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Monday 7th February 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

… of this rubbish will recall what usually happens when I have something important or urgent to do, and so it goes without saying that today, with so much going on that I need to do I have been on the receiving end of a load of rubbish.

roadworks place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Monday is of course the day when I work on my rock music programmes for the radio and I had three live concerts to remix, edit, and then to write and dictate the text that I intend to use, and then edit it.

So having left my stinking pit at 06:00 and written all of the notes, at 08:00 precisely they started working on the road underneath my window, using a pneumatic drill.

And that, dear reader, was that.

Mind you, I did have a dash through while they were going for their 2-hour lunch and after when they had finished, and I thought that I’d managed to produce something that was adequate for all three concerts – only to find that one of them has a hole in it.

The irony of that is that I recorded this concert myself on 22nd April 1977 (I wrote it on the tape) but the quality was not as good as I would have liked it to be so rather than spend ages editing it and ending up with something that would still be of somewhat dubious quality, I trawled across all kinds of sources to which I have access to see if I could find a better copy.

And sure enough, I eventually did but firstly, a lot of the audience interaction, some of which was quite important, was edited out and I had to edit it back in from my copy, and secondly, it has a hole in at at 45:20:00 that I didn’t notice when I played it through at first.

It’s not been my day, has it?

The day started off well enough. I was out of bed almost as soon as the alarm went off at 06:00 and after the medication and checking my mails and messages I made a start on writing the notes for the three radio concerts that I was hoping to do.

As I mentioned, the pneumatic drill interrupted my work quite considerably but I picked my way through the quiet gaps in the work as best as I could. I adjusted the one that I mentioned yesterday and that sounds quite nice.

But the second one is perfect, despite all of the work that I had to do on it and I’m really impressed with how it’s come out.

As for the third one, we’ll have to see about that when I’ve filled in the hole, and found something that will take up the time. I’ll probably have to lengthen some applause or something.

There were several interruptions, apart from the pneumatic drill. First of course was for lunch and second was the nurse, about whom I had forgotten, who came to give me my injection.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And then of course there was the afternoon walk around the headland.

First call was, as usual, the walk across the car park to the wall at the end where I can look down upon the beach to see who’s around.

And there were plenty of people down there today. It’s school half-term right now so there are families coming here to their second homes and holiday lets to take in the sea air, and to bring their viruses with them.

The figures have calmed down this last couple of days from the ridiculous levels of the last few weeks, so just watch them soar upwards again now that everyone is on the move.

trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Plenty of other stuff on the move as well this afternoon.

As usual I had a good look round out at sea while I was watching the beach. My eyes fell upon a couple of fishing boats way out in the bay.

Judging by the direction in which they were pointing, they must have been working. They were neither heading back to port or out to sea in the direction of the Channel Islands

Fishing boats with their nets out are obliged to shine a couple of white lights, but I’m not likely to see them at this distance.

f-gcum, robin dr 400/180 regent, baie de granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022That wasn’t all that was going on out in the bay this afternoon either.

Not actually in it, as it happens, but over it. We had a light aeroplane flying by way out in the distance.

Of course, from here I have no chance of seeing who she might be but she’s red and white and that seems to suggest that she’s F-GCUM, a Robin Dr 400-180 Regent.

My photo is timed at 15:49 and while no-one took off from the airfield round about then, F-GCUM took off at 15:07, flew up to Utah Beach and then back down in a figure-of-eight to Avranches and then back again where she landed at 16:16.

She must have been on the second part of her flight when I photographed her.

brittany coast in sea mist Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Although the view out to sea was reasonably clear, it wasn’t like that everywhere else.

The way things were, I was hoping that I might possibly be able to see all the way down to Cap Fréhel this afternoon but it wasn’t to be, unfortunately.

There was quite a heavy sea-mist hanging around just offshore and obscuring the coast. It was extremely difficult to make out anything further than the Baie de St Malo and anything coming out of the harbour over there would be immediately lost in the mist.

It wasn’t the day for any kind of long-distance photography in that direction.

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However, around the corner in the Baie de Mont St Michel, things were quite dramatically different.

Not a trace of mist just over there and so we have another one of these magnificent sunsets. The Brittany coast, the town of Cancale and the sea just offshore are illuminated by the sun just as if they have been floodlit on a stage.

But we need to make the most of this because the sun is now quite high in the sky and I don’t imagine that we’ll be seeing many more of these beautiful late afternoons now until late autumn. I shall have to find something else to extol.

people watching sunset pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And just for a change, I wasn’t the only one out there enjoying it.

Several people had made their way down to the bench by the cabanon vauban at the end of the headland and they were admiring the sunset, complete with improvised visors.

Nothing much seems to have happened in the bunker behind me over the weekend. Everything was as I remember it being when I last looked.

And so I carried on down the path towards the port to see what was happening there since Saturday morning.

le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As far as inhabitants of the chantier naval go, there hasn’t been any change. Tiberiade is still in there, and so it Le Roc A La Mauve III.

However, there’s been a considerable change to Le Roc A La Mauve III. It doesn’t look as if she’s going to be mauve any more, because they are down there busily sanding off all of the paint from the hull of the boat.

She’s going to have a new coat of paint, by the looks of things. I shall have to make a note of her new colour when she’s done so that I can identify her at a distance when she’s out at sea.

When I find the time, whenever that might be, I’ll make up a list of boats that operate out of here and append some photos to help me identify them.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022No difficuly in identifying this boat though.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we will probably be able to identify her simply by where she’s moored. She’s L’Omerta of course, and we’ve seen plenty of photos of her moored up at the quayside underneath the Fish Processing Plant.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve seen her moored here but like a homing pigeon she’s found her way back again to her nest, sitting on the silt now that the tide is out.

She’s on her own down there today. Everyone else is either in the inner harbour or out working at sea.

harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022What is interesting about what’s happening in the harbour is the case of what isn’t here today.

What have gone from the harbour today are the two Channel Island ferries, Granville and Victor Hugo. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

They are probably on their way to Cherbourg or somewhere like that. As I mentioned a few days ago, there are rumours going around that the sailings to Jersey are to restart at the end of April.

Having been standing idle for so long, it’s likely that they have gone for an overhaul and a service ready to restart work. And I’ll have to make a few enquiries myself because as I have mentioned before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I’m determined to get out there somehow and see what’s going on.

light aeroplane 50SA pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was brroding on the infinite, I was overflown by another light aeroplane.

And “overflown” was probably the correct word because she really was right overhead. We can clearly see that she’s 50SA, one of the light aeroplanes that fly out of the airfield.

As I have said before … “and on many occasiosn too” – ed … I’ll have to go out there to the airfield at some point to make enquiries about these aeroplanes that I can’t identify. The registration numbers that they carry aren’t in the series contained in the database to which I have access.

lorry negotiating porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the difficulty of large vehicles faced with the medieval city walls.

On the way back I noticed that not all of the large vehicles trans-ship whatever it is that they carry. Some of them press on regardless.

And this one certainly did – with a clearance of no more than an inch or two either side the driver bravely nosed his vehicle out of the walled city as I watched.

It would have been much more interesting to have actually watched him fight his way in, but I wasn’t here at the time.

Back here I had a coffee and carried on with my work until I had to stop for tea.

Eventually I managed to find the time to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I was with 2 girls at school last night. They were a few years younger than me but they weren’t particular friends of mine and this was a good few years later at a kind-of party. I’d gone to wash my hands and it was dark so I was having an explore and a look around. I was in some of the classrooms wondering why there was no-one else in here. Suddenly these 2 girls walked in. I shouted “booh!” and they jumped. They put the lights on but it took a while for them to come on then I could see who they were. I said “God it’s only you. I thought that it was someone else” and mentioned the name of a girl in their year who I actually happened to quite like. They said “yes, we noticed that you liked her”. I replied, “yes, she and her friends are really quite nice”. By this time a whole crowd of people had come in. They were all sitting down making coffee and everything. I asked “could someone lend me some coffee?”. These girls said “so and so (her friend) and I have some coffee. You can share ours” and gave me a drink of coffee. They gave me some chocolate cake too, that they put on the saucer of the cup, but it was hot from the coffee so the cake stuck to the saucer. We were talking about something or other and I thought that that reminded me of a man, a distraction for about 30 seconds. Then one of the girls turned to me and asked “who did that remmind you of?”. I replied “do you know, it’s gone clean out of my mind”. We were talking about all kinds of things. The question of coffee came up and she said “my husband never makes me a coffee”. I replied “he ought to” and I told the story of my friend in the USA who even though he didn’t like coffee would quite happily make one for his wife”. She said “yes, come on” in a dismissive tone. We were having quite an interesting chat that I wouldn’t have had with these 2 girls in real life. It was really quite interesting and it was a shame when it petered out

There was also some kind of ceremony going on at a war memorial and we were there. There was talk that they had given some of France’s post-war allocation to people like the Basques and the Greeks to ensure some kind of post-war stability. We then walked back out with Liz and as we were passing a shop she asked if I fancied a coffee. I replied “no, we’re nearly back so I’ll have one when we arrive back home”. She went in anyway and I noticed that she was buying an alcoholic drink. I didn’t say anything, I just watched as the shopkeeper collected all the ingredients to mix it.

Tonight was to empty the fridge of everything loitering in there, especially the stuffing left over from Saturday’s pepper. So I made a really nice curry of all kinds of bits and pieces, and forgot to put the stuffing in it.

Definitely not my day, is it?

Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be at my best, not that that is ever likely to happen. Piles of radio stuff and only one day to do it all before I leave.

The fact that I just can’t get myself up to date is another one of these mysteries that I don’t understand.

Friday 9th April 2021 – I’VE HAD SOMETHING …

… of a bad day today and I really don’t know why.

It all went wrong during the night when I spent most of it wracked with attacks of cramp and having to get up and walk about to ease it off. They say that the medication that I’m taking takes its time to work but I was expecting it to work quicker than this.

As a result I missed the first alarm this morning. Well, I didn’t because I did actually wake up, but I must have gone back to sleep because the second alarm brought me round properly. And then I spent the rest of the day fighting off the impulse to go back to sleep, sometimes unsuccessfully.

After the medication I went to listen to the dictaphone to hear if, despite the disturbed night, I’d been on any travels anywhere during the night. There was a train that had pulled into a platform but had stopped short to allow a pilot engine to be coupled up with I so consequently getting to it was a bi of a problem. People were having to leap over some adjacent track and a bay platform in order to get to the train. 1 passenger made it and the crew of the train made it over with the help of someone. Then another passenger tried it. It looks as if he made it OK and he got into the train but apparently he hadn’t. Then a 4th couple tried it and made quite a mess of it all. Then the train took off and it was all swaying around quite dramatically. 1 person who had only just caught it was hanging on for dear life in between 2 carriages and it wasn’t long before the whole thing was derailed. That was when I had a wicked attack of cramp that forced me to get up and walk about.

Somewhere along here was the story of a guy and his 2 acquaintances who were rustlers and were knocking everyone off. They’d already had 2 off this particular train that we were talking about and I don’t know how many more they were intending to have before they did some real damage.

For much of the morning I’ve been working on the photos from August 2019. I’ve dealt with another big pile of those today and I’m well ahead today. I’m now at the site of the ghost town of Kooi north-east of Sheridan in Wyoming heading towards the site of the Battlefield of the Little Big Horn

As well as that, I’ve done some of my arrears of my trip around Central Europe and some of my revision for my Welsh course but unfortunately I fell asleep in the middle of that and ended up dropping my papers all over the floor.

All in all, it’s not been a very successful day.

There was the afternoon walk around the headland, rather later than usual today, what with one thing and another.

man leaning on rock beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut time doesn’t seem to be an issue with this guy here on the beach.

The first thing that I did as usual was to stick my head over the wall at the end of the car park here to see what was going on down on the beach. There wasn’t much beach for anything to be going on this afternoon but the guy here managed to find a place to rest, leaning on a rather large rock as he admires the view of whatever was going out at sea.

But with the tide coming in quite rapidly, he’s chosen a good spot, at the foot of the steps up to the Rue du Nord to which he could make a hasty retreat without being cut off anywhere by the tide

Having seen the beach, I headed off along the top of the cliff towards the headland.

philcathane trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was an endless stream of trawlers heading out of the fishing port this afternoon. One after the other they were coming around the headland.

There could have been any one of them that I could have photographed but the one that caught my eye particularly was the trawler Philcathane, on her way out to the fishing grounds in the English Channel.

We’ve had the opportunity to examine her in the past when she’s been up on blocks in the chantier navale for a while and ONE NIGHT LAST AUGUST when she was sailing around the harbour late at night.

So leaving the other trawlers to their fate, I carried on with my walk along the headland towards the end of the Pointe du Roc

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOur friendly neighbourhood bird of prey is out there again this afternoon.

And I’m glad that it was too. With having seen people on the beach and people i.e. trawlers out at sea, all we needed now to make up our trilogy is is SOMETHING IN THE AIR, as Thunderclap Newman might have said.

You might have noticed in the photographs so far that we have really thick ten-tenths cloud which means that it’s impossible for us to see anything in the way of airliners and there was nothing going on in the way of light aircraft going to and from the airport. A bird of prey is just as good a substitute for an aeroplane in these circumstances.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here I had a good look across the sports field to see how they were getting on with the roofing job on the College Malraux.

And they seem to have put a spurt on just recently. They’ve been working from right to left on this side of the roof so they have now done over half of the roof on this side. Give them another six months and they might actually finish the job. They’ve been at it long enough.

What’s surprising though is that they seem to have found enough scaffolding to go all the way down that side. When they were doing the other side they only had enough to do half of it and they had to dismantle it and move it down the side halfway through the job.

man fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs well as the man on the beach, there was another man out there this afternoon down on the rocks.

My journey from the lawn takes me down the path by the war memorial to the Resistance and then across the car park. From there I can go down to the end of the headland and see what’s going on.

Having seen two guys the other day fishing off the rocks at the headland, they were both there this afternoon but today they were fishing off different rocks.

And once again, they didn’t actually catch anything while I was there. I’m at the stage where I’ve given up expecting to see someone haul a sea-bass out of the water, bad-tempered or not.

joly france english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was taking the photograph of Philcathane I’d noticed something else out to sea heading our way from the Ile de Chausey.

Having seen Chausiais coming back from the Ile de Chausey yesterday, today it’s the turn of one of the Joly France boats to make an appearance on these pages. We’ve seen both of them tied up at the ferry terminal and in the inner harbour and it’s been a long time since we’ve actually seen one riding the waves.

As she came on over across from the Ile de Chausey I wandered off along the path along the south side of the headland towards the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

anakena hermes 1 notre dame de cap lihou chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we have a change of occupancy in the chantier navale this afternoon

Yesterday we saw the portable boat lift loitering around above Lys Noir as if it was about to pick up the boat and take her to the water. Today, we can see that Lys Noir has now gone from the chantier navale back into the water.

That leaves us with just Anakena, Hermes 1, the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and, out of shot, Aztec Lady in there right now, with plenty of room for a couple of other boats to come in.

There’s plenty of activity going on at Anakena though right now with a couple of people standing on her deck talking. She is the boat that was marooned here when all of the ports in Northern Europe closed their doors to foreign boats. With Covid easing off now in several countries, it may be that she’s getting ready to leave port and continue with her journey.

Further on along the path I could see the boats that are still tied up at the fish processing plant.

coelacanthe tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallTwo of our favourite trawlers are moored to the quayside over there. They haven’t followed all of the rest out to sea this afternoon.

It’s not easy to tell which one is Coelacanthe and which one is Tiberiade when you see them on their own, but when you see them together like this you’ll see that Coelacanthe is slightly bigger and has the raised sides of the hull to protect the bridge doors.

The inner harbour was fairly empty this afternoon. Normandy Trader has left the port, probably on the early morning tide today, so I wandered off home for my hot cup of coffee and try to summon up the energy to carry on with what I had been doing.

As usual I knocked off for my guitar practice and then went for tea. I had a curry out of the freezer tonight with some rice and veg, followed by some more jam roly-poly.

But I imagine that I’m going to have some nightmares tonight because the video that I was watching while I was eating was one of these spaghetti westerns in Italian where right in front of my eyes we had a real genuine scalping with plenty of blood followed by someone being devoured alive by lizards and bats and the like.

Not the kind of thing that I enjoy watching at any time, especially when I’m eating my tea.

Now I’m off to bed. I don’t know where the time goes. Tomorrow I’m off for my second vaccination for Covid. It’s a long way to go, and an early start so I need to be on good form for that. Here’s hoping that I’ll have a better night than last night.

Friday 25th September 2020 – JUST IN CASE …

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… you were wondering – there has been a change in the weather.

It’s deteriorated.

You might not thnk so from looking at the photos but in fact these photos are taken at about the same time as yesterday, which means that the tide was half an hour or so lower than yesterday.

The wind was totally wicked, and just for the record, there was a gust of wind recorded during the night at 121 Km/H. It’s a good job that they dismantled the beach changing cabins earlier in the week.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt must have been the gust of wind that blew me out of bed this morning because by the time that the third alarm went off, I was already out of bed

And despite the fact that there was much less time in bed last night, I seem to have travelled quite far during the night.

We started off filming a western in the POWDER RIVER COUNTRY last night. There was a scene in it whereby the hero had to do something – travel a couple of hundred yards and do something on his horse and then get back to the main body of his troop and at the same time a group of native Americans was attacking him. There was this woman out in front. There were quite a few pages of plot line about this with speech and stage directions rather about how this was to be performed. But when we actually got round to performing it, there wasn’t really enough time to do these stage directions about how to handle the approach of these native Americans so in the end he did the basis of what he had to do and fled back to the main body. The natives led by this woman pursued him and was captured. It ended up being quite a different plot than the one that they were trying to film in the first place.

And I’m sure that there was much more than this, but I can’t remember it.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallLater on last night I was at the football. TNS were playing and we must have arrived late because when I arrived, to my surprise they were already one goal down. A couple of minutes later someone passed the ball back to the keeper but it was one of these high balls that was bouncing around and then keeper had to trap it. But as the ball bounced to the ground is swerved with the spin and went into the back of the net (this brings back an unhappy memory of a match in which I played in goal 50 years ago) and TNS were 2-0 down. People couldn’t believe this so they had a look and it wasn’t the usual goalkeeper but some young lad they had in goal. As if TNS would ever concede two goals with Paul Harrison in goal.
Someone else counted the players and TNS only had 10 on the field so we began to wonder what on earth was going on here.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallSome time later I’d been at school or college or somewhere. We were in a big room taking notes on something. It was something like a free study period. I was doing whatever it was that I was doing and there was a load of girls busy looking at maps. They kept on picking up these maps looking at them. In the end it was time that the lesson was over so they put these maps away. We all had to move off. I moved off behind a girl of mixed race with curly hair. There was some dry toast lying around so I picked up three or four slices to take with me to eat on the way. A few days later there was another free study period taking place outside. Everyone was sitting there around these little tables in this square surrounded by these old ruined houses. I found a vacant seat, sat down and started to look through my papers. I was feeling hungry so I was thinking of going to see if there was any food again. The guy sitting at our table facing me who had chosen his seat first – I mentioned to him that I was going to go. What I had also seen were some pictures of people jogging around in another square nearby. I thought that it was ages since I’d been jogging so I thought that I’d go and do some jogging and then get some food and then come back. This guy said to me “is your chair comfortable?” I replied “yes”. He said “you don’t mind if I sit in it for 10 minutes while you aren’t here. It’s a bit hot where I’m sitting”. I didn’t say much about that. I stood up and took my camera off the table. I noticed that there was a really nice cool breeze so we moved the table a little so that it would be in the centre of all this breeze

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallNow that the arrears have been dealt with, instead I carried on with some other work, of which there is more than enough.

Much of the morning was spent alternating between two tasks. Firstly, the photos from the trip on the Spirit of Conrad and also some rearranging of the kitchen. I alternated between one and the other as I became bored.

A pile of the photos bit the dust and I’m beginning to sense that I’m reaching the end of this batch (still plenty more batches to do though) of photos and all of the storage jars that I bought are now out of the bedroom and stacked on the shelves.

Some of them even have things in, and if that isn’t a sign of progress, I don’t know what is.

Even more exciting, a couple of weeks ago the metal retaining clip on an old one broke. And when I was sorting through the jars back in the Auvergne, I had a jar with a broken lid. So the idea was to fit the lid off the one with a broken clip onto the jar with the broken lid.

And if that sounds straightforward, it might be if I had a set or two of mole grips, because trying to keep two very strong spring metal clips in tension at the same time with your bare hands as you wrestle the one over the other is not easy.

At one point one of the clips soared off down the whole length of the apartment and it took me 20 minutes to find it. But it’s all done and assembled now, and I wonder what my next trick will be.

After lunch, I rekindled another old project of mine. Rewriting the web pages from the early days. I’m somewhere round by the Bay of Fundy in Canada at New Year’s Eve 2001/2002 and that’s making me so nostalgic you couldn’t imagine (or maybe you can). And I incorporated something from the course that I did a couple of weeks ago too.

While I was doing that I was continuing with the tidying up and also recording LPs with the USB turntable. Another 4 of those have gone the Way of the West.

But I’ve been giving more thought to the issue about the recording of cassettes. Knowing that my ZOOM H1 will record off the hi-fi via a direct line from the headphone socket, I wonder if it will record from the cassette unit from the old hi-fi stack via the RCA plugs and a suitable adapter.

There’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe walk outside this afternoon was horrendous. So much so that I elected not to hang around too long. Particularly after my hat took off in a gust of wind and I had to run after it.

The waves were being whipped into a frenzy by the storm that was raging flat-out right now. Trying to walk up the path towards the lighthouse was incredibly difficult in the teeth of this howling gale.

Round the other side of the headland at least I had the wind behind me. And you saw for yourselves earlier what it was doing to the waves and the sea wall for the tidal harbour.

You can tell how bad it was out there too by the fact that I didn’t hang around to take a photo of the pathetic parking at the College Malraux.

After the guitar practice was tea. But before I mention that, I found myself spending my half-hour bass session working out the bass line to one particular song.

And writing it down too. Not in proper musical notation – that’s a bit too far – but I’m amazed that I can still remember something from that music course that I did earlier this year too.

place d'armes porte st jean eglise notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy france eric hallTea was a curry out of the fridge, followed by rice pudding. And then I took my life into my hands by going outside.

Here’s a photo that you don’t see too often. I notice that they’ve managed to find a shilling at the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou because at long last they’ve illuminated the church spire again.

The Porte St Jean is looking quite nice too in the dark and lit up by the floodlights. I have to say that this is a really nice area to live despite the wind.

buttress medieval city wallsgranville manche normandy france eric hallNo-one else about at all, which was hardly a surprise so I didn’t have much company tonight.

The wind on the footpath underneath the walls was swirling around something wicked and running was extremely difficult. I made it to my mark though, which much effort and on looking back behind me I could see one of the buttresses illuminated by the street lights from the street above.

Despite the headwinds, I managed my two other runs all the way back here – and not without some difficulty. Not simply because of the winds per se but also because of the overturned street furniture, panes of glass (some second-home owner is going to be in for a shock when he returns) and the like littering the place.

Still, what do you expect with winds gusting well over 100 Km/H?

It’s shopping tomorrow so I imagine that not only will we have the gale-force winds but also a driving rainstorm and plagues of locusts too.

We’re definitely heading for winter now.

Thursday 20th August 2020 – IT’S BEEN …

clouds sunset english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall… another slightly better day today, and while you admire a few photos of the evening sunset – because I managed to get out and about today – I’ll tell you all about it.

Mind you, it could just as easily not have been because for some reason or other I couldn’t go to sleep last night. It was 01:30 and I was still awake, working on the computer.

But sleep I eventually did because the alarms awoke me at 06:00. Mind you, that doesn’t mean that I was out of bed at that time.

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall08:15 is a much more reasonable time to be leaving the bed when I’m not feeling well. Plenty of time for me to go off on a noturnal voyage here and there

I was in Scandinavia last night and there was some friction at the border, to do with transporting young people across the national line from one to the other. You aren’t allowed to do it, rather like the old Mann Act in the USA. I can’t remember but I was going across and it was a question of a girl who came under this particular jurisdiction. Whether she had come with me I dunno but I ended up being chased by these people who wanted to arrest me. We had all kinds of James Bond things, Spiderman leaping from buildings, all this kind of thing, running at ridiculous lengths for ridiculous distances at ridiculous speeds, everything so that I could get clear of whoever was pursuing me about this and eventually find my way across the border.

light out to sea english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallBack at the border again I was walking past a kind of supermarket which had a huge tent as an entrance. 4 or 5 men went in there. I thought that these looked suspicious – they were rough, heavily-armed type of people so I waited outside the door. There was someone else waiting outside the door too who was clearly going to be helping them. They came out with these two girls and it was clear that they were intending to take them across the border so I intercepted and grabbed hold of these two girls and steered them off and these people came after me. They caught me in some kind of area but I had a machine gun and just let fly at a couple of people with it. I can’t remember whether I hit anyone or anything like that. With this machine gun I was well in control of the situation here about liberating these two girls .

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallSome time later I was back in a similar kind of situation, if not further along on the same voyage. Yet again, it was a border crossing thing.

This time though I was on a motorbike this time having to cross the border which was not so straightforward as I would have liked bearing in mind that the countries were in the EU. Again it was a question of what to do with the young girl who was there.

Unfortunately I don’t remember much about it because I awoke in the middle of it with the thing well under way and I missed the most exciting bits – the story of my life I suppose.

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallSo now that I seem to be feeling a little better, what exactly have I done today to put my life back in order?

Apart from the usual bits of paperwork here and there that needed sticking away, I’ve actually been something of a busy boy, which took me completely by surprise.

Now that I’ve finally managed to organise the photographs of today you can see something of what I’ve been up to, if you are all up to it, that is.

crowds watching clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallFirst of all and most importantly, I’ve managed two meals today.

For tea this evening I had a ferret around in the freezer and ended up with a potato curry that I had made back in June with some rice. This was followed by an improvised dessert of pineapple chunks and ice cream.

For lunch though, there is no bread here so I had a couple of taco rolls with salad. It’s a good job that I have a packet or two of those in stock. And they were really nice too.

But two proper meals in a day is pretty much of an improvement.

crowds watching clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall
No bread reminded me that I ought to be doing something about it. After all, I have all of the ingredients and I seem to have a little energy and enthusiasm today.

I emptied a sachet of yeast into about 250 ml of slightly warm water into which a table spoon of sugar had been dissolved, and left the yeast to ferment. While that was a-doing I took 500 grammes of flour, added some salt and a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds and mixed it all together with my hands.

Then I added the liquid which by now had a nice frothy foam on top, and mixed it all together and gave it a really good kneading to mix it all togather. When the dough had all gone nice and smooth and elastic afer about 10 minutes, I put it on one side with a cover over the top to proof.

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallThe bread usually takes about an hour or an hour and a half to proof – the dough should double in size – so there’s plenty of time to be getting on with things.

And things I did too. There was another little session on the photos from my little voyage too, and I managed to complete about 35 of them this afternoon.

That might not sound as if it’s very much but the fact that I’ve been able to concentrate to that extent is definitely something of an improvement over how I’ve been for the last few days.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallFinding that I was still feeling somewhat better, I plucked up the courage to go for a walk around outside.

And I’m glad that I did, even if it was something of a very slow stagger around, because it really was a beautiful day out there this afternoon. Down on the beach just below the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord there were plenty of people enjoying it.

It was the kind of thing that might have tempted me to go and join them but I wasn’t sure how I’d climb back up the steps.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd so instead I pushed on along the pathway underneath the walls, fighting my way through the throngs of people out taking the air.

Down on the beach at the Plat Gousset there were plenty of people taking the sun too. The tide was well out, as you saw in the previous photo, so there was plenty of room to spread out for your social distancing.

That’s going to be pretty important too because one thing that I know about these viruses, having spent so much time reading about the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918, is that it’sll be back. And back in spades too.

young seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallOne of the things that I wanted to do while I was out was to check on how the baby seagulls were doing.

Off I toddled around to the Square Maurice Marland where I could see over the roofs of the houses in the Rue des Juifs where they had made their nests earlier this year. And sure enough, there was a very fine example of a baby seagull just here.

Not such a baby now either. Probably as big as his mum, I reckon. But at least he’s one of the survivors. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the baby that we were following at first didn’t seem to make it.

tree trunks wrapped in woollen texture square maurice marland granville manche normandy france eric hallBut what’s going on here? This is something completely new that wasn’t here before.

Down on a couple of the trees at the far end of the Square someone has seen fit to knit some kind of woollen warmer for the tree trunks of a couple of the trees. This is extremely puzzling. I don’t understand the purpose of this. After all, the trees have managed quite well on their own for the last God knows how long.

The artists around here are a funny lot, that’s for sure.

Back in the apartment I had a look at the bread to see how it was doing.

It had risen somewhat, although nothing like what I was hoping for. That seems to be a problem with the bread that I make. But anyway, I gave it another good kneading, shaped it, and put it into the mould that I use and which I had greased all ready. It can have another go.

And while it was doing, I went and had a crash out on the chair in the bedroom. The walk had done me in for right now.

home made bread place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hall
When I’d recovered my wits – not that that takes too long these days because I don’t have too many left – I switched on the oven and when it was hot, I bunged the bread inside.

70 minutes later, the timer switched off so I went to extract it. And by the looks of things it came out really well too. Not quite as overwhelming as the previous one, but still looking pretty good.

As for how it tastes, I’ll give you my verdict on that tomorrow lunchtime when I try it. Home-made bread is always good.

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallBy now I’d recovered womwhat from my exertions of the afternoon walk so I decided to take my courage in my two hands and set out for an evening walk.

And how there’s been a change since I was here last because even though it’s only 21:00 the sun is sinking rapidly down behind the horizon. Crowds of people out there enjoying it too, which is not much good for the social distancing, but that’s going to be an eternal problem, I reckon.

Nevertheless I hung around and took a few shots of the sun sinking into the sea.

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallTen seconds later the sun had gone completely.

You have no idea whatever of just how quicky the sun disappears. By my timing and that of the camera, it was still over 100% above the water just 3.5 minutes ago and that is really quite some going.

And once the sun had gone, the crowds on the headland here slowly dispersed, and me along with it. I had plenty of other things to be doing now that I’m out and about.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued on around to the other side of the headland.

As well as checking up on the baby seagulls I wanted to check up on the chantier navale too. That’s a regular port … “very good” – ed … on out travels. There are four boats in there this evening, and I don’t know if that’s more or less than last time because I can’t remember how many were in there the last time that I looked.

And even though it’s 21:15, there are people down there working on one of the boats. I suppose that when it’s your living, you don’t do an 8-hour day 9-5.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd the people in the chantier navale weren’t the only ones out there working this evening.

As I watched, one of the Joly France boats, one of the two that run the ferries across to the Ile de Chausey, came around the headland towards the port. She had quite a crowd of people on board too. They must have had a really good day out today.

She’ll go right over to her starboard (right-hand) side to come into the harbour. The running water out of the harbour drain has scoured away a chanel over on that side so there’s more depth for the boats to make use of.

philcathane trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFrom the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale I walked down the Boulevard Vaufleury to the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

There’s a viewpoint there that overlooks the inner harbour and I was interested to see who might be in there. The answer to that was “no-one special”. Just a whole collection of assorted fishing boats, amongst which was the trawler Philcathane, all nicely lit up and reflecting in the water.

From here I walked on home. No chance of running because I’m not up to that.

In fact the walks took a great deal out of me. I was exhausted after the first walk and crashed out on the chair. Right now, after the second, I’m even more exhausted and I’ll be off to bed in a minute. I’ve also made a couple of trips down to fetch stuff from Caliburn but I forgot to mention those earlier. There will have to be a major washing-up session soon so that I can clean everything that I brought with me, once I feel up to it.

So progress is being made – slowly but surely. It’s just like when I was in the High Arctic last year and how I slowly recovered at Rachel’s after my exertions over the three preceding months.

I’m clearly not as well as I used to be.

Monday 21st October 2019 – YOU CAN SAY …

… that again!!!!

Certainly glad to be back in my own bed last night. So much so that I was in it for a grand total of FOURTEEN HOURS!

12:10 when my eyes first saw the light of day, but it was more like 13:10 when i crawled out of ye olde stinkinge pitte and looked around the room.

Nothing much seems to have changed except that the language settings on the laptop in the dining room have been changed and some of the clothes in the drawer seem to have been rearranged. I wish that people would leave things as they find them when they look around. I have a hard-enough time trying to find things that I’ve moved, never mind things that others have moved.

And if you don’t know how to disable the logging-on timer on a computer, you shouldn’t be logging on. I tell you – I learnt an awful lot when I studied for my Diploma in Computing.

Mind you, none of the foregoing is to give the impression that I was stark out for all of that time. One glance at the dictaphone is enough to convince anyone. 5 entries there are, and a total of 13 minutes of recording.

That must have been some eventful night and I can’t wait to find out where I was and where I went.

So, the medication and a very late lunch – never mind breakfast. And then to work.

With being away for as long as I had, there was a huge pile of stuff on the back-up drive and all of it needed copying over to the desktop machine. And then with it having been installed on at least three other machines over a short space of time, it all needed verifying to make sure that I had everything in one place – and in the right place too.

There was a short break while I went for a walk. And having missed the morning walk that I promised myself, I went on an extended circuit – the one that goes over the new bit of path that they rebuilt.

And I can safely say that after my four months away from home, I’m leaner and fitter. As well as meaner, but that’s a completely different story.

Flak at the bat, I carried on with the updating of everything, and then started on another little project.

granville manche normandy franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that I now have a new web-stats analyser on my blog.

And who could fail to fall in love with it when not only does it give me accurate information for a change, it gives me facilities like this aside?

Yes, it’s all out there and freely available. You won’t get any better (or worse, depending on your point of view) information from anywhere. And so I’m going to add this analyser to all of my other sites. I’ve long-suspected that the stats that I’ve been receiving from them are pretty much rubbish too

And I’ve found out why the stats on another of my sites has plummeted so much just recently. It seems that when there was a server upgrade a while ago, I was given a free secure site upgrade, and that’s running as a mirror site. And while I’ve had 2353 hits so far this month on the “standard” unsecured site, the secured (https) site has received 1669 in October to date.

When I add those two together, it gives a figure much more in line with what I would ordinarily expect to see.

As a result, I’ve started a project that will see a different hit counter added to both these sites. Mind you, just like all of the projects that I have on the go right now, heaven alone knows when this one will be completed.

And that reminds me – for the dozens of users still using Windows version 7 – you do know that Microsoft is discontinuing support for it in the New Year? You need to upgrade your version of Windows or else make sure that you have a good anti-virus.

Another thing that I did today was to install a new internet chat facility on the desktop machine. The old-established ones are dying like flies so I need something more modern. Rhys and I were having a play around with it today to find its strengths and weaknesses.

For tea I had to chisel the drawers out of the freezer to find a curry and vegetables. The door being closed for four months without any air circulation has led to a build-up of ice inside and I had some kind of difficulty opening it all.

But a lovely potato and vegetable curry went down really well and for dessert, I found some chocolate. That will do me just fine until I can get round to organising myself again.

And I need to too. You’ve no idea how long it took me to figure out how to use the microwave oven again.

There’s an acoustic guitar in here so as well as the bass I’ve been plucking away at Kris Kristofferson’s “Bobby McGee”. I’m determined to master that, and master it pretty soon.

And talking of music, for most of the day I’ve had the music going on on the computer – Traffic’s “On The Road” on a continuous loop. One of those albums that I never tire of hearing. And I’ll be listening to it for most of the night because I’m not in the least tired. 14 hours of sleep means a lot of awakening.

Perhaps I should watch a film?

Tuesday 17th September 2019 – I’M HARD-PRESSED …

… to remember what it was that I did today. I must have done something or other I suppose, so I’ll have to dig deep.

One thing that I do know is that it should have been an early night, but totally destroyed by a wicked attack of cramp just as I was going to bed. And that was really my lot unfortunately as far as that was concerned.

But I did end up going to sleep eventually – at least until about 05:30 when I was awakened by yet another bad attack of cramp.

Somewhere during the night though I must have been in some kind of consciousness because there’s an entry on the dictaphone – 00:02:05 of it too and I would ordinarily listen to it to see where I was and who I was with, but I’m listening to some Hawkwind right now.

What is exciting about this album – or, rather, the original digital track – is that due to “contractual difficulties”, the tracks featuring lyrics and vocals by sci-fi writer Michael Moorcock (who I particularly enjoyed whenever he fronted Hawkwind) were omitted from the original vinyl album. But on the digital master tapes they are all there in all their glory.

On a rare night off from work, I saw this concert at the Free Trade Hall in Hanley. This was live Hawkwind at its finest and I remember being totally overwhelmed by it all.

As usual, I took the girls to school and then went shopping for a few things. And to my mailbox out on the River du Chute road to see if Strider’s licence tags had arrived. And I was in luck too. So they are on his licence plate and we are all legal. Insurance, safety and licence. What more could any vehicle require?

Up at the shop I hung around for a while, handling a few of the customers (I’m funny that way) then at lunchtime I came back home. A few things to do, some packing to organise, a shower to clean myself up, some lunch, and then I made a curry.

Par-boiled some potatoes and carrots and while they were doing, I fried some onions in olive oil with cumin, coriander and turmeric. When they had browned I added the garlic and mixed it all round.

Once that was looking nice, I added some mushrooms and peppers and had them thoroughly fried. And then tipped in the par-boiled potatoes and carrots. Add some coconut milk and a vegan stock cube, and leave it to simmer for 15 minutes. Finally some bulghour to thicken it out.

Up at the shop I loitered around again.

But here’s a thing. The car fairy has been to visit.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the ancient 1-tonne Ford with the big aluminium body that has been laid up at the garage since 2000 without turning a wheel since.

Well, today it mysteriously disappeared as if by magic and it’s miraculously turned up here back at the house. I wonder how that happened.

My curry went down really well tonight. Our little visitor left the table with a wiped-clean plate and told me that it was the best meal that she had eaten here.

Mind you, I’m not sure whether that says more about the curry or more about the rest of the meals that I have cooked while she’s been here.

This evening I’ve been downloading again. First off is Every Which Way. That’s an album by a group of musicians put together by Brian Davison, the former drummer in The Nice. Rare as hen’s teeth and my album is totally worn out after a frenetic spell in the late 1970s and early 1980s. A couple of tracks on there are really good.

The second download though breaks a habit of a recent lifetime in that I don’t actually own the album. But it appeared on the list right after the previous one above and I heard it by accident. And it so impressed me that I downloaded it and I’ll find a CD or a vinyl in early course.

I’m sure that very few – if any – people reading this post will have heard of Gay and Terry Woods. They were a couple of Irish folk singers who were invited into the first incarnation of Steeleye Span by Ashley Hutchings. Although they performed on the album “Hark The Village Wait” they didn’t stick around and for a brief period performed as a duo with various eclectic musicians.

It’s all just a faint glimmer in the back of my mind from 1971 and I hadn’t really any idea that they had released an album. But here it is, in all its glory.

This evening I finished off the lemon swirl vegan mousse, performed a computer back-up and I’m ready to hit the road tomorrow.

But part of the back-up involved the dictaphone files and I had a listen to the famous recording – all 00:08:02 of it – of the nightmare that I had the other night. And I’m astonished by the depth of emotion that I spat out. Like I said at the time, I thought that I had put all of that behind me a long time ago.

But apparently not. And that fills me with dismay. Who knows what other demons are lurking in the shadows waiting to be unleashed? That’s the bit that’s filling me full of dread for the future.

But then, as Alfred Whitehead once famously wrote, “It is the business of the future to be dangerous”.

Wednesday 8th May 2019 – THE BIG ADVANTAGE …

… about wearing the kind of clothes that I do (fleeces, shell-suit trousers) is that when I’m caught outside in a torrential downpour for 10 minutes, I dry off just as quickly as I became wet once the sun came out.

trawler brittany coast granville manche normandy franceThis afternoon I went out and about on my afternoon ramble with the aim of going down to the chantier navale

However I was held up at the top of the Pointe du Roc by an exceptionally good view of the Brittany coast.

It’s not come out so well though, because even with the monopod the strong gusting winds were making it impossible to hold the camera steady.

viewing platform pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceJust for a change seeing as I was heading down to the harbour, I took the stairs all the way down to the foot of the Pointe du Roc.

We’d been down there once or twice after it reopened and I’d taken a few photos when I was down there on the viewing platform.

But it came to my mind that I hadn’t taken a photo of the viewing platform itself. I need to remedy that.

concrete wire anchor granville manche normandy franceContinuing on around the footpath, and dodging the pedestrians who pressed on regardless of how narrow the path was, I had a good look around.

And here’s something that I missed on the previous occasions when I’ve been round here. It’s a concrete wire anchor, presumably for a radio mast or something similar, and quite possibly dating from the time of the Atlantic Wall.

I’ll have to look on my 1943 photograph and see if there’s anything that gives me a clue.

And it was round about here that I was drenched in the rain.

grand beau temps chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe maystery of the new yacht in the chantier navale is resolved.

She’s called the Grand Beau Temps and she is apparently registered here in Granville, although I don’t actually recall having seen her here in the harbour.

There wasn’t anyone around working on her to ask any questions unfortunately, so I don’t know any more about her.

dredger st gilles croix de vie chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWhile I was down here, I went over to have a good look at the red and yellow pontoon that has been in the harbour for a couple of weeks and has now appeared in the chantier navale

The first thing that caught my eye was here on the front. It looked at first as if it might be a grab of some description

But a closer inspection revealed that it might actually be some kind of gratter and suction pump

dredger st gilles croix de vie chantier navale port de granville harbour  manche normandy franceRound the back, there is what appears to be a suction outlet.

And that makes it much more clear. She’s probably a dredger, although that doesn’t explain why she’s been in the harbour here the last couple of weeks.

After all, they only dredged that last winter and it won’t be silted up quite yet.

There’s a plaque from the owners affixed to the cabin. and the surprising thing that the plaque told me was that she’s apparently owned by the town of St Gilles Croix de Vie

That’s on the Vendée coast opposite the Ile de Yeu where Cécile lived and where I went to visit back in 2013.

So the plot sickens.

This morning, having had a good early night and a decent sleep, I was up and about before the final alarm wen toff, which is always good news.

I’d been on a little voyage too during the night. I had an appointment at the Income Tax Office of all places in Northwich at 14:30. I was in Middlewich about an hour before, although it wasn’t much like Mifddlewich, and I had a couple of bags with me and a few other bits and pieces. I was on foot. I suddenly thought “how do I get to Northwich?”. I know the two roads that go there but which one do I take and which one gets me to the town centre because I couldn’t think which would be the best way to go. I was walking past Middlewich railway station (which was nothing at all like Middlewich railway station). There were some travellers parked there, a fairground, loads of buses and cars parked around there. And a taxi, an old FX4, was going to the station. It was L-registered (1973) so I thought that this must be the oldest taxi still working in the UK. It was rattling and clanking. I had to climb the hill to get over the railway bridge which of course doesn’t exist (but reminded me of where the canalised Weaver runs through Northwich near the old Hospital) but going up this bridge I just could not put one foot in front of another. It was just as if I was having to drag tons of stuff up behind me over this bridge. All I had was a couple of files of paperwork. I was just not able to put one foot in front of another. In the end there was some kind of office and for some reason I went in to sit down. It was like a doctor’s surgery with loads of people sitting round. I sat down and there were a couple of small girls behind me about 6 years old chatting like little girls do. I suddenly wondered why I was there. This wasn’t doing me any good at all, I had my appointment at 14:30 and it was now 14:15. I thought that I would now have to take a taxi to get there on time and I’ll need some money for that – I didn’t have any English money. So I stood up ans started to go out of this room. I said to everyone, as a gesture of pride, that I would be back in a minute. Some woman asked “how long?” so I replied “a minute or two” but of course I wasn’t coming back at all. I smiled at this young woman by the door and said “you can’t do anything without any money, can you?” and I went out, planning to go to the station to see if that taxi was there.
At some point though right at the very beginning of this I’d been out on the Northwich by-pass. I remember thinking that I didn’t have much time but I was hungry and there was a corner shop in one of the small towns on the by-pass so I remember walking there thinking that most people wouldn’t bother doing this because it would be too far. But I went anyway, ended up in this town, missed the corner shop and that might have been where I ended up in Middlewich.

With an early morning, we ended up with an early start to work and, in some really excellent news as far as I’m concerned, I’ve finished all of the dictaphone notes.

And I’ve also linked up the notes to the photos for Canada October 2015 and made a start on September 2015.

This is great progress indeed – to finish off one of my long-term tasks – and I gave myself a metaphorical pat on the back.

There are still plenty of other long-term tasks that need attention, so it’s not really made mush difference to the backlog of work.

It also helped that I didn’t have any distractions of any kind today, except lunch and my afternoon walk.

And also, a little 20-minute relax on the chair.

Another thing that is some kind of progression is that I now know what to do with the left-over stuffing from the pepper. Slice some onion and garlic and fry it with cumin, coriander and turmeric. In the meantime, cut a small potato into small cubes and give it three minutes in the microwave.

Then add the potato, the left-over stuffing and anything else that’s lying around and likely to be wasted, and make some rice and vegetables, and there you are.

Followed down by apple pie and coconut sorbet. Absolutely delicious.

casino beach plat gousset granville manche normandy franceAnd then out and about for the evening walk around the walls.

The light was really good tonight, looking towards the east, and the casino and the beach at the Plat Gousset were perfectly illuminated.

It’s a shame that there were so few people about out there enjoying it. Half a dozen down there on the beach and the promenade and just two or three people wandering around the walls.

victor hugo port de granville harbour  manche normandy franceWhile I was out wandering around the walls, I’d seen something moving rapidly across the sea.

No prizes for guessing what it was, because it’s that time of the evening. So I wandered round to the other side of the walls and there I encountered Victor Hugo just coming into port.

It’s that time of the year again and so the regular runs to the Channel Islands have restarted. She’ll be in and out on a regular basis for the rest of the summer season.

trawlers waiting for port de granville harbour gates manche normandy franceThat wasn’t the only action that was going on down in the harbour.

The harbour gates are closed as you can see, and the red lights on display give that indication to ships and boats about to come in.

But there’a a queue of trawlers lined up at the harbour gates so I reckon that the gates must be right on the point of opening.

And now I’m going to have yet another early night. I need a good shower to clean up, and then it’s shopping time tomorrow. I need to be on form and it would do me good.

victor hugo port de granville harbour manche normandy france
victor hugo port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Monday 6th May 2019 – AND IN OTHER …

… news, I have made great advances today.

The number of files left to deal with on the backlog of dictaphone notes is down to a mere 94. And every one of those relates to my voyage around Canada in autumn 2015 and thus are very likely to have already been copied onto text.

Even more surprisingly, I’ve actually managed to trace the notes, so tomorrow’s plan is to listen to the dictaphone notes while I’m reading the text and make sure that it’s all there.

And then that will be at least one of my long-term plans all done and dusted and out of the way.

Now the one problem with having a really early night (like 21:45, for example), a really good sleep with just one or two slight interruptions, ignoring the alarms and sleeping through until 06:45, the fact is that when I finally did crawl out of my stinking pit, I felt … errr … even worse.

Plenty of time to go on a travel too during the night. I was in some town or other not too far from where I live, and came across an Auchan supermarket. I thought that I’d go in there to see if they had any of their weigh’n’save stuff. So off I trotted and it suddenly became an internal market hall. I wandered around it but then everyone was being ushered to one side. I asked a girl what was going on, she replied that the President of the Republic was coming. I asked why, and she said that he was going to have treatment at the local hospital and this was where they were dropping him off. So why didn’t they drop him off at the hospital? She replied that he wanted to be seen as very populaire dropped off amongst the people and he could walk up there. He and his entourage would walk up there, about half an hour or so to get there. That might be OK for him but what about everyone else? I could see in the distance a big Mercedes van about to pull up and I imagined that that was him in there.

There was plenty of other stuff going on too during the night, but as you are probably eating your evening meal right now, I’ll spare you the gory details.

So with a late start, it was a late breakfast and so on, and then I cracked on with the dictaphone notes. And that’s how I’ve spent most of the day.

trawler ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceWe had several interruptions though. lunch, of course, and my afternoon walk.

There were plenty of trawlers out there again off the coast. This one was out there in the channel between the Ile de Chausey and the Pointe du Roc.

There were a few other ones further out too, closer to the Ile de Chausey.

working on monument de la resistance pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days ago we witnessed a few people marking out the grass and telling me that they plan to erect a memorial here.

Sure enough, today they have brought in the diggers and earth-moving equipment and they have made a start on digging up the grass.

They’ve already laid some gravel on what they have dug out, and there’s a compactor there busily firming it up.

working on monument de la resistance pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceBut this is something that I really don’t understand.

Regular readers of this rubbish willrecall a while back that they had dug up part of the grass and eventually, after much delay, they installed a noticeboard and a path leading thereto.

But only a few months after spending all of that time and money doing all of that, they have gone along and dug it all up again for this work.

It’s not what I would call “joined-up thinking”.

lifeboat memorial harbour light baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceIt was a beautiful afternoon for photography and the view from the lifeboat memorial was particularly impressive.

The tide is quite far out this afternoon and the harbour marker light is clearly visible on its rock. We can see the red bands around it that give some kind of indication of the condition of the tides.

I’m wondering whether there is some kind of correlation between the markings and the opening of the harbour gates. I shall have to check this.

trawler brittany coast granville manche normandy franceRemember yesterday when I saw something out there on the horizon over on the Brittany coast?

With it being such a beautiful afternoon I took the photo again to see whether there was any difference between the two, which might indicate whether there was a moving object on there.

The view was particularly clear and we can see the Brittany coast all the way down past St Malo. There’s the island of cézembre at the mouth of the harbour at St Malo and the tower is, I reckon, a lighthouse on one of the outlying islands.

But we can also see in the background the Brittany coast all the way along to Cap Fréhal (about 60 kms away) and maybe even beyond as far as Paimpol.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWe went along on the cliffs above the chantier navale to se what was going on down there today;

one of the trawlers has gone back into the water and in its place is a large sailing yacht. It looks vaguely familiar to me but I can’t recall its name right now.

It’ll give me something to do on Wednesday to go down there and have a look at it to see who she is.

Another interruption was a visit from the courier too. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my Canadian bank card ran out last month and I need the new one before I can get to my branch, so I called them up the other day.

And I certainly didn’t expect it to be delivered so quickly, and by courier too. So hats off to the Scotia Bank.

And remember the bank card that I left behind in the cash machine in Leuven? The replacement turned up today too from the BNP Paribas.

Tea was baked potatoes and potato curry from November, followed by a slice of my apple pie and the last of the soya cream. The base of the pie is slightly under-cooked, which means that either the temperature was too high or else the pie was too high in the oven.

I was planning to go on my evening walk afterwards, but a football match came on the internet. The final of the Welsh FA Youth Cup between Aberystwyth Town under-19s and Cefn Druids under-19s.

This was a really exciting match, won 2-1 quite rightly by Aberystwyth, but what was even more interesting was that there were half a dozen players out there who could walk into almost any Welsh Premier League side and not be out of place.

Both keepers were excellent as were both left-backs. But star of the show has to be Aberystwyth’s centre-half Lee Jenkins. He’s only 17 but captains the Wales under-18s and has been a regular in the Aberystwyth Town first team for over a year.

He’s a player who is destined for bigger things, I’m sure.

So now, rather later than planned, I’m off to bed.

But I’ve had a good day so I don’t really mind.

trawler english channel jersey granville manche normandy france
trawler english channel jersey granville manche normandy france

Wednesday 1st May 2019 – BANE OF BRITAIN …

… strikes again!

There i was, up before the final alarm clock, breakfasted and tidied up, and even on the point of starting work, and wondering why I hadn’t heard the kids going past on their way to school.

And then suddenly it struck me. It’s the 1st of May today, and in France that’s the Fête du Travail and in France they celebrate the Festival of Work by … errr … taking a day off work.

It’s a Bank Holiday today and usually I celebrate Bank Holiday by switching off the alarms and having a lie-in. And that’s when I remember of course.

Despite the early start there was plenty of time to go on a nocturnal ramble. Last night there was something going on in the place where I was living where we had been overrun by the enemy or a new political party or something but there were people wearing blue tee-shirts and pink shorts like footballers who seemed to be in charge and the general view was not to resist them. But you can imagine me – I was having none of this at all. This was unfortunately all that I could remember – there was much more of this. There was something about a concert (I couldn’t transcribe this as I didn’t understand it) and I was riding a horse in this and despite all of the difficult arrangements of the course and the way that it had been set out and how it had been set out to please the invaders I managed to get round there with no faults which impressed almost everyone who was watching me.

There was more too but I shall spare you the detains seeing as you are probably eating your tea or something.

After I’d organised myself for the day and started work, I had a telephone call from Rosemary. And so we were chatting away for quite some considerable time.

Once I’d gone back to work, I started on the dictaphone notes. That took me up to lunchtime and another load has disappeared into the “filing” drawer. Only another 211 to go, so I need to get a wiggle on.

Lunch was inside again, and then I had a couple of duties to perform this afternoon.

Fighting off the fatigue I got in touch with Acer. Being as impressed with the Solid-State Drive in this computer and having an old laptop with a failed hard drive in an accessible position, I enquired as to whether a Solid State Drive would work in it. I explained that it was working on Windows 8.1 but he was talking at great length about Windows 7.0 and how my laptop wouldn’t be compatible with a Solid-State Drive.

I suppose that I’ll have to buy one and try it and see.

hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceThis was the cue to go for an early walk.

And with it being a Bank Holiday I wasn’t alone out there. Not only were there hordes of people taking the air this afternoon, we were being entertained by a group of hang-gliders likewise taking the air.

I’m absolutely certain that I wouldn’t like to be up (or down) there doing that.

map atlantic wall pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceThe main reason for me being out and about early was that I had an appointment this afternoon.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, a few weeks ago I caught them opening up one of the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall.

I met the guy yesterday and he told me that they were preparing an exhibition for D-Day and he wondered whether I might like to speak to any English-speaking visitors who might be present.

interior bunker pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceThe boss was due to be there at 15:00 so I turned up at about 15:15, only to find that he wasn’t coming at all.

I had a conducted tour of another bunker as recompense. This was one of the ones that overlooked the approach to the harbour and was fitted with a 105mm gun of the type that would be carried on a submarine.

They are hoping to be able to obtain one to mount in here as a display once the bunker is opened to the public

Back here, I rang up my bank in Canada. My bank card has expired and I won’t be back at the Branch where it’s held until September. However, I’m planning on being in Canada much earlier than that so I need access to my account.

After a lengthy discussion they agreed to post it to me here instead.

That left me just enough time to deal with the outstanding photos for the recent blog entries – and they are now up-to-date as far back as my trip to the High Arctic.

I’ll need to press on with that.

Tea was exciting though. all kinds of bits and pieces left over, like a couple of mushrooms, a bit of a pepper, an old potato and so on, so I cooked it all up into a curry with some bulghour and had it with rice and veg, followed by the last of the rice pudding.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOn my walk this evening there wasn’t much going on, except the fact that Thora has appeared in harbour again.

What drew my attention to her was the fact that she had a shipping container on her deck. I’ve no idea what there might be in but it must be something important.

And with the rather rapid turn-round that they seem to be doing in the harbour these days I wonder if she will still be there in the morning.

So with shopping tomorrow, I’m going to have an early night. There’s plenty to do and not much time to do it.

hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

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

hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

bomb damage pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
bomb damage pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

fishing boats baie du mont st michel granville manche normandy france
fishing boats baie du mont st michel granville manche normandy franc

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

Wednesday 6th February 2019 – I’M WET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spend! Spend! Spend!

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

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

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

This is all getting very interesting.

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

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

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

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