wandered off back inside the building I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

There weren’t as many people down there this afternoon as there have been over the past few days. Just one or two ambling aimlessly about and someone on the water’s edge scaving for seafood amongst the rocks.

You can see plenty of shellfish stuck to the rocks down there, but the key, apparently, is to find some that are still living. If they are dead then they are of no use and, of course, many of them will have been pillaged by our feathered friends.

trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was looking down on the beach my eyes were also roving around out at sea to see what was going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we peered through the gloom and saw a trawler working away off the Ile de Chausey in the Baie de Granville.

At this distance, because it has to be about 10-12 miles away from where I’m standing, it’s not possible to identify it and I can’t even be sure that it was the same one that was out there yesterday.

Since Brexit and the issues with the Jersey authorities, we’ve seen more and more fishing boats working away out there rather than being further out in the bay.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was here, I had a different view over the section of the wall that they have been repairing in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

The first thing that I noticed was that I could now see the wall from where they have removed the covering to the scaffolding, and they have totally repointed all of that and rebuilt the part of the wall that is above the level of the street.

The second thing that I noticed was that there was someone down there on the scaffolding pointing away at one of the two very large cracks in the wall. And that’s the kind of crack that will take an awful lot of filling.

It will look lovely when it’s finished, although when that might be is anyone’s guess. And then what bit are they going to do next?

people on beach pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Not very many people about on the path this afternoon so I had a very quiet and comfortable walk down to the lighthouse this afternoon.

We’ve already seen someone down on the rocks at the Rue du Nord looking for shellfish, and further along on the beach there was someone else having a go.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw the marker just of the coast here, most of which was covered by the tide. Today though, the tide is well out and we can see all of the marker and the man having a scratch around will give you an idea of the scale of how high the tides are when they come right in.

new flagpole monument to the resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that the other day we saw that the bolts had been drilled in the new concrete base for the flagpole that will replace the one that was blown down in the storm a while back.

When we saw it I mentioned that I supposed that within the next few days we would see the flagpole back up, and here it is today, properly erected. They did that quicker than I was expecting, especially knowing the pace at which they work around here.

So I wandered off across the car park and down to the end of the headland to see what was happening out at sea and to check on whoever might be sitting on the bench out there. And then I wandered off down the other side of the headland.

yacht tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday down at the chantier naval, we saw some activity with the portable boat lift as it was busy caressing Tiberiade, and I wondered what it was doing.

It’s not possible to see what was going on between the two of them yesterday but today, there’s a new arrival in there. Another yacht is down there receiving attention. And that has an interesting arrangement holding it up in the horizontal.

Back here I had a coffee and, not falling asleep, I made a start on some of the older dictaphone notes that have been hanging around waiting to be dealt with. Just a mere 19 to do now and then I’ll be ready to build up another backlog

Tea tonight was a delicious teamed veg with vegan sausage and vegan cheese sauce. Another delicious meal that I really enjoyed.

Tomorrow I’m having a lie-in, for reasons that will be apparent. I’m not sure that I deserve one after how inactive I’ve been over the last few weeks but I’m going to have one again – if only to see who will be coming with me on a nocturnal ramble or two.

Sunday 30th January 2022 – NORMAL SERVICE …

f-giki Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… has resumed, at long last.

While I was out for my afternoon walk today I was overflown by an aeroplane from the airfield down the coast.

Well, not exactly overflown because it was way, way out in the bay and I had to do quite a bit of manipulation … “PERSONimpulation” – ed … in order to work out who she was.

She is in fact F-GIKI, one of the Robin DR400s owned by the local aero-club and, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s the first aeroplane that we have seen at close quarters since I can’t remember when.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s also been an absolute age since we’ve seen a pleasure boat out at sea too.

And today, out in the Baie de Granville, there’s a yacht threading its way out towards the Ile de Chausey.

Under diesel power too by the look of things. She’s creating a wake so she’s obviously moving, but her sails have not been unfurled so it’s not the wind that’s pushing her along.

At this kind of distance I can’t see who she is, but I can say that she isn’t Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went down the Brittany coast 18 months ago. Her skipper was sitting on the wall outside the building and we actually had a good chat as I set off for my walk this afternoon.

cabanon vauban people on bench rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Normal service has also been resumed down by the cabanon vauban too.

After a period of absence, we now have some people back sitting on the bench down there, as well as someone sitting on the rocks out at the very end of the headland.

It looks as if people are resurrecting their old habits, despite the rapidly-mounting infection and death toll. It seems to me very much as if people have given up the fight against Covid, and that’s a catastrophe. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, i’ve been told to my face that it I catch it, I’m a goner.

In fact, this morning, I felt like a goner too.

Or maybe I should say “this afternoon” because it was 12:15 when I arose from the dead. And that’s despite going to bed as early as 01:00 too.

And the sore throat is back, so is the cold, so is the inertia, so is absolutely everything. And I’m glad that I paired off the music yesterday because I wouldn’t have been able to do it today.

After lunch, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. People were being interviewed about the effect of the Covid pandemic on their lives. Most people were saying that they were treating it as something that had become normal. There was only one girl who thought that it was something completely special that had changed her life and done things differently because of it. She was standing on the harbour bridge when they were lowering a boat into the water about 30 or 30 feet below where she was standing. Once the boat hit the water she jumped in too and had a greatbig splash across the harbour, swam to the boat and climbed in

Later on there was something to do with a kite that was flying around the Pointe du Roc. He hadn’t made it go very high but there was still a crowd of people there watching him and seeing what he was doing with it.

So no Zero, no TOTGA, no Castor and (thankfully) no family either. All in all, it was rather quiet during the night. I wonder what went wrong.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022That led me up to my afternoon walk.

This afternoon was a really beautiful day, just like mid-April in fact. And while there wasn’t much beach down there, the way that the tide is right now, there were still crowds of people down there making the most of whatever beach there was.

There were crowds of people loitering around up here on top too. The path was packed with folk this afternoon.

Among the people out and about was Pierre, the skipper of Spirit of Conrad. He was sitting on a wall with a couple of other people having a good chat. I joined in and the discussion turned to Greenland and we did our best to try to persuade him to run an expedition out there one of these days.

f-giki Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A little earlier, we’d seen F-GIKI setting out on a flight out into the baie de Granville.

What I would usually do is to check the flight logs and radar plots to see where she was going but I didn’t bother in this case because a couple of minutes later she was back. “Forgotten to switch off the water” I mused.

A few minutes later, another aeroplane flew back again out to sea only this time I was far too far away to take a good shot of it to see if it was F-GIKI going back out again. I was around the other side of the headland.

marker buoys baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But before that, my attention had been caught by a variety of objects out there in the bay.

Closer examination revealed them to be marker buoys of the type that fishermen use when they had sunk some lobster pots or have some kind of net out. We don’t usually see them as close as this to shore.

And have you ever seen a lobster pot? How on earth do you train a lobster to use one of those?

On that note I carried on with my little walk around the headland, across the car park and down to the end of the headland where I saw the people sitting on the bench and on the rocks.

speedboat yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There was yet more action out there, and this is probably what has attracted the attention of the people sitting down there at the end of the headland.

There’s a yacht out there having a little perambulation, and as I watched, a speedboat came roaring by as if, as they say around here, il a le feu dans ses fesses – “he has a fire up his … errr … posterior”.

Anyway I wasn’t going to stay around to see what he was doing, I wandered off back home. There wasn’t anything else of any excitement going on, as if I haven’t already had enough for one day.

Immediately after lunch I’d taken the final lump of pizza dough from the freezer and that had been sitting defrosting all afternoon.

Back here I gave it a really good kneading, rolled it out with my new rolling pin (which is excellent, by the way) and put it on the pizza tray so that it might raise itself from the dead too.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When it was ready I assembled my pizza (forgetting the peppers, by the way) and then shoved it in the oven .

And I do have to say that this was one of the very best ever pizzas that I have ever made. I was well-impressed with this one. Everything about it was perfect.

While I was waiting for it to do its stuff I was occupied doing something that you will never believe. And neither do I, as it happens. But I actually did some tidying up in the bedroom. And that’s not “normal service” by any means, is it?

Not a lot of tidying up, it has to be said, so there’s no need for you to worry. But nevertheless for a Sunday too, that’s really quite extraordinary. There are even places where I can see the floor in here.

But right now I’m going to see my bed. There’s an 06:00 start on a Monday so that I have plenty of time to prepare my radio programme. And there’s plenty of other stuff too, if I could only organise myself (which is a thankless task these days, I know) and a trip to see the physiotherapist.

Another thing that I need to do is to book my travel to Leuven. It’s not long now before I need to leave for my next appointment and I can’t keep on leaving things until the last minute like I usually do. I have to be much better organised than I am.

But not right now. I’m off to bed.

Friday 27th August 2021 – JUST IMAGINE …

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… walking out of the front door of your building and being confronted with this!

What with one thing and another, my peregrinations today totalled 98% of my daily effort and so I wasn’t going to give up at that particular point – so I decided to just nip out for a quick lap around the block to take the total over the 100%

With it starting to go dark, I debated whether or not to take the NIKON D500 with me, and I’m really glad that I did. It’s been a long time since we’ve featured a really decent sunset.

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you lot admire some more photos of the sunset this evening, let me tell you about my day starting at the beginning.

As you might expect these days, I didn’t have my early night last night. Just as I was on the point of switching off the computer, Jethro Tull came round on the playlist. And so I was treated to an earful of –
A PASSION PLAY
BENEFIT and
STAND UP
three of the finest rock albums that have ever been recorded

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, I did go to bed before
AQUALUNG and
THICK AS A BRICK
came around, just in case …

What surprised me more than anything was that I was up and about at 06:00 just as usual despite the lateness of the hour at which I went to bed. And I can’t keep on going like this.

It took me a while to clear my head, as I’m sure you can imagine, and after the medication I had a few things to do.

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe early part of the morning was spent alternating between

  1. tidying up
  2. resting
  3. crashing out

not necessarily in that order.

But the tidying up was because I was expecting visitors. Liz and Terry wanted to see me.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you lot admire some close-up photos of the Galeon Andalucia, I was going through the apartment like a dose of salts.

By the time that they arrived, the apartment (well, the parts that you could see) was actually looking quite nice and that must have come as quite a shock to my visitors. It’s been a while since they have been to visit me and they aren’t used to this.

Terry had brought his laptop with him. A few months ago I had fixed Liz’s computer and made it work much better, and now Terry was wondering if I could do the same for his. So that’s a job for some time next week.

But that wasn’t the main reason for their visit. They really wanted to tell me that I have to say “goodbye” to an old friend

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that just a short while before I was taken ill, I’d bought a small mini-tractor for the farm – a Kubota B1220. And I’d done just 13 hours on it, mostly as a generator powering the cement mixer, before I fell ill

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt had been left down on the farm when I was taken ill and a neighbour had contacted me to tell me that someone had been “playing” with it so Terry and I went to rescue it.

It’s been in the bottom of Terry’s barn ever since.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … one of their acquaintances had seen it, had a good look at it, and then made them an offer. As a result, they came round this morning with a bundle of folding stuff.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s like the story of the digger. I was sorry to see that go last summer but I’m in no state to do anything with them and it’s just a couple of things fewer to worry about.

As a reward I took Liz and Terry out for a coffee at La Rafale where we had a good chinwag and a good laugh at the antics of a cat sitting outside o a third-floor window ledge and an eighteen month-old toddler.

We discussed a few plans for the future and then decided to go for a walk down to the harbour and look at the Galeon Andalucia and whatever else was down there this morning.

black pearl port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing that we noticed was that there was a small fuel tanker down on the quayside. The driver was busy coiling up his hose as if he’d finished his work.

Where has was parked was right by where Black Pearl and her younger sister Le Pearl who sailed into the port for the first time last autumn were moored.

As we watched, Black Pearl cast off her mooring and set out from the quayside. The harbour gates were open and so it looked as if, having been refuelled, she was setting off to work. And I imagined that Le Pearl would be following her as soon as she’s ready.

philcathane galeon andalucia granville victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut really it was the Galeon Andalucia that we had come to see, just like everyone else in Granville I reckon.

To her left though is the trawler Philcathane, with the Channel Island ferry Granville immediately behind her. To the right of Granville is her colleague Victor Hugo.

My plan was for us all to go aboard for a good look around but Liz and Terry had other things to do so we just loitered around taking a few photos. Then, in the best traditions of the News of the Screws, we “made our excuses and left”.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallActually, the Galeon Andalucia wasn’t the only game in town this afternoon.

While we had been looking at the galleon, we’d see some rather distinctive sail-tops go past behind the harbour wall, so distinctive that there were no prizes for guessing to whom they belonged.

One look at the familiar “G90” number on the sails will tell us that it is indeed La Granvillaise out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel with a ship-load of passengers on board.

She’s someone else towing behind her an inflatable dinghy that will have room for probably about a quarter of the people currently on board.

chausiaise entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLiz and Terry don’t come to Granville all that often and so they aren’t aware of the new boats that have been coming into the port recently.

One of them, whom they haven’t seen before, is the little freighter Chausiaise that takes the supplies and the luggage over to the Ile de Chausey.

This is the last weekend of the main holiday season so she’s going to be busy bringing back all of the luggage of the people who have spent the summer out there, and of the holidaymakers whose two weeks in what has laughingly been described this year as “the sun” has come to an end.

commodore voyager english channel France Eric HallBy now, back at the apartment Liz and Terry made ready to leave, but before they did so, I had a quick glance out to sea from the car park.

A big white blob right out there on the horizon indicates that something large has not long ago set out from the port of St Helier heading for the UK. I took a speculative snap of it to see if I could identify it back at the apartment.

It looked very much like one of the Condor high-speed ferries, and I noticed that Condor Voyager had set sail from the port at 10:32. She would seem to fit the bill quite nicely.

Back in the building I bumped into a couple of neighbours and we had quite a chat. And I’ve been invited to go for coffee with one of them on Sunday afternoon.

There wasn’t much time left before lunch to do very much, and the first thing that I did after lunch was to have a shower. I have the therapist so I need to look clean and tidy. And I switched on the washing machine too afterwards

marite philcathane galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce I was ready, i hit the streets.

Down the hill in the Rue des Juifs I paid a call at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour. As well as the Galeaon Andalucia, Marité was in port as well and the two of them made a very nice photo, together like that.

Peering through the rigging of Marité we can see the little trawler Philcathane moored up where the gravel boats used to moor when they came here. To the left of Marité is the little red, white and blue boat that we have seen quite regularly just recently.

And I can confirm that she is indeed Les Epiettes, the one that we saw last year out at the Ile de Chausey. She was down there this morning and I noticed her name as we went past, but I forgot to say..

Having taken the photo, I pushed off through the town and up the hill for my appointent with destiny.

emergency ambulance rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I came out of the physiotherapist just in time to see an emergency ambulance, all bells and flashing lights, go roaring past me.

It stopped a few hundred metres down the road and the guys within leapt out and went into a building just there. By the time that I caught up with them, they were still inside so I have no idea what was happening.

As it was quite a nice afternoon I decided that I’d go down to the harbour and have a good look around at what was happening there. We’d seen Galeon Andalucia and Les Epiettes earlier this morning, but there was plenty of other stuff that I wanted to see but had been unable to do so

It’s not easy gratuitously wandering around when you’re in company.

While I was down there, I noticed that the harbour gates were closed so I could go back that way home. Spirit of Conrad was in port and Pierre, her skipper, was there so we had quite a chat for a while about this and that.

His trips to the Channel islands have restarted and ordinarily I might be interested but I have another cunning plan for that.

repainting charlevy charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s a trawler that we should all recognise, because we’ve seen it often enough just recently.

She’s the trawler Charlevy who spent a considerable amount of time just recently undergoing a repaint at the chantier naval.

And by the looks of things, the paintwork wasn’t completely finished there either. The workman standing on the roof of the bridge is armed with a paintbrush, a roller and a large tub of thick black paint and he’s giving the “ancillaries” a good covering.

And she’ll need it too once she’s out at sea this autumn and winter.

yellow autogyro port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the meantime while I was watching the work going on aboard Charlevy an old familiar noise roused me from my slumbers.

Rattling by overhead went yet another familiar face, the yellow autogyro that we see quite often flying by as we are out and about on our travels.

But right now I’m going out and about over the harbour gates to the other side, stopping on the way to exchange pleasantries with a fisherman who actually has a bucket with a couple of crabs in it that he has caught.

So that’s a first for me.

briscard pierre de jade catherine philippe chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here I went down to the chantier naval to have a look at the fishing boats that were in here, and to see if I can identify them.

Two of the three here were pretty easy to identify because I could see their names displayed. On the left, the smaller white and blue one is called Briscard and on the right, the red, blue and white one is called Catherine Philippe.

The middle one was not so easy, but as I was pondering over it, someone came down the ladder on the far side, so I asked him. “She’s the Pierre de Jade he replied.

So now I know.

peccavi unknown saint andrews chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the other three here, I didn’t have the same luck.

Once again, two of them were easy to recognise. On the left, we have Peccavi and on the right under the tarpaulin is Saint Andrews – a rather unusual name for a French fishing boat. Why didn’t they call her Saint-André?

But then, if they can call a French trawler Trafalgar, they can call one almost anything.

The black and blue one in the middle remains a mystery. No name was visible and there was no-one around to ask.

retimbering hull peccavi chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was having a prowl around, I noticed this rather unusual work going on with Peccavi.

It looks as if they are sheathing her hull in tongue-and-grooving and I have never seen that done before on a sea-going boat. I wonder what the reason is for this.

But i’m not going to find out right now because there isn’t anyone to ask. Anyway, it’s time for me to be going home and it’s a long haul back up the hill from here. And by the time that I reached the top, I was pretty exhausted too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBefore I go in though, I ought to have a look down onto the beach to see what’s happening there this afternoon

Surprisingly, there weren’t too many people down there this afternoon. It’s not exactly the height of summer, as I realise, but it was still nice enough for people to be out on the beach enjoying one of the last days before the holidays are over.

That was about the sum total of my trip out this afternoon. I came back for my smoothie and to sit down and relax – and to fall asleep as well.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too, as I noticed later. I was on board a ship last night. Something had happened and my right leg had been injured. They were saying that they were going to have to amputate it. Of course I was totally opposed to that idea. Nevertheless they doped me up with local anaesthetic and operated away. I was trying to stagger round this common room trying to make myself comfortable. I was just so awful about this. I sat down and there was some news on the TV about 4 marathons that were being run at the same time when there was total confusion about who was in which one and where, as well as on one occasion where on a studio leg someone had tripped over an apparatus and fallen into the athletics’ 100-yard sprint track, demolished all of the hurdles just as all the runners were running up to it so they were all entangled as well. That was so real, that dream having my leg cut off and that was one nocturnal voyage that made me very relieved when it was over.

After tea I went out for my little stroll as I mentioned earlier, and now it’s time for bed. I have shopping in the morning and hence an early start. I think that I’ve done enough for today.

Thursday 13th May 2021 – IT’S AN ILL WIND …

kite surfing beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… that doesn’t blow anyone any good.

And sure enough, as the weather deteriorated after lunch and we ended up with high gusting winds and a torrential rainstorm, there were people out here who were able to enjoy it, as I noticed when I went to look at the beach on my afternoon walk.

They seemed to be enjoying themselves out there, which was more than I was doing with the rain falling down the back of my neck.

And during the night, I didn’t enjoy it very much either. I had another miserable night of suffering continual attacks of cramp that made me have to get up on several occasions to walk around to ease everything off.

It goes without saying that I knew that I was going to suffer for this during the day, and I wasn’t wrong either.

Nevertheless I managed to be up at the sound of the first alarm and after the medication I came in here to sort myself out.

One thing that I’d planned to do was to to sort out the music on the computer. I have stuff all over the place that needed tidying up and I attended to that first. That led to the rather unfortunate circumstance of renaming 13 files that I didn’t want to rename and not the one that I was trying to do.

Later on I went for a shower and then set the washing machine off on a cycle prior to going out to the shops.

trawler entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I seemed to have picked the right time to go out too because there was quite a lot of activity in the outer harbour right now.

The weather was quite nice and I actually went out without a coat. It was cloudy to the east and looked pretty dismal but with a westerly blowing the good weather towards me, I wasn’t too bothered about the clouds.

There was quite a lot of wind out there too and the yachts in the Baie de Mont St Michel weren’t half being tossed around. The trawler that was coming in to the fish processing plant was rolling about rather wildly as well and I was glad that I wasn’t out there in all of that.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was a lot calmer in the inner harbour of course. It’s well-protected from the wind and the waves.

I had the impression that the gates hadn’t been open all that long because there were one or two boats heading in, and a couple of trawlers moored at the Fish Processing Plant were now casting off ready to go out to sea.

But what’s interesting about this photograph is that Aztec Lady isn’t there at the moment. She seems to have slipped out on the tide overnight and headed off elsewhere out of the way. At the moment even as I write, according to my radar she’s just outside the harbour at St Cast le Guildo, one of the places where we slept when we were on board Spirit of Conrad.

swimming pool port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday I mentioned that the little freighters that come over from Jersey must be keeping a low profile as I haven’t hears of them coming over for a little while.

That looks as if it’s about to change. I know that Normandy Trader has the contract with a swimming pool manufacturer to take their swimming pools over to Jersey, and there are a couple down there on the quayside by the loading crane. That must mean that the arrival of Normandy Trader is expected some time fairly soon.

In town I bumped into Pierre, the owner of Spirit of Conrad, and we had a little chat. And then I headed off to the railway station to pick up my tickets for next week’s trip to Castle Anthrax. At the moment the trains are running normally so I don’t have to worry about an 04:30 start.

At LIDL I spent a little more than usual but they had no cocoa powder or frozen peas. And so I’m not going to get away with not going to LeClerc on Saturday. Mind you, it’s been several weeks since I’ve put my sooty foot in that direction so it won’t do any harm.

Coming back from LIDL was a struggle and it took me a lot longer than it normally would. I’m definitely not feeling myself right now which is just as well, because it’s a disgusting habit. It was so late when I returned that there was no point in having my fruit bread. I just made my hot chocolate and then emptied the washing machine and hung everything up to dry.

Unfortunately I also crashed out on the chair and was well away for quite a while – to such an extent that I ended up with rather a late lunch.

Fighting off another wave of sleep I carried on with sorting out the music. I’ve ended up with about 40 concerts that I can use for the radio shows without having to be inventive or imaginative. That’s quite a useful and will save me a considerable amount of work in the future, I hope.

If I can do three concerts on Monday I’ll be right up to date except for the concert that I’ll be doing for the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival and the “special” programme that I’ll be doing in respect of a CD that I found in a junk shop in Maine, USA a few years ago.

later on, despite the torrential rain, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSurprisingly there were quite a few other people out there too despite the weather.

There’s another very low tide this afternoon when the water level drops below the leased concessions so there were some folk out there with all of their equipment going for a scratch around in the sand and on the rocks to see what they can harvest.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we did an outside broadcast from the peche à pied last year, talking to the people out there scavenging and collecting recipes from them as to how to prepare their catch. There were even a couple of guys having a banquet among the rocks with fresh oysters and the like.

But despite what people say, oysters aren’t all they are cracked up to be. I had a dozen on my wedding night and only 9 of them worked.

jade 3 trawler chausiais ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’re back on the subject of NAABSA – “Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground” – fishing boats again.

Over there is a trawler (who I later identified as Jade 3 tied up to the wharf by the terminal for the ferries to the Channel Islands and the Ile de Chausey and left to sink onto the silt now that the tide is out. It still bewilders me as to why there are so many boats left out in the outer harbour rather than being tied up properly in the inner harbour.

Behind her is moored Chausias, the little freighter that runs supplies out to the Ile de Chausey. She seems to be living there at the moment, which I suppose isn’t too much of an issue seeing as the Channel Islands ferries aren’t sailing right now.

Back here I had a coffee and then started on the photos from Wyoming in August 2019 but unfortunately I crashed out yet again and missed some of my guitar practice. I’m doing no good at all right now.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice and vegetables followed by more of my delicious chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce. And fool that I am – I’d had the laptop on all day editing a rather large concert and after tea I forgot myself and switched off the laptop. I lost all of the work that I’d done and had to do it all over again which made me late for everything else.

Rosemary rang me too for a chat while I was doing it so I was rather distracted and it took me longer than it should to set it all up and prepare it ready to do again. But now that I’ve set it up, it can spend all of the night doing its stuff now though while I’m asleep (I hope).

So while that’s doing I’ve written up my notes and I’m off to bed. Much later than I wanted but it can’t be helped. There’s plenty of work to do tomorrow but at least I have all day to do it.

Part of the work was to listen to today’s dictaphone notes that somehow slipped through the net, and find out where I’d been during the night. I’d actually been to rescue Nerina. She’d been out somewhere in the beige Cortina and I finally caught up with her around Nantwich/Acton way. The lights had gone out, the headlights, so I pushed the connectors back in and they came back on but they weren’t very bright but she managed to get back going home. I mentioned to her about the time all the lights had gone out at such and such a time. She replied that she knew that she had gone out before then but “I knew that I could drive because I knew where I was. It wasn’t difficult” but I couldn’t imagine her driving all the way around Warmingham without any lights on. She was laughing about one of her friends saying “driving tests and driving regulations are all important because that’s how you pass your test” and yet her friend had followed all the rules and regulations and failed. We got near to a town that might have been Nantwich and we were talking about Hughie Green and Monica Rose, how Hughie Green used to give specific instructions to Monica so that she knew exactly what was happening, where it was happening and when it was happening and why it was happening so that everything went off really smoothly. We were confusing him with Wilfred Pickles. Just then she noticed that he was around somewhere so we thought that we’d go to see him. We walked down that way and came to one of these food caravans that we knew. I asked her if she wanted a drink. She said that she would have a pineapple, but she said it in French ananas. As she got there she went to a special machine where they had some kind of home-brewed hot drink of some description and she poured herself a big glass. I asked “get one for me as well” which she did and we could get some food in the inside and then go and have a chat with Wilfred Pickles

Saturday 10th April 2021 – WOO-HOO – I’M VACCINATED!

Yes, I’ve now had both my jabs and I have a Certificate to prove it too! At least I shall be in the forefront of the queue whenever normal service is resumed.

That’s not to say that I’m going to be perfectly safe. I’ve had the Pfizer vaccination so I’m now about 95% safe against current strains of the virus but there are no details about how I’ll be covered against any new strains and in any case I could carry the vaccine around and infect others.

So I still have to be careful whatever I do. I can’t throw caution to the wind.

Mind you, I did throw caution to the wind last night because what with one thing or another it was long after 01:00 when I finally went to bed.

Nevertheless I still managed to crawl out of my stinking pit a 06:00 when the first alarm went off. It just confirms my suspicions that the issues that I’ve been having about leaving my bed have nothing to do with any physical complaint.

First thing was to grab the medication and the second thing was to listen to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night. In fact I was doing something last night and I can’t remember what it was but I ended up in Canada. It was something to do with cars ad I can’t remember at all. I ended up at my niece’s. One of her daughters was there and feeling very happy with herself because she had taken some courses to improve her reading ability. The had studied these courses for 12 months and when I arrived there I found that she had received a Diploma award from the Open University for English speaking and she was absolutely delighted. And of course so was I because she deserves something like that.

There was time to have a whack at some of the photos from North America from August 2019 before going for a shower, and then I made a coffee in my thermal mug, grabbed some crackers and then leapt into Caliburn.

And I did too, because the door opened quite easily this morning which is very good news.

It was pouring with rain this morning so it was a pretty miserable drive up north towards Valognes. There was a lot of things to see on the way but the rain put a complete dampener on everything.

There was something that I stopped to see on my way north, because there was a good view from inside Caliburn.

Calvaire de Le Plessis-Lastelle Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is the Calvaire de Le Plessis-Lastelle on the outskirts of the town of Le Plessis-Lastelle.

It’s formerly the site of a castle on a nice high ridge and was destroyed during a revolt against Duke William of Normandy in 1047. It was rebuilt later but fell into disrepair, although a traveller in 1835 remarked that it was still in reasonable condition.

In 1911 the locals transformed what remains of the site into a Calvary but during the fighting in Normandy in 1944 it was very badly damaged. A programme of restoration was finished in 1967 and this is how it appears today.

And that reminds me of the story that I heard about the renovation of the Calvary after the war. There was a call for designs for the Calvary but due to a misunderstanding on the telephone, someone sent in a drawing of George Custer on his horse.

hospital simone veil valognes Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually, 15 minutes early I arrived at the hospital.

As you can see, it looks quite … errr … interesting from the front. It’s actually an old Benedictine Abbey and as it came into the possession of the State in 1803 one can easily imagine that it was a prize of the Revolution. It was registered as an ancient monument in 1937.

When the hospital was inaugurated in 1977 it didn’t have a particular name but it was opened by Simone Veil who was Minister of Health – the fist female to hold the post – at the time. When she died in 2018 the hospital was given her name.

hospital simone veil valognes Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound the back though, it’s totally different, with all kinds of modernisations having been undertaken.

When I came here before, the Vaccination Centre was under there but seeing it all in darkness and it being a Saturday morning, I was full of foreboding.

A sign on the door said “Vaccination Centre now moved to …. (another address in town)” so I had to leap back into Caliburn, type the address into the Satnave and let the Lady Who Lives In The Satnav plot me a course.

Eventually I arrived at the Sports Centre on the other side of town where I had my injection, was given my certificate and left to fester for 15 minutes before they threw me back out into the rain.

My route back was a different one from my way out so there were new things to see on the way home.

chateau de saint saveur le vicomte Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I came down the hill into Saint Saveur le Vicomte I was confronted by this beautiful building here. I had to do a U-turn and go back up the hill to find a good viewpoint where I could stick the camera out of Caliburn’s window.

This is the Chateau de Saint Saveur le Vicomte and it has a very interesting history because in view of its strategic position on a hill at the side of a river that leads into the interior, the Norse raiders built a fort there, according to one local historian.

Whatever was on there was destroyed during the revolt against Duke William. A subsequent castle here was an English stronghold in the Hundred Years War.

It later became a hospital, an orphanage and later a prison. Badly damaged by Allied Bombing in 1944, it’s now the subject of a restoration project financed by the proceeds of the national lottery.

On the way home I called in at Coutances and fuelled up Caliburn and then went to the LeClerc and LIDL here. They are much bigger than the ones in Granville and even though there’s more stuff in there, there isn’t anything extra that suited me. I did by some sweet potatoes though as they were cheap, and I’ll have to think of something to do with them.

Back here I made a sandwich for lunch and then came in here to carry on work but unfortunately I crashed out. And crashed out good and properly too, for about an hour and a half.

And when I awoke I had a sore arm again and I was also freezing, freezing cold. So much so that having turned off the heating about a week ago, I tuned it on again full-blast.

When I eventually recovered, I went outside for a walk where I bumped into Pierre the skipper of Spirit of Conrad. he told me that the other week the boat was simply in the chantier navale simply for an annual service.

But all of his tours this year are cancelled yet again. He’s thinking about doing trips up the Brittany coast whenever the situation relaxes.

Finding that the battery was yet again flat in the NIKON D500 I came back in for the NIKON D3000 and then I went back outsode again for my afternoon walk in the wind and rain.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe whole of the town around here was totally deserted which was no surprise given the weather. There wasn’t a soul on the beach at all.

That’s something of a surprise of course because we’ve seen people down there in all kinds of weather, even swimming in it. But not today. I suppose that it was just too much for them today.

Instead, I trudged off along the path towards the end of the headland in my lonely solitude, and also in the rainstorm too. It must have been raining quite a lot over the last 18 hours because the path was flooded yet again and I had to pick my way gingerly around the puddles as I wended my weary way.

commodore goodwill english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the elevated part at the far end I could see something moving right out there in the English Channel so I took a photograph of it, regretting that I didn’t have the big NIKON D500 with me.

Of course it’s much too far out for me to be able to identify it but enhancing the image considerably I could make out some rough idea of its colours. That seems to indicate that its a Condor Ferries boat.

Its silhouette seems to match that of Commodore Goodwill, the Ro-Ro ferry that does the shuttle between St Malo, St Helier in Jersey and St Peter Port in Guernsey.

Ro-Ro stands for “roll on, roll off” and should not be confused with ferries such as Herald of Free Enterprise and Estonia which were Ro-Ro-Ro ferries, which stands for “roll on, roll over, roll off”.

fishing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was more movement out to sea too, but this time so much closer to home.

This is one of the little shellfish boats that worked the beds off the Ile de Chausey, I reckon. She’s on her way home to port in Granville, even if the tide isn’t far enough in for the harbour gates to be open.

Off the lawn and down the path to car park I went, encountering a family whose members were as surprised to see me as I was to see them.

Across the car park to the end of the headland to see what was going on. And the answer to that was nothing at all. So picking my way through the puddles I walked down the path on the other side of the headland.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was very little going on in the harbour this afternoon.

The tide was still far out so the outer harbour was quite dry. But we can see all of the tyre tracks of the various heavy vehicles that have been working in there over the last month when we had the very low tides. Their work doesn’t seem to be finished so I wonder when, or maybe if, we will ever see them back working here again.

The fishing boat that we saw earlier is now in the harbour, here on the left, and it’s looking rather bewildered as the skipper tries to think of what to do next with it. And unfortunately she’s still too far out for me to be able to read her name on the visor over the cabin.

anakena hermes 1 notre dame de cap lihou aztec lady Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere is still no change in occupancy in the chantier navale today.

We have, from left to right, Anakena, Hermes I and the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. In the background is Aztec Lady, with a pile of small assorted yachts on the other side of the wall.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay around to count them because I had to rush on home for the football this afternoon. TNS were playing away to Bala Town.

What astonished me about this match was that the two best players in the Welsh Premier League, Greg Draper and Henry Jones, managed just 28 minutes on the field between them.

Even more strangely was that the best player on the field, TNS’s Ben Clark, was substituted after 60 minutes of the game, with no sign of an injury. He’d run the Bala defence ragged and had a hand in TNS’s goal, but after he left the field the spark went out of the TNS side and Bala had several good chances to equalise, although they were unable to convert them.

Tea was out of a tin seeing as it’s Saturday and now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to make some sourdough dough ready for baking tomorrow. And then I’m off to bed for a nice lie in.

And I deserve it too.

Thursday 8th April 2021 – TODAY, I’VE HAD …

trawler yacht english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… another one of those nautical days that we have every so often.

There has been so much traffic on the waters today that I’ve really been spoilt for choice when it came to taking photos because I could have taken 100 and still not done justice to everything that was going on out there at sea this afternoon.

When I went out there this afternoon for my little walk around the headland I was overwhelmed by the amount of nautical traffic that was bobbing up and down on the high seas, from the smallest plank-boarders to some of the larger trawlers and freighters that hang around the port.

marite unloading normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just out at sea that we were having all of this excitement.

It was pretty busy in the harbour this morning too. One of or favourite boats, the little Jersey Freighter Normandy Trader has come into port on the overnight tide. She’s now tied up underneath the crane at the loading bay while the personnel of the Chamber of Commerce make ready to unload her.

You can see all of the material on the quayside already. I reckon that this is the load that she has to take back with her to St Helier. And you can see how busy she is with all of that load. No wonder her owners are talking about buying a larger boat

vna pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s not just at sea and in the port that we are extremely busy. Thee was quite a lot going on in the air today too.

The bright sunny weather has certainly brought out the aeroplanes this afternoon, like this one that overflew me as I walked my weary way around the headland. I’ve no idea what it is because I couldn’t see the registration properly. I can see the last three letters – VNA – of its registration.

Although I checked, there was nothing of that registration that had taken off from or landed at Granville Airport this afternoon. It’s probably frustrating me deliberately by not filing a flight plan so people like me can’t identify it.

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire the picture of the busy port this afternoon with the crowds of boats queueing up and the portable boat lift now tackling Lys Noir, I’ll tell you about my busy morning.

It was rather a late night, although not as late as it has been once or twice, so I was able to leap out of bed with alacrity when the alarm went off.

After the medication I attacked the dictaphone notes for the last couple of days seeing as I missed out on doing it yesterday. And if you now look at yesterday’s entry, you’ll see that that is now up-to-date with the entries for yesterday now incorporated. Now that those were out of the way I could turn my attention to last night’s travel.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSome people came round to my house, including an old friend of mine so I invited a girl to come along as well. I made all of the arrangements but just at the last moment when I was getting ready to receive my visitors I had a ‘phone call to say that this girl was having to go into work so she wouldn’t be able to come. I had a little morning’s entertainment with these people and just strode out and the followed me. They went their separate ways. I just happened to be walking past their house when a car pulled up and these 3 girls got out. 1 of them said “so-and-so will run you home” referring to her youngest sister. “She knows the trick about the car”. They parked up but then they saw me walking past and asked “Eric, are you coming in?”. I walked up the path towards the door to join them.

having dome that I turned my attention to the photos from August 2019 on my North American Adventure and managed a few of those before it was time for me to go off for my shower.

And having done that, I wandered off out on my way to the shops for my mid-week shopping trip.

pointing rampe de monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me past the top of the Rampe du Monte à Regret where they are using the poor state of the medieval wall as a training ground for young apprentices.

And sure enough, there were about half a dozen there, a few of whom were females, something that is always nice to see. All of them with their trowels and mortar boards doing a nice rightward lead along all of the cracks. It brought back many happy memories of when I was POINTING THE WALLS AT MY HOUSE all those years ago.

having watched them for a while I pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … down the steps and on into the town.

roundabout place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it looks as if they are getting ready for the summer season, such as it might be this year, in the town.

The other day when we were around the town we saw the candyfloss and sweet stand that had arrived in the town and was now parked up hear the harbour. Today I noticed that the kiddies’ roundabout has arrived and has now been set up in the Place Charles de Gaulle ready to entertain them for the next few months.

My next port of call was LIDL for the midweek session of my weekly shopping. I didn’t want all that much from there so I ended up with quite a light load. So not to waste the trip I stocked up with some soya milk and some tomato sauce because I can always use that sort of thing and I never seem to have enough.

roadworks road closed rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back home I had to go along the Rue Paul Poirier, and that wasn’t as easy as it might have been.

There were roadworks in the street today and it was closed to all traffic. Not for pedestrians though so I could make my way along there and while I was it it, I could see what they were trying to do.

They had half of the road dug up near the junction with the Rue Etoupefour but as for why, I didn’t have any idea. They were digging a small trench and one of the guys was relaying the cobbles where there is the 5-minute waiting spot, cutting a few of them with his stone cutter to make them fit into their spaces. I suppose we’ll have to wait for a few days after they have cleared off in order to see what they have been doing.

roadworks rue etoupefour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the other end of the street, having pushed my way through the roadworks, I crossed over the road and started to go up the Rue des Juifs where I glanced down at the junction of the Place des Corsaires and the Rue Etoupefour.

There was a man down there with some of the cobbles pulled up, chipping away at them. I’m sure that it can’t be a coincidence with people working like this at both ends of the street . They must be doing some kind of work in common so I suppose we’ll find our about that in due course too.

Anyway I carried on up the Rue des Juifs with my light load hardly impeding me at all. I wasn’t going to say that I ran up the street but it was a good climb up there with hardly a pause for breath.

unloading normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was an occasion to call for a pause halfway up the hill because there was something of interest going on at the docks.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that each of the Jersey freighters, Thora and Normandy Trader has started to carry a couple of small sealed containers, presumably with private freight, and this morning they were unloading one of them from the deck of Normandy Trader and putting it on the quayside ready to be taken away.

That was all of the excitement for the morning. I wandered off home for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread and to continue with my photo editing.

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to do too many because I crashed out on my chair. And crashed out completely too. I must have been out for about an hour and a half altogether. As a result I had a very late lunch.

After lunch, seeing as it was a nice sunny day with very little wind I went and attacked Caliburn’s door.

Trying to take off the door card was a contortionist’s delight and it took me an absolute age to free it off just so far that I could put my hand inside the door skin. And as for where the spring clip that holds on the window winder went, I have absolutely no idea.

Being able to put my hand inside the door skin was one thing. To actually open the door was something else and my hands ended up black and blue with cuts and bruises but with a great amount of force and inconvenience I finally managed spring the catch and open the door.

With the door open I could re-attach the bits that had fallen off and do the necessary adjustments and now the door will open from the outside as well as the inside. But I’m not putting the door card back on until I’m sure that it works.

seagull place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there working, I was not alone.

Yesterday we saw the seagull on the windowsill of one of the apartments on the other side of the building. And this time the bird is waiting at the correct window – the one where there is the plastic bird model on the inside. And you only have to look at the state of the window to see how often it is that the bird calls there.

But anyway, I went off inside to put away my tools and then came back outside to go for my afternoon walk in the sunshine.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing to do was to go to the wall at the end of the car park to look over the wall to see what was going on down on the beach today.

The tide is quite well in this afternoon so thee wasn’t all that much beach to be on today but even so, there was still enough room for a few people to wander about. These two people were having a pile of fun leaping about from rock to rock down there and they will probably keep on doing it until the tide comes in and cuts off their only means of retreat.

There was no retreat for me today. I was continuing my walk along the path on top of the cliffs. And despite the really nice weather there was hardly anyone else about so I had the place pretty much to myself

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier I mentioned that there was quite a lot going on in the air and I mentioned the light aeroplane that flew by overhead.

We also had another regular visitor going past me overhead this afternoon someone whom we haven’t seen for quite some time. It’s the old yellow autogyro that we’ve seen in the past on several occasions. We saw a different one, a reddy-orange one, fly past us the other day and it made me wonder when we would be seeing this one again.

She was flying quite high over my head too, much higher than normal and he had a passenger too so they presumably are on one of these sightseeing trips that she does every now and again

The French have a saying jamais deux sans trois – “never two without a third”, and that applied to the aircraft that I saw today.

EC-MVE Airbus A320-232 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact they may well have said “thirty-third” because there were so many in the sky this afternoon. Today’s choice of aircraft is an Airbus A320-232 that’s operated by Vueling Airlines, a Spanish low-cost airline and is operating their flight VY7826 /VLG7826 which is the 15:00 from Barcelona heading to Gatwick Airport.

Her registration number is EC-MVE and airframe number 8130 which means that she was built about three or so years ago and supplied new to the airline which means that she was supplied new to the airline in February 2018.

She wet past me over head at about 25,000 feet and 388 knots and had already started her descent down to the Gatwick flight path as I was watching her

chausiais yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have spent a great deal of time discussing Chausiais, the little freighter or barge that runs the freight between the Ile de Chausey and the mainland.

She’s usually been tied up at the ferry port or in the inner harbour but today I’ve actually been lucky enough to catch her on her travels, coming back from the ile de Chausey.

She’s down there now manoeuvring her way between a couple of yachts as she returns to the port after her little run out. I suppose that with all of the tourists and second-home owners being here fleeing the lockdown in Paris, she has plenty of work to do, ferrying the supplies out there to the island.

fishing boats waiting for port de Granville harbour to open Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the end of the headland I followed the rail of yachts Chausiais and all of the fishing boats towards the harbour.

The harbour gates into the inner harbour aren’t open as yet but the time can’t be that far off because the queue of trawlers around them waiting to go in was quite oppressive. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many loitering around the harbour gates. Chausiais had quite a struggle to fight her way into her berth.

Earlier on we saw the portable boat lift wrapping her slings around lys noir but I didn’t hang around long enough to see what they were going to be doing with her. Instead, I carried on along the path.

spirit of conrad charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking around on the path above the harbour I’d noticed a sail being erected in the inner harbour. And earlier while I’d been fixing Caliburn’s door, I’d seen my neighbour Pierre who owns Spirit of Conrad in his working clothes leap into his car and drive off.

Putting 2 and 2 together, I assumed that it must be Spirit of Conrad that was having her sail hoisted, and it seems that I was quite right. It looks as if she’s being prepared for the sea again so I wonder where she might be going this time. We had fun on her when we were down the Brittany coast last summer.

Back at the apartment I had a coffee and then finished off the day’s photos from August 2019. I’m now on the Bozeman Trail at the site of the worst humiliation of the US Army at the hands of the native Americans prior to the battle of Little Big Horn where Colonel Fetterman and his entire troop of 79 soldiers and four civilian scouts were cut down by Red Cloud and his Sioux warriors.

Before guitar practice there was time for a little bit of the Central Europe trip and then I absorbed myself in music. And I didn’t really enjoy it al that much tonight. My heart wasn’t in it for some reason and I couldn’t really get going.

Tea was taco rolls and rice and veg, followed by some of my jam roly-poly and coconut dessert.

Tomorrow is going to be a Welsh revision day, I reckon, ready for the restart of my courses. I’m becoming far too rusty. I could do with an early night but I’m not going to get it today, that’s for sure. It’s late so I’m going straight to be. And I’m hoping to have pleasant dreams despite my new evening medicine which somehow has the effect of tranquilising me.

Monday 28th September 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change I had a good day today.

It started quite well too – long out of bed before the third alarm went off.

There was nothing on the dictaphone either. But although you might think that this meant a decent night’s sleep, in fact I was tossing and turning for much of the night and didn’t really have a good deal of sleep.

Nevertheless, fighting-fit (that is – fighting for breath and fit to drop), I attacked the radio programme for this week. And by the time I knocked off for tea, I’d finished it as far as the last track and it won’t take me very long (they are famous last words, aren’t they?) tomorrow afternoon.

Not tomorrow though, because of course I have my Welsh lesson at lunchtime and I need to revise.

What else I did today was to strip out the toilet and the bathroom and clean them to within an inch of their life – the first time since I don’t know when. And it went so much better once I’d emptied the vacuum cleaner of all of the rubbish in there.

light aeroplane pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual break to go for my walk in the afternoon.

We had an aeroplane fly overhead too, but it was too far out for me to read its serial number. However, looking at the flights that came into Granville this afternoon and a closer examination of the image, it could well be F-GBAI.

She’s a Robin DR-400-140B Major, serial 1289. That’s a model that went into production in 1972 and is still being made. She has a 160hp Lycoming O-320-D2A engine.

trawlers english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallNot too many people out there walking about today either. The wind had dropped to just “strong” but it was overcast and cloudy, and pretty cold too.

Out at sea though, there were a few things going on. There were several fishing boats out there that were heading into port now that the harbour gates are open.

The sea has calmed down considerably which makes it a lot safer for them to go out. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when we were in the harbour on Saturday evening the place was packed with boats that couldn’t get out to sea because of the weather.

man in dinghy port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHowever, with the easing of the weather, everyone seems to be heading out to sea right now.

In the tidal harbour, once the water comes in, the crew of the boats in there have to make their way out by all kinds of precarious means, whatever is available. Just like this guy standing up in his little dinghy paddling out to his yacht.

It’s quite incredible really that this is the same way that a couple of thousand years ago, people would be going out in boats like this, coracles made of branches and the like. Nothing changes very much, except the materials that they use.

st malo fishing boat port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was another fishing boat heading out to sea, and this one is quite interesting.

If you look closely at the registration number of the boat, it begins with SM. Here in Granville, they all begin with CH – indicating that they are registered in Cherbourg.

This one here that begins with SM – I saw that registration prefix on boats that we encountered down the Brittany coast and that implies in my mind that the registration office for that part of the world across the bay from here is in St Malo.

Back here, I finished off the radio programme as much as I could, without the final track, and then went for tea. A slice of pie out of the freezer with potatoes, veg and gravy. Totally delicious.

The last of the rice pudding disappeared too, and tomorrow I can start on the strawberry flan.

beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on, I went out for my evening walk.

The wind had dropped considerably by now but even so there weren’t too many people out there. There was no-one taking a walk along the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

My run along the footpath under the walls was quite pleasant. I have been feeling a little stiff for the last few days but it all seems to have eased a little this evening

On the way down, I bumped into a neighbour – the captain of the Spirit of Conrad. He’d been to La Rafale with his mates, so we exchanged pleasantries.

houses in rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallWith nothing going on down in the Place Marechal Foch, I ran on round and across the Square Maurice Marland. No wind to hold me up tonight.

Nothing much going on in town either but the street lights illuminating the big houses in the Rue Lecampion looked quite impressive this evening. I stood and admired the view for a few minutes and then I headed off.

Having seen Minette, the old black cat, the other day, I was hoping that I’d see her again but no luck. That must have been a one-off.

rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallAs I walked into the Place Cambernon I looked down the street, the Rue Cambernon, to see what was happening there. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw a “police incident” there the other day.

Nothing at all going on tonight, but the creperie restaurant down there was open and illuminated. It looked really nice tonight.

Back here I wrote up my notes and as there was not much to say about today I finished pretty early. I’m going to have an early night tonight ready for my Welsh course tomorrow. I need to be on form.

Saturday 5th September 2020 – THIS EVENING …

football us granville stade plabennecois stade louis dior granville manche normandy france eric hall… I have seen probably one of the most exciting games that I’ve ever seen at the Stade Louis Dior.

For a start, just for a change, I’ve seen Granville’s defence play a whole 90 minutes without a single lapse of concentration and only one major error (when a defender with the ball slipped and lost possession).

As well as that, I’ve seen the midfield firing on all cylinders – even the guy who I’ve criticised on several occasions in the past. He had an excellent game.

The big and awkward right winger, Livio Nabab, who has played international football for Guadeloupe – he played in midweek at Vannes and scored a couple of goals and today it was perfectly clear to everyone that he had much more to offer than the average run-of-the-mill National 2 player. he showed his skill and intelligence on a couple of occasions and created plenty of chances for the attackers.

The only problem was that the forwards once more failed to make any impression up front and when Nabab went off injured after 65 minutes, Granville’s attacking threat simply petered out despite the evident superiority of the team in both play and possession.

For all of that, it certainly was a most exciting match even if neither goalkeeper had very much to do during the match.

However, this is going to be a long, hard season if the forwards can’t find their way to goal. How I would have loved to have seen an attacking pair of Nabab and William Sea from last season up front for Granville

Apart from that, today has not been a very good day. Not the least reason being that I couldn’t go to sleep last night. It was gone 01:00 and I was still wide awake.

Mind you, in news that will surprise everyone reading this, including me, I was actually up and sitting on the edge of the bed when the third alarm went off. However, to say that I was awake would be rather stretching the point. It took me a good 10 minutes to gather my wits.

Nothing on the dictaphone so I spent a while transcribing a few entries from a couple of weeks ago.

After a shower, I went out to the shops. There was nothing at all in NOZ except a couple of batteries for the guitar pre-amp and some dishwashing sponges.

LeClerc didn’t come up with anything special either, except a box of 2kgs of grapes for €3:50. They won’t last long. They did have some frozen sprouts though this week.

Back here I put away the frozen food and then sat down on the chair, where I crashed out properly and completely. I was gone for a couple of hours – something like 13:30 when I awoke and as usual, I felt quite dreadful. It took me a good half hour or so to collect my wits.

After a late lunch I had some paperwork to do, and then I had another go at the Welsh revision. That took me up to 17:00 when I went off for the football.

demonstrators slogans parking Rue de la Fontaine Bedeau granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back from the football I came home a different way. Since I started running a year or so ago my daily target has increased so I need walk farther to make my target.

So my route home took me down through the alleyways and onto the car park at the Rue de la Fontaine Bedeau. I’m not sure what they have been doing here today but it looks as if there has been some kind of demonstration.

All of the notices and slogans seem to be attached to the railings on the car park. Whether it’s just to inform visiting motorists I really don’t know. I shall have to make further enquiries.

man working up mast port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAs I walked past the end of the port I noticed something strange in the distance so I went to make further enquiries about this.

When I approached the scene I saw that what was happening was that there was someone who was climbing up the mast of one of the larger yachts here in port.

As I watched, his mates unfurled a large sail that presumably was attached to the mast in which our hero was lodged. This led to an extreme amount of animated discussion between him and the remainder of the crew.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was there, I went to sit down to catch my breath. And as I did so, Joly France came into port with the evening ferry from the Ile de Chausey.

The older one of the two was already here, moored up. The newer one, Joly France is is the one just coming into port.

If you can’t read the names, you can tell the difference. Joly France I has a smaller superstructure on the upper deck, has larger windows and has a step cut in the stern.

charles marie la granvillaise yacht baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThat wasn’t all of the excitement either.

There was a queue of boats waiting to come into the harbour behind Joly France I. I don’t know the identity of the smaller yacht but the blue and white one is Charles-Marie and the larger white one with G90 written upon it is La Granvillaise.

By the looks of things, they have been out either for the day or maybe even for a few days with a pile of paying customers. Not that there are very many places to go right now with the Channel Islands and the UK out of bounds.

charles marie la granvillaise baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAs I watched them, they suddenly lurched into the harbour. That told me that I’d missed the gates. They had now opened so I couldn’t go across them and had to retrace my steps.

On my way back I bumpred into Pierre so we had quite a chat about this and that and afterwards I made my way home.

Back here, I had tea out of a tin followed by a banana and ice cream which was delicious. I’ve written up my notes, albeit slowly, and now I’m going to go to bed.

Tomorrow is Sunday and a day of rest, and you have no idea just how much I am looking forward to it. i’m moving about somewhat better than I did a week or so ago but I’m still not feeling 100%. It’s a slow recovery, if “recovery” indeed it is. I have to make the most of my rest whenever I can.

Sunday 30th August 2020 – I’VE HAD A …

home made pizza home backed bread banana bread granville manche normandy france eric hall… bit of a bake-in today.

Apart from the rice pudding that you can’t see, and the vegan pizza that you can, you’ll also notice two loaves of bread.

The larger one is of course a standard loaf of bread with a generous helping of sunflower seeds. As for the smaller one, it was 200 grams of flour with a couple of generous handfuls of sultanas and an over-ripe banana mixed well in

At the moment I’ve no idea what it tastes like, but I shall find that out tomorrow. It goes without saying that I have high hopes for this, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating – quite literally in this respect

marite english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallso while you admire the photos of Marité coming back to harbour, this morning was quite a strange morning. Even though there was no alarm, I awoke at 06:17. No chance of my getting out of bed at that time though. 10:00 is a much more likely time to heave myself out of bed on a Sunday.

And a big “hello” to Castor and Pollux who came to join me on a trip out last night. They had been off somewhere in some kind of themed concert, fancy dress type of thing. I had to go to pick them up afterwards. Pollux had a something, a kind of hood on with what looked like a knife blade sticking up out of the back. I can’t remember what Castor was wearing and imagine that! Me taking little notice of Castor’s apparel. it had been like a themed harem kind of thing. I picked them up and brought them back.
There was much more to it than this and when you’ve finished eating your meal I’ll tell you all of the gruesome details.

marite baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBefore this there had been some kind of thing about trains where we had got to London and we were waiting at a station which was a combined tube and main line station in West London. There were tube trains stopping there and trains going to Birmingham as well. We were cornered by someone, me and this girl. Someone wanted something or other and he was a bit violent so when he started to throw his weight around I kicked him in the groin and he just keeled over onto the floor clutching his groin saying that he was going to get me, all this kind of thing. We just wandered off. His train came in and so he staggered onto it. About a minute later we ended up on a train as well. We were going round to Hanley – the Potteries on the train on one of the old loop lines. The ticket collector came along and asked for our tickets . I had about 100 tickets in my pockets that someone had given me from all various places. I had to search through them and in the end he said “this is a Birmingham train” so I found a ticket that had Birmingham on it. Even though it had been clipped once I gave it to him and he clipped it again and whoever I was with, she gave him the correct ticket. That would cause complications if we were controlled again because we were getting off this train somewhere and getting back on another one and with me having used any old ticket collected was going to be complicated for continuing our journey.
And this strikes me as having a familiar ring about it when once on a nocturnal ramble I was on a train in Crewe Station.

marite baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallSomewhat later on I was living in a house a bit like Hankelow Hall with all of these rooms. I remember that it was August and I had the heating on because it was so cold. i was spending my time working between the computer in one room and the kitchen in another. Suddenly this house became occupied by students as well. I had my things all over the place so i had to start tidying up. There were tins of food absolutely everywhere – a mess and so on but little by little I was getting this place somehow tidied up. I had to say that my tenants were really good-natured about it because I wouldn’t have been this good-natured had it been someone else. I had a pile of money – copper coins and 10c pieces lying all over the place as well. This surprisingly wasn’t being moved by anyone. We were all in cooking a meal and I was getting all my stuff organised slowly to make some space for everyone else, putting my dirty clothes in for washing, that kind of thing, filling a bin with rubbish. The conversation came round to something that I had recorded as a demo for someone, a speech about someone’s broken arm. It turned out to be a very prescient comment according to these kids but when they played it back I couldn’t see how it related to anything but they seemed to think that it did

Pierre came round this morning to see if I’d received the presents from yesterday. I thanked him very much, and he told me that Catherine, the girl who had made them, would be coming off the Chausey boat later that afternoon at about 16:00.

That gave me just enough time to crack on with the bread making.

autogyro granville manche normandy france eric hallDown in the town I found out that the Chausey ferries would be coming in at about 17:00 so I had a little sit-down to relax for a short while.

Once I’d recovered my breath I went for a little walk along the harbour wall. However I didn’t go very far before my reverie was interrupted. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the autogyro that we’ve seen flying over us every now and then. And here it was again.

It’s another one of those objects in which I shall have to go for a fly around one of these days. It probably takes off from the airport at Donville les Bains so I’ll have to wander off over there.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe boat came in earlier than anticipated but I was there to meet it.

However I couldn’t see Catherine anywhere so in the end after a good look around I came home again. I’ll have to send her an e-mail to thank her but that’s not going to be easy to send her the bottle of wine.

Once all of the break was baked I made my pizza. It was another delicious one and so filling, I didn’t have any pudding. That will be for another day I reckon.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter tea I went out for my usual evening walk

The sun had long-since sunk below the horizon but there was a beautiful radiant red sky away out over the Ile de Chausey this evening.

There were a few people out there enjoying the evening view too, taking photographs and the like. It’s been a while since i’ve seen so many people out there and it’s no surprise that Covid infections are running so high at the moment with all of this.

Seeing the casual way in which people are wearing their masks, it’s hardly any surprise.

boat with light cap frehel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallThis was quite an interesting sight.

Even though it was fairly dark this evening there was still a clear view all the way down the Brittany coast. The lighthouse at Cap Fréhel, to the extreme right of the image is quite clearly visible even though it’s over 70kms away

It was also interesting to see the light out to sea too. It’s probably a trawler or some other fishing boat with its nets out having a go at making a catch.

So back here I wrote up my notes and that was that. i’m going to have an early night because there is plenty of work to do starting tomorrow – all of the usual stuff plus catching up on arrears and there’s also a new internet course starting

So here’s hoping for more pleasant dreams with charming companions.

Thursday 2nd July 2020 – WITH NO ALARM …

… this morning I slept right through until everyone started appearing in the dining room. 07:55 or thereabouts. nd todaym for the first time since I can’t remember when, I had three proper meals today. This sea air has given me an appetite.

But more of that anon.

First thing though was to check the dictaphone. And sure enough, I’d been miles during the night. It must have been a very restless night, that’s all I can say. And when I return home and transcribe them I’ll find out where I’ve been. And, more importantly, who came with me.

After breakfast I went ashore to use the facilities in the port, and then came back on board. We left port pretty smartly in the beautiful sunshine and once clear we ran up the sails.

And now I know why I felt so ill the other day. This afternoon I banged my head on the hatch cover (yet again!) and found that I’d left half of the skin off my head hanging onto the edge of it.

That prompted me to go and look in the mirror. And sure enough, a bright red face, swollen eyes – I caught the sun when I was steering the boat the other day and I’m pretty badly sunburnt around the face.

No wonder I was feeling so cold!

We eventually arrived at the Ile de Chausey without mishap – no patrol boats or policemenm although there was a Customs boat in port – but he paid us no attention. Lunch had been taken in mid-ocean so as soon as we arrived we took a zodiac ashore.

This time I managed to make a full circuit of the island, visiting qlmost erverywhere that I wanted to go, and then we had a drink at the hotel and came back to the ship. But not before Strawberry Moose had his photo taken with yet another admirer who fell in love with him.

Pierre, our captain, knows someone on the island so he came beck too and we had a good chat for an hour or so.

It was also the birthday of Catherine, one of our passengers, so we had a little birthday party. I played the guitar too and someone told me that I had a good voice. It just shows you how much alcohol everyone had drunk this evening.

This evening there’s a very low tide so we can’t anchor here. We’ve retreated round to the north side of the island. We’re catching the wind full on and with the running seas it’s pretty uncomfortable when we are stationary. But apparently when the tide recedes, we’ll find ourselves in a little lagoon surrounded by rocks and in the shelter so it should be very comfortable.

There will be no alarm tomorrow either so I’m hoping for a good lie-in. It’s my last night on board tonight which is a real shame. I’ve really enjoyed it.

******* PHOTOS AND MORE CONTENT WILL BE ADDED IN DUE COURSE *******

Monday 29th June 2020 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… I was even up before the second alarm this morning!

And how long is it since that has happened?

But it was just as well because there’s a lot to do this morning and there isn’t much time. I’m going to be on my travels again this morning and I’ll be away for at least 5 days. I’m not going far but I’m not sure what the internet arrangements so the updating of these pages during my absence might be somewhat sporadic – rather a case of pot luck I’m afraid.

I was in Wales last night and there was a group of us standing on the corner of a field. We heard this strange noise and it was a lorry that went past – an 8-wheeled seed tanker thing painted beige and green from somewhere in Church Stretton. It was making a really weird noise and the driver had his foot down, was driving through these lanes and turned back onto the main road and shot back off down this main road at an incredible rate of knots. Someone said “does he always drive like this? Fast?” and my father said “Oh God yes – this is nothing. Wait until they get on the open road”. A friend of my father’s who was with us he came out with something or other about it. Then we were all discussing our sleeping arrangements – who was going to sleep where, all this kind of thing. It was quite evident that a couple of use were going to have to share a bed because there were not enough beds to go round. As you can expect, there were a couple of ribald remarks made about that as well.

Having backed up everything on the computer I went for a shower and then finished off my packing. Knowing that food is going to be an issue I took some supplies out of the freezer, some vegan cheese an a couple of vegan burgers as well as a few things to nibble on.

Then loaded up with supplies, luggage, a guitar and Strawberry Moose I headed off into town. I reckon that I was somewhat over-ambitious with the amount of things that I’ve taken because it was a struggle, but luckily with the tide being out the harbour gates were closed so that I could take the short cut over the top of the gates.

Arriving at the harbour, I quickly located Spirit of Conrad and lugged my stuff aboard. She will be my home for the next few days. There’s a trip organised down the Brittany coast where I’ve wanted to go, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. Pierre the owner told me about it but it was fully booked, although someone wasn’t quite sure. As it happened she withdrew and he came to see me two weeks ago to say that the place was free.

Knowing full well about these cruises I chose one of the two cabins in the stern section. All the others can stay up front in the noisy bit.

When everyone had assembled we had a snack and when the harbour gates were opened, we set off, right into the teeth of a howling gale. We crossed the Baie de Mont St Michel at an angle of about 45 degrees, meeting Thora battling her way in.

It took ages to cross the bay but eventually we found ourselves in the lee of the Brittany coast. We sailed for a while up and down in the Cancale roads before finding a suitable place off the Port de Briac to drop anchor.

After a rest and a good chat we had tea and then everyone else went off to bed. Because of the tides and current we have an early start in the morning so I’m going to go and join them.

Not literally, of course. I’m off into my own little corner of the boat. All this sailing has made me tired.

******* PHOTOS AND MORE CONTENT WILL BE ADDED IN DUE COURSE *******

Tuesday 30th July 2019 – THIS PLACE …

… would be a really nice place to stay if I could afford it. But it’s the first motel that I’ve seen in 120 miles and it only had one room left so I didn’t want to take any chances.

Last night was a bad night and this morning I felt like death. I really could have stayed there a second night too but at that rate I’m never going to accomplish anything.

With last night’s protein broth not doing me any good at all (the remainder of the packet went down the sink this morning), I tried the porridge but half of that went into the bin. And as for my grape juice, well, I shan’t bore you with the gory details about that. But that was disappointing.

Eventually I managed to drag myself outside and into the car and staggered off to finish the rest of the James River trail. It didn’t take long and then I was back on my route again.

The first half was boringly flat as you might expect but things gradually started to warm up. I can particularly remember my elation when I saw a proper hill.

The lady Who Lives In The Satnav took me down some interesting roads and through some interesting towns, including one called Ventura which, had it not been for the cars in the backyards, would have been placed quite properly back in the 1880s

As the day drew on I started to hit the hills and that was comforting. A stop for fuel and a chat with the lady who ran the place, and then off again.

At about 16:00 I hit the big city of Pierre where I crossed the Missouri (the photo that I took was rubbish because there was nowhere to get for a good view) and entered Mountain Time, losing an hour.

But while I was stopped trying to find a good photo spec, I was passed by almost every police car in South Dakota (I seem to have crossed into South Dakota somehow without noticing it) with blue and red lights flashing, just like in some of these “bad river” films. They shot off up one road, came back down and shot off up another one. It made me realise that I’m not all that far from Keystone.

Now I’m really in the mountains. The foothills of the Black Hills of Dakota, following the trail (quite literally) of the old Deadwood Stage. It’s well-signposted with quite a few things to see from the 180s and 1890s.

Eventually I arrived at the township of Philip. A place which has two claims to fame, according to the motel owner. One is that the coldest temperature in South Dakota in modern times has been recorded here, and the second is that the warmest ditto.

It’s a one-horse town of course but with a huge cattle market, and smells like it too. I’m glad that it isn’t me, but I took a shower just the same to be sure.

The motel owner is very friendly and spent quite a while chatting to me which was nice, and later I went for a walk around the town – but that didn’t take long.

But now I’m exhausted. I had a huge wave of fatigue during the afternoon that I managed to fight off (just about) until I found my second wind. So even though it’s only 20:00 I’m off to bed on my rather springy mattress.

See you in the morning.