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Thursday 23rd September 2021 – WHAT A BEAUTIFUL …

montmartin sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… day it was today – at least, the afternoon of it.

The sky was as clear as a bell and you could see for miles, way out to sea and all along the coast too. With the sun now shining brightly, and down at a lower angle, it had lit up the town of Montmartin sur Mer as if it had been in a spotlight on a stage.

And when I blew up the photo, I could even make out some people on the beach, and that’s pretty good going for that kind of distance.

st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021The view was just as good further out to sea as well.

It was another one of those days where not only was Jersey really clear on the horizon 58 kilometres away, we could even make out some of the buildings at St Helier.

The big tower over to the left is very intriguing. It really could be anything – the “Marine Peilstand 1 Tower” which was a German Army artillery ranging point or La Tour de Vinde, a Napoleonic-era Martello tower, or even the tower the name of which I have forgotten that overlooks St Brelade’s Bay.

yacht ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further on around to the west, the Ile de Chausey was looking quite good too.

The colours weren’t as brilliant or as visible as we have seen them on the odd occasion here and there but the little white cottages at the foot of the lighthouse stand out quite clearly against the dark background of the hill on which the lighthouse is situated.

There wasn’t much going on out at sea though this afternoon. There was just a yacht drifting about rather aimlessly and what looks like a motor boat on the extreme right, but that was about everything.

trawler cap frehel brittany coast France Eric Hall photo September 2021Finally, finishing off our arc from north-east to due west, from my vantage point on top of the bunker at the back of the lighthouse the view was even better.

Right out there in the distance, 70 kilometres away, the lighthouse and fort at Cap Frehel were visible with the naked eye this afternoon, never mind with the camera’s zoom lens.

And we could even see the headland around at the end of the next bay, which I think is the Ile de Brehat at the mouth of the River Trieux

There’s a trawler out there as well, and we can even see that it has its nets out this afternoon. That’s what I call a really good day.

But I’m glad that some people had a really good day today because I had an absolutely awful one.

The night wasn’t as early as I was hoping and when the alarm went off at 06:00 I was right out of it, absolutely and completely. And having another feverish sweat as well.

There wasn’t even time to finish checking my mails and messages before I had gone west and I ended up, to my complete and utter dismay, back in bed and under the covers again. Twice in three days, after going for a couple of years without doing so. That’s a sign of how I’m feeling right now.

It was about 10:20 when I finally staggered out of bed and I’m not sure if I wasn’t feeling any worse either. It took me an age to pull myself together.

But once I did, I made an Executive Decision, and for the benefit of any new reader (of which there are more than just a few these days), an Executive Decision is one where if it’s the wrong decision, the person who made it is executed.

And the decision is that I’ve changed the time of the alarm from 06:00 to 07:30 to give myself an extra 90 minutes in bed, until this situation resolves itself one way or another. Just on Mondays will I be having an 06:00 alarm call as I have the radio stuff to do.

Once I’d had a coffee I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I had to go to meet my aunt off the ferry that was coming in at 06:00 so I had to get up early. There was half my family in my apartment and that was uncomfortable for a start. When I set off, I didn’t realise actually where I was going to have to go to meet everyone. I ended up at the shop and was in there when suddenly my mother walked in. There was some discussion with the shopkeeper about tickets to go to meet people, all this kind of thing, tickets to come back from the ferry terminal on the bus to where they were dropped off at his shop. He said “if my aunt comes, she’ll have a ticket and we can all arrange it them”. Then I had my mother and my brother trying to argue with me. I said “look, for the last 20-odd years I’ve lived on my own. I’m not used to all these people”. That led to a few ribald remarks from my brother and one or two other people. As we walked back to my apartment I found myself thinking “I wish there were some other apartments in this building vacant where I could stick them and get them out of my hair”. There was something as well that I’d told one of my sisters about a book about a Chinese disc jockey that summed up quite a lot the way that I’d been feeling. All the way back we had “my sister couldn’t be bothered to read that book” all that kind of thing and it was a most uncomfortable dream.

I was out with TOTGA last night, of all people. I’d been to go to a Conference on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday so I went to the hotel which was near Birmingham and booked myself in for the Tuesday night to start on Wednesday morning. There were another 2 people there booking and they were only booking for the Wednesday night and Thursday on the same course. He asked me why, and I recognised one of them. I knew that he lived fairly locally so I said that I imagined that he would come straight from home for the conference and then come back here for the next two nights. I can’t remember how it went on from there but there was some time to kill so I ended up going for a walk with TOTGA. We were hand-in-hand walking and chatting. She asked where I would like to go but I didn’t really have much of an idea. She said “how about the cinema?”. I’d never been to the new cinema in Crewe so I said “yes, fine”. We walked along Wistaston Road. There was a queue outside the cinema and it slowly started to move. The tickets were £27:00 to go in, so I thought that I’d pay for her but she was renewing her annual subscription so she said that she’d pay. I insisted on paying but the woman at the counter said “you know that hers is £999, don’t you?” I replied “right, in that case I’d better let you pay”. We arranged to meet one lunchtime as well. She asked me where we’d meet so I replied “why not the cinema?”. We agreed that we’d meet on the lunchtime at the cinema. Then there was the case of making a snack. She had bought me a pizza from here once so I thought “right, we’ll have a pizza”. Apparently you made your own. The cheese though was like a spread that you spread over the base of your pizza and put your topping on top which I thought was an extremely strange way of going about things but I started to do that.

I’d been working on repairing an old MkII Ford Consul. We’d had the engine all stripped down in situ and reassembled it. The owner, my father, was not very happy about everything. He saw petrol lying around in cans and he went and took them away. I had to clean all of these parts, and in the end someone went and fetched the petrol back so I cleaned all of the parts of the carburettor and reassembled it. There were still a few bits and pieces left to do including fuelling it up because there was very little petrol left in it but someone had brought a portable bed and gone to sleep right up against the car where the fuel filler was so I couldn’t reach it. In the end my father came back and asked how we were doing. I replied that it was almost done. He made a few remarks about a few bits that were missing, all this kind of thing. I said “it’s not trouble at all, they aren’t really necessary until we find out how the car runs”. We went to start it and it started first time and sounded nice. He got into it and took it for a little drive around the block. He said “yes, this is fine”, then drove off somewhere else. I remember saying “he’s not going to get very far with the few bits that are missing off it and there’s no petrol in it” And he should know about the petrol because ha was the one who stopped us filling it”.

But in the middle of all of my blasted family coming around to annoy me like they do, it must have cheered me up to have had an afternoon or evening out involving a Close Encounter with TOTGA. But in real life she had far too much sense to involve herself with me to that kind of extent.

What with one thing and another I missed out on having lunch, because, even though I didn’t feel like it, I had a task to perform

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago I bought a new printer to replace the one that was only printing in blue. I hadn’t installed it yet but this afternoon someone sent me an important communication that I needed to sign and send back, so I had to unpack it and install it.

Although it’s the same make and model as the old one, it’s an upgraded version so it took me a while to figure it out, and when I’d finished installing it, even though it would print, it wouldn’t scan.

Eventually I discovered that despite it being one of these multi-function printers from a major manufacturer, the scanner drivers aren’t included in the installation package, something that left me totally bewildered, so I had to go on-line and hunt them down.

And then I couldn’t make the machine work as I wanted. The control panel is quite complicated but seems to be lacking in functionality. I was surprised that it hadn’t installed a “scan” button on the computer desktop.

So after much binding in the marsh, I eventually discovered that the original “scan” icon for the old printer now points to the new one and once I’d realised that, it was all plain sailing.

All of this made me quite late for my afternoon walk, and when I finally made it outside, I bumped into a neighbour who kept me chatting for half an hour. Not that I had the time to spare, but I can’t spend all my life being totally unsociable with everyone.

While we were chatting, there were all kinds of stuff going on in the air. The powered red hang-glider went by overhead, followed by a couple of Nazguls, a light aeroplane and even the air-sea rescue helicopter, but you can’t interrupt your conversation to take a few pictures. It’s not very polite.

launching site for hang gliders Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One we’d parted company and gone our separate ways, like the Knights in THE HOLY GRAIL? i tried to make amends.

The field from where the Bird-men of Alcatraz take off is right next door to the cemetery, which I always thought was a good idea because if they make a mistake on take-off or landing they won’t have far to go, so I took a random photo to see if I could see anyone.

But they must have come in and untangled themselves from their equipment quite quickly because by the time that I looked, the field was pretty much deserted. The bird-men had flown.

bouchots donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Instead, I concentrated myself on what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

Plenty of beach to be on today of course with the tide being out, but not too many people on it taking advantage of the warm, almost windless afternoon.

Meanwhile, further over at Donville les Bains, they are out there in force at the bouchot beds – the beds where the mussels grow on strings rather than in the sand. You can see the tractors and trailers out there as they harvest today’s catch

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was here, I had a look to see how the repair work on the old medieval city wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux was going on

It’s been a while since we’ve had a close look, so I was hoping to see some substantial progress today. But all that I could see was that some white protective sheet had been erected to cover the scaffolding at the far end.

There are however a couple of guys on the scaffolding down at this end working on the wall so if I can get away early on my way to the physiotherapist tomorrow afternoon I’ll go for a closer look and see how they are doing.

jersey trawler Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While all of this was going on, I was having a good look around out at sea.

As I mentioned earlier, Jersey was standing out quite clearly this afternoon. With some digital enhancing we can see plenty of boats out there this afternoon, like the fishing boat over to the right that might even be the same one that we’ve seen in the bay for the last couple of days.

And it’s not all that usual that we see the eastern end of the island so clearly, yet here it is today. I was trying to identify some of the buildings there by reference to an aerial photo, but without very much success.

boats leaving harbour st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further around to the west there’s a really good view of several boats leaving the harbour at St Helier.

The one on the extreme left of the image caught my eye. Blowing up the image as much as I could, I could see that it has some kind of winching gear on the stern, but it looks too big to be a trawler.

However, there was nothing arriving at or leaving the port round about that time that corresponded with a ship of this nature.

And then we have another couple of trawlers heading our way

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy Eric Hall photo September 2021With nothing else going on over here (as if all of this isn’t enough) I went to have a closer look at Cap Fréhel, which I could see with my naked eye today, and then across the lawn and the car pary around to the end of the headland.

In the past, I can’t recall having seen fishing boats working in the strait here between Granville and Cancale over in Brittany, but that all changed fairly recently when we noticed them starting to try to exploit this area. There’s a trawler out there this afternoon trying to see what it can pull up out of the sea bed.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wonder if this constant search for new fishing grounds is due to the issues over fishing rights further out in the Baie de Granville.

hotels baie de mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned how nice the weather was today and how clear the sky was.

Down at the foot of the Baie de Mont St Michel, while we can’t actually see the Mont until someone removes the Pointe de Carolles and the Cabanon Vauban that sits thereupon, we can see the hotels on the mainland this afternoon.

If you look just slightly to the right of the foot of the Pointe de Carolles you’ll see a few white or light grey buildings. These are where anyone who comes to visit the Mont and stay overnight will usually stay because prices actually on the Mont itself are quite simply out of this world.

And there on the mainland they aren’t really all that much better, I suppose. It’s pretty much a captive audience over there.

l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, it’s “all change” at the chantier naval this afternoon.

As I walked along the path on the top of the cliff towards the port, I could see that things were looking quite different down there this afternoon. And it looks as if there has been a massive clear-out today.

The only boat that is left today is L’Omerta. The other boats that were in there – Hera, Le Pescadore and Catherine-Philippe – have now gone back into the water.

The next question is “who is going to come into the chantier naval to take their place?”.

belle france chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It’s a lot more normal over at the ferry terminal this afternoon.

The new ferry Belle France and the little freighter Chausiaise are moored over there this afternoon. The two Joly France boats are probably out at sea somewhere. And they’ve closed up the jib of the crane as well, which is good news for the hydraulic seals.

Meanwhile, in other news, there’s some kind of jogging team out there on the quayside going for a run. They’ve turned off and are starting to run along the wall around the port de plaisance.

And I’m intrigues to find out what will happen when they reach the end, because there’s a large gap in the wall. Perhaps it’s the start of a triathlon and they are all going to leap into the sea and swim across.

Back in the past, I took part in a triathlon, but only the once. I was busy doing the water leg when I suddenly thought to myself “this is silly. I’m getting the bike all rusty here”.

marquees chicane rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Over the last few days we’ve seen interesting developments taking place in the Rue du Port.

We have the chicane of course, and the marquee that they erected yesterday. But now a couple more marquees have sprung up on the car park of the Fish Processing Plant. This is all starting to become interesting.

And we can see that Marité is back in town as well. She’s been absent for the last couple of days. Well, in fact, she hasn’t really. She’s been nipping out early on the morning tide for a lap around the Ile de Chausey or over to Cancale and not come back until the evening tide.

Hence my mid-afternoon walk has missed her.

aztec lady capo di fora spirit of conrad mini y port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, In other news, we have a couple of new visitors in the port.

The white yacht on the extreme right next to the blue Aztec Lady is called Capo di Fora. Despite her Italian-sounding name, she’s actually flying the Belgian flag, as, incidentally, her neighbour Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went up and down the Brittany coast last summer.

The large grey yacht is called Mini Y, registered in the UK. She’s a “Baltic 85” yacht built in Finland in 2018 of fibre and composite construction and weighs in at just 50 tonnes.

She’s been cruising along the North European coast for the last few days and just recently has been roaming around St Malo and the waters between there and here

Back here in the apartment I had a few things to finish off and then I was just on the point of starting some work when Rosemary called me again.

Once we’d finished, it was long past my tea time so I grabbed an aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit out of the freezer and had that with some pasta. That tasted really nice, and it would have been even nicer had I not dropped the bottle of tabasco sauce in it.

***Note to self – put toilet roll in fridge tonight ***

And now I’m off to bed – going to make the most of my lie-in for the next few days to see if it makes me feel any better. Although I have a feeling that I’ll need more than this to liven me up.

Thursday 5th August 2021 – HAVING BEEN FEELING …

… a little better over the last couple of days, I’m afraid that the inevitable happened today. I ended up having the worst morning that I’ve had for a considerable period of time. While I should have been out at Lidl doing my shopping, I was curled up in the foetal position on my chair in the office, and that’s no good for anyone.

normandy trader leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut be that as it may, I consoled myself with the thought that I was probably feeling a little better than any landlubber who might have found himself on the deck of Normandy Trader as she set out from the port this afternoon.

Right into the teeth of a raging nor’wester that hit her full bow-on the moment that she left the shelter of the harbour wall. And with having a blunt end at the bow, I bet that she would have felt every wave that came smashing into her.

This was not the weather for the faint-hearted to be out at sea this afternoon.

storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you are wondering what has brought this on, well here’s your answer.

As you can see, we were hit this afternoon by one of these rolling storms that soaked absolutely everything that was in its path, including me

It was relatively moderate, if windy weather when I set out for my walk but the wind soon whipped it onto the shore and we suddenly got the lot. Where there were once several dozen people idly strolling along the path, the next minute it was panic-stricken flight and the path cleared in a matter of seconds.

normandy trader in storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIf I had had any sense I would have cleared off with them as well, but I had things that needed my attention.

Normandy Trader left the harbour while I was on that side of the headland and I wanted to see if I could catch a glimpse of her out at sea and see how she was doing, battling against the storm.

However, you couldn’t see a thing out there in all of this. Eventually I was able to make out some kind of trace of a wake so I took a photo with the aim of digitally enhancing it when I returned to the apartment. And this is the best that I can do.

normandy trader leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I’m getting ahead of myself here. While you admire another photo of Normandy Trader fighting her way out of the harbour, I was busy fighting my way out of bed.

After the medication I came back in here for a listen to the dictaphone to see where i’d been during the night.

There were all kinds of things going on last night like I’d started to make a radio programme. It was all about little bits of music or speech in French and it was all over the place. It took some tidying up and someone’s speech overran by miles, all kinds of things. I can’t really remember all that much about it now except having to combine all these speeches together to make my programme.

A little later on we were talking about postal charges and how I had to spend a lot of money getting a jacket back from Canada once but only £5:99 to get a camera back. There were some jokes about “what was my jacket doing in the meantime? Who was wearing it?” And all that sort of thing – had she stripped it off and was no longer interested. The question came round to postage and Airfix kits where it was all just die-cast plastic – you’d cast a few off, put them into envelopes and post them away, and why was postage “always to be advised” when you were buying something on line. It turned round to me singing on board the ship. I’d just started to sing a song when the alarm went off.

Until breakfast time I occupied myself in doing some more tidying up of the new computer drives. Then after breakfast I had some things that needed my attention but that was when I hit the wall and so I remined curled up on my chair for a couple of hours.

For two pins I would have climbed into bed and gone to sleep properly but that’s defeatism. If I were to do that I’d be in bed for the rest of my life and that wouldn’t be very long. I have to stay up and slug it out.

When I finally recovered my wits, such as they are these days, I did some tidying up in here and threw away a pile of stuff.

After lunch I set about trying to print out a label for the return of my NIKON 1 J5 and its faulty lens but it seems that the printer has failed definitively.

At the moment it’s printing just blue ink and not very much of that, despite all four cartridges being full of ink. I’ll buy some genuine ink cartridges at the weekend and see if it will work with those, and if not, it will be a new printer. I never have much luck with printers

By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst stop of course is the beach. Well, not actually on the beach, but to look down upon it to see what was happening.

And with the tide being well in, there wasn’t all that much beach for things to be happening upon. But there were still a few hardy souls sticking it out down there.

There were even one or two people in the water, and had they realised what was heading their way, they probably would have been well-advised to stay in it because it was bound to be drier than what they were about to receive.

And I would have loved to have been there to have witnessed the panic-stricken flight up the steps to the Rue du Nord when the going got tough.

yacht in storm at sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you are wondering what I meant by “what was heading their way” then take a look at this.

As usual, I had one eye on the beach and one eye out at sea, and I caught a glimpse of this yacht being battered by the storm as the giant dark cloud was catching it up.

The waves and the whitecaps should be enough of a clue about the weather. And it’s no surprise that I ended up being as soaked as I was. One glance at this made me think that I had better get a move on otherwise I would be regretting it.

So I didn’t hang around. Down the path, across the car park and round the corner like a ferret up a trouser leg

le loup normandy trader leaving port de Granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve seen a few photos of Normandy Trader already on her way out of the harbour, and here’s another one.

She’s still not cleared Le Loup – the marker light at the mouth of the harbour, so she’s no more than a couple of hundred yards out at sea and still theoretically in the shelter of the headland, although you wouldn’t have thought so judging by the waves and the spray that are beating over her bow

You can imagine what that is going to be like when she’s 30 kilometres out in the bay.

trawler charlevy yacht rebelle going back into the water chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut while all of this is going on with Normandy Trader we must not allow ourselves to be distracted from anything else that might be going on down there.

And we’re having a change of occupancy down in the chantier naval. The trawler Charlevy is still there but at long last, the yacht Rebelle is going back into the water.

A good few weeks after the crew that was repairing her told me that it would be “shortly”, which I suppose it is, geologically-speaking. I wonder who is going to be coming into the chantier naval to take her place.

joly france leaving ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this point my reverie was interrupted by a loud blast from a siren nearby.

It’s actually one of the Joly France boats, the older one of the two, reversing out of the ferry terminal on her way to the Ile de Chausey.

Plenty of people standing around watching (the rain hadn’t hit over there yet) but there didn’t seem to be too many people on board, and that was probably just as well because, although she has a pointed bow of course, she still has a pile of waves that are going to hit her as she heads out to sea.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we’re at it, let’s have a look at Chausiaise.

She’s still where she was yesterday, moored up against the wall by the harbour gates, and still with her freight hatches open. So she can’t have been on the point of unloading or loading up yesterday as I thought.

And I hope that she has some decent bilge pumps to pump out the water. Leaving the hatches open in a rainstorm that is going to arrive any minute is not a good idea.

trawler charlevy yacht rebelle going back into the water chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut diverting my attention back to the chantier naval once more, I notice that there’s another change that I have missed.

The yacht Rebelle is on her way out of the place of course, but if we look closely, we see that the little inshore shell-fisher that was in between the two trawlers seems to have preceded her into the water today.

And in a storm like this that’s boiling up nicely, it will be a good test of workmanship in the chantier naval to send them right out of the repairer’s into the open sea. We’ll soo n see how good the work was.

So having done that I scurried off in the teeth of the gale and right into the storm head-on in order to catch a final glimpse of Normandy Trader as she disappeared off into the sunset.

joly france in storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as she went off out of sight, around the headland came Joly France.

This photo needed to be digitally enhanced too in order to pick her out of the raincloud which was by now drenching everyone and everything. And you can see that she’s making really heavy weather of the crossing, and she’s only about a mile out.

This is not ordinarily the weather for her to be going out, but there must be a good crowd of day trippers on the island who would otherwise be stranded there, and there’s almos nothing in the way of shelter on the island

But no matter what the circumstances, I bet that they aren’t looking forward all that much to the return journey.

By the time that I returned home I was dripping wet, and I mean that too. A hot coffee went down really well while I dried out.

The rest of the evening was spent dealing with photos from Greenland 2019 (I have to justify my day somehow), playing guitar and then making tea. The last of the aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit from a few months ago so I had better make some more next week

Now I’m off to bed. It’s been a harrowing day for me and a good sleep might do me some good. At least it can’t be any worse than today.

Friday 23rd July 2021 – WHAT HAVE I BEEN …

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… saying for the last few days? That with all of the freight that we ought to be expecting the arrival of one of the little Jersey freighters to take it all away?

And sure enough, look who I saw in port this afternoon? And i was lucky, I can tell you, because as we have seen so often in the past, the boats are so busy that their turn-rounds are so quick these days and I miss them on a regular basis.

Yes, here’s Normandy Trader, the old converted ex-military landing craft having missed the morning’s tide and having to wait until this afternoon and the tide comes in before the harbour gates open and she can clear off back to Jersey.

But seeing Normandy Trader and Thora in the port in the same week is not something that happens all that often these days.

And what else have I been saying quite often just recently about how my regular nocturnal companions seem to have deserted me? Well, look who came back to accompany me last night.

We were off on the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR again last night and although there were lots more to it than this but where it led up to was that we were all out somewhere ond one of the girls was Pollux so I started to try to talk to her but her mother kept on getting in the way, or different people did. In the end it was time to walk back to where we were going to have our evening meal so we set out back and I went to align myself with Pollux who was now Castor – or was it Castor who was now Pollux (proper Castor and Pollux stuff this, to anyone who worked out the story). We walked back and to start the conversation I ask who were her favourite groups. She told me a few names which I didn’t recognise. When I told her that I didn’t recognise them she laughed and asked where I’d been living for the last so many years. We walked back to this village hall-type place and had to walk up onto the stage where we could wash our hands and so on. She disappeared off behind the scene backcloth, I imagined to put on a special kind of dress so I forestalled – that was the favourite word of Peary, the Arctic explorer by the way – her by going round the other side and grabbing 2 seats, sitting on one and saying that the other one was taken. Pollux turned up and I beckoned her over and said “here, I’ve saved a seat for you”. She replied “that’s fine, thanks, but do you mind if I sit next to my mother?”. I had a look round and found that I was sitting right next to her mother and I thought “ohh dear! Right! Ok!” So I moved up one seat and she slid in. Of course she was still next to me but she was next to her mother as well and then I tried to start off some kind of conversation with her.

But it’s interesting that I was spending so much time with Pollux and not with Castor. There has to be a story behind that and I wish I knew what it was. And I wish that I knew how the story ended.

But it’s quite a throwback to the days of my youth when I had my long hair, my leather jacket and either my Ariel 250 or later on, my AJS 650. I might have been popular with one or two girls (not all that many) but certainly not with their mothers.

I remember once lying in wait for a girl in Nantwich on Saturday morning and her mother, who knew my family well, saw me waiting and steered her up a side street out of my path.

That was the story of my life with mothers, and it’s interesting to see it emerging out of nowhere in this instance.

But meanwhile, back to the plot.

This is my last day of staying in bed until 08:00. And so I celebrated by having a really bad night’s sleep where I awoke early on in the night and couldn’t go back to sleep.

After the meds I came back to listen to the dictaphone and I must have gone to sleep at some point because my story about Castor and Pollux was there.

Then I went to print out the noted for today – 22 of them. And in trying to be ready early, the printer ran out of yellow ink and it took me ages to fit a new cartridge and make it work.

And then a few minutes later the black one ran out, so in desperation I ran it all in blue ink.

With my hot chocolate (made with real chocolate of course) and home-made fruit bread and went 5 minutes early for my Welsh lesson – last day of our Summer School. And if to confound absolutely everything, the tutor forgot me and didn’t let me in until 5 minutes after the lesson had started.

And if you thought that we had belted on at 100mph on each of the last 4 days, that had nothing on how we moved today. I don’t think that we stopped to draw breath. And it’s the only time that ever I’ve used more than 4 pages of notebook of vocabulary. When I’d finished I had to come in here and sit in the shade and talk to a friend of mine on the internet for a while.

Eventually I plucked up the energy to go off outside for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo buses or coaches parked on our kerb today, so I wandered off across the car park and looked over the wall to see what was going on down below on the beach.

And to my surprise, while there was much more beach to be on today, such are the benefits of going out 2 hours earlier, there were far, far fewer people down there on it than there have been over the past few days.

It beats me where everyone had gone to, that’s for sure. While the day had clouded over and the wind had got up (in fact at one stage earlier in the day it blew open the bedroom window and blew the clothes drier all over the floor) it wasn’t cold by any means.

We’re well into the holiday season too. There should be so many people about that it would be impossible to move. But not that I’m complaining. The fewer tourists bringing their viruses here the better from my point of view

fishing boat towing dinghy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd of course, while I had one eye scanning the beach, the other eye was scanning out to sea to see what I could see out there this afternoon.

Plenty of movement going on out there, including something quite bizarre out there close to the Ile de Chausey, so I took a photo of it with the idea of cropping it out, enhancing it and bowing it up (the photo, not the object) when I returned home.

Sure enough, it seems to be one of the smaller fishing boats on its way back to port this afternoon, but towing behind it a little dinghy.

They probably work the Ile de Chausey and the smaller boat is for getting in between the rocks. We saw what they were like last year when we were out there last year on our week away from home on Spirit of Conrad

men fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt goes without saying that there have to be some fishermen around here doing something or other offshore.

These guys are just offshore by one of the coastal marker lights having a go at trying to catch something.

And as I watched, for all of five minutes or so, no-one pulled anything at all out of the water. No fish and nothing else either which is no surprise because whatever else out there will have been picked up by beachcombers when the tide goes out.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd even as we spoke, we had someone else come to join us.

Not La Granvillaise – I don’t know where she has got to today, but Joly France, one of the ferries that runs out to the Ile de Chausey.

And with me having talked about it so often in the past, regular readers of this rubbish will recall quite easily which one of the ferries this is from this angle.

No step in the stern, windows rectangular in the “landscape” format – it can only be the the older one of the two going out to bring home a load of day-trippers

yacht fishing boat towing dinghy speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, in other news, things are developing quite quickly and quite dramatically out at sea.

We’re heading for a traffic jam or a collision here right now. There aren’t as many water craft out there today as there have been just recently but these three here look as if they are heading for disaster nevertheless.

There has to be a yacht picture though, doesn’t there? There wasn’t one just offshore at the Rue du Nord as there had been at the start of the week, so I reckoned that I’d take a photo of this one, but I never ever expected to have it as exciting as this.

But luckily everyone missed everyone else and they all continued safe and sound on their way.

And so did I too. I walked around the path and across the car park down to the rocks at the end but, surprisingly there was no-one fishing down there either today, so I cleared off along the coastal path.

chausiaise entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I rounded the corner I just about managed to catch the rear end of Chausiaise disappearing into the inner harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall who she is but for the benefit of everyone else, she’s a barge, I suppose, owned by the people who run the ferry service between here and the Ile de Chausey.

With so many holidaymakers heading out there, the transport of their luggage and supplies for their stay on the island was becoming quite problematic on the ferries so the company bought the barge to transport the freight.

We saw her loading up the other day at the quayside near the harbour gate. She’s fitted with a nice big crane for that purpose as there are no unloading facilities on the island.

yacht rebelle trawler chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now my walk has taken me round to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval, and it looks as if there is plenty of excitement going on down there this afternoon.

With the trawler L’Alize III going back into the water the other day, they now seem to have moved the yacht Rebelle into the place that she occupied. The portable boat lift was just dropping her into position as I walked past.

So I wonder if that means we’re going to be having another arrival pretty soon who will occupy that place, or does it mean that we aren’t expecting anything in in the near future to occupy the other spaces here.

But one thing is quite clear. When one of the guys told me that she would be “back in the water soon”, he was clearly talking in geological terms.

fishing boat pulling dinghy into port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now I was ready to go home, but not before I’d taken another photo.

The fishing boat and little dinghy that had been dogging my path all afternoon was just now coming (undamaged) into the harbour as I walked by.

And it looks as if it’s quite busy down there with endless streams of people leaving port on all kinds of water craft. But our fishing boat will be going to moor at the fish processing plant and unload its catch.

And me? Back at the apartment it was finally warm enough for me to have a strawberry smoothie instead of a coffee, and I came in here to finish my chat.

One thing led to another, as it often does and I ended up not only missing my guitar practice but my tea as well, which was just as well because I didn’t know what to eat.

But now I’m off to bed. Back to the early starts tomorrow and shopping as well – all three of my shops because there’s nothing in the house today.

The question is – will I last the pace?

Tuesday 26th November 2019 – YET ANOTHER EVENING …

… walk missed tonight.

Not through any lack of willingness or through any other distraction. In fact, I did my best and made about 100 metres down the road before the savage winds and torrential rainstorm drove me back and inside again.

Not the kind of weather to even send a dog out.

What with one thing and another, it was a very late night yet again. The problem is that when you start on one thing, you’ll be surprised at just how many other things there are.

Mind you, I still beat the third alarm out of bed. Not by very much, I have to say, but I beat it all the same. Despite having only 405 hours sleep, I have a vague recollection that there was some epitaph for someone who had died and it involved a piece of music. However it wasn’t that piece of music that they were listening to at all but another piece of music completely and I’ve no idea at all why this piece of music was chosen as the title of this obituary

Well, that was what was on the dictaphone and if you can make any sense of it, let me know. There’s a “contact me” button down on the bottom right of your screen.

After the medication and breakfast I attacked the dictaphone notes. And after a good session I’m now down to a mere 76. But there are some pretty big entries left in there, including one of FOUR HOURS and so it’s not going to be plain sailing by any means.

Round about 09:o0 I came to a stop as I needed to sort out some info for the tax Office. This involved printing out some stuff and of course it was at this moment that the printer decided to throw a hissy-fit.

It took me an age to sort out everything, including trying out two different blue ink printer cartridges before I could find one that worked. And I even filed a few papers away, and that’s not like me.

By the time that I was organised it was about 11:15 so I hurried off, not realising that I’d forgotten the most important document of them all.

red iveco daily van abandoned port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe harbour gates were closed so I went the pretty way over the top.

But at first I couldn’t see the old red Iveco daily that has been parked on the car park by the fish processing plant for quite a while. It wasn’t there

But it’s not gone far. It’s been moved out to the edge of the car park now overlooking the loading and unloading dock, although I’m not sure why.

It was about 11:45 when I reached the Tax Office and although there was just one person ahead of me, I had to wait an age. It was after the place had closed for lunch and i could tell that the guy who saw me wasn’t impressed by that.

Although I was there in the computer, he couldn’t find any details of my visit there last year which was bizarre. There was nothing on record, not even my tax exemption certificate. I just KNEW that I would regret forgetting to take a copy with me.

Anyway, I left him with all of my papers and he can sort them all out himself. If he needs anything else he can write to me.

haystacks war memorial place place general de gaulle granville manche normandy franceThey had to let me out of the back door and I headed off into town. As I expected, the Post Office was closed for lunch, so I needn’t have written those letters.

But I’m glad that I came because I was able to see them doing something completely bizarre in the Place General de Gaulle by the War Memorial. They’ve heaped up a pile of haystacks, for whatever reason I really don’t know.

And anyway, the boulangerie was open so I bought another dejeunette for lunch. This is becoming a habit. And why not? The bread is always fresh, there’s no waste and the walk down to town and back does me good.

Cheese butties for lunch because I’ve finished off one pot of hummus and there was some cheese left over in an opened packet. have to use that up.

After lunch, I still had these carrots to deal with so I sliced them all up, blanched them with some bay leaves and now that they are thoroughly drained and dried they are now in the freezer freezing away to themselves.

I just have to go there every so often to break them up so they don’t congeal in a solid mass.

airbus ec145 helicopter granville manche normandy franceThat was the cue for me to go for another walk this afternoon.

And just as I stepped out of the door a helicopter flashed right past the car park at almost-sea-level. I’m not sure who was more surprised, me or him, but I had the presenc eof mind to snap him as he flew past me.

And it’s come out rather well considering. But I do wonder what is going on with people getting their choppers out all over the place.

trawlers english channel granville manche normandy franceThat wasn’t the only activity out there either.

The tide had turned and was on its way in and so the fishing boats were slowly making their way back to harbour. There were two trawlers out there and as far as I could see, they were painted in the same livery so presumably they belong to the same people.

They were on their way in to port to unload.

boat english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceThere was something else out there too so I took a photo of it to enlarge back in the apartment.

Despite my best efforts, it’s not improved the situation very much. There’s a smallish boat coming over from the Ile de Chausey and it’s going at quite a rapid rate of knots.

So we’ll have to pass on that one for now and try again some other time.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAlthough the tide was quite some way out right now, the storm that we were having and the high winds were pushing the waves along quite dramatically.

Down here they were pummelling their way into the sea wall with quite a considerable amount of force.

It would have been nice to have been out there and to see what was going on at high tide.

spirit of conrad omerta aztec lady chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWe’ve had another change in the composition of the visitors to the chantier navale.

We can see the usual suspects. Spirit of Conrad is there, and so are Omerta and Aztec Lady. But where has the fishing boat gone – the modern one that was over to the right behind the others?

It looks as if it’s gone back into the water again. Presumably they’ve finished what it was that they were doing.

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAs I aid just now, the tide is on the turn and so the fishing boats are on their way back to port.

And as you can see, there’s already quite a large queue of boats down there underneath the fish processing plant busily unloading what they have caught today.

The cranes are working hard pulling up some of the containers, but there’s also one boat unloading its catch into the white van parked underneath.

rainstorm baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceWe haven’t finished the photos either.

You probably noticed in the photo of the Ile de Chausey just now that there seemed to be a rainstorm out to sea. But by the time that I had worked my way around my circuit it had now advanced into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And as I said at the start, we got the lot down our necks later.

Back here I amended a few web pages, worked on the Christmas presents that I needed to order (and that took some ordering too, I’ll tell you, and a big pile of work to go with it) and then stopped for tea. There was half a pepper and a few mushrooms that needed eating so I added a potato to it and made a curry. The fennel and fenugreek that I had bought gave it all a beautiful kick, and the coconut milk left over from the carrot soup added something to it too.

And even better, there’s some left over for later in the week.

No walk because of the weather, so i was chatting on the internet for a while and then writing my notes. But you’ve no idea how quickly the time passes and I’m late for bed.

Let’s hope that I have a good sleep.

Friday 4th October 2019 – TODAY WAS A …

… little more optimistic and hopeful than yesterday. Helped quite considerably by the fact that someone who had annoyed us intensely yesterday and who was the cause of everything going wrong kept well away from the premises and we could all concentrate on what we do best.

For my own part, I had a much better sleep last night. Awake once or twice during the night to dictate stuff onto the dictaphone, not that I remember too much about anything. But what I do recall is that judging by recent conversations that I’ve been having with myself during the night, it seems that I’ve managed to lay a couple of demons that have been haunting me for a while.

And having read that final phrase back to myself, I realise that I could have expressed that much better too and in a different way, otherwise my readers in Kugluktuk, Celbridge and Cahors will have completely the wrong idea of what I’m trying to say and that might lead to complications.

This morning the two kids managed to have a lift to school with the neighbour’s boy (he remembered to turn up today) and Rachel was in a hurry, so I had a leisurely start to the day.

A hot breakfast followed by a little relax and then I edited and uploaded another blog entry from my voyage on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour. This concerned my visit to Hvalsey, one of the three important places in Greenland that I had really wanted to visit.

Up at the tyre depot I found everyone submerged in work. It’s the middle of the potato harvest but the torrential rain overnight had made digging impossible. Consequently every farmer and farm labourer in the whole of New Brunswick had sorted out all of the jobs that they had put off doing and dashed down to have them done right now.

Added to that, one of the printers, the one that we use most often, ran out of ink. And as the Accountancy program and the inventory are old Dos-shell based programs, the print manager wouldn’t change over the default printer in these programs to the reserve printer. I had to go through and change every single page by hand, and when the new ink arrives next week, I shall have to go back and change them all back again.

Mind you, it could be worse. They could have been GEM (Graphics Environment manager)-based programs and I haven’t worked in GEM since 1998.

And that reminds me – I have a computer that runs on GEM somewhere around.

After we finished work I went to the Irvings to fuel up Strider. Just on a quarter of a tank left and he’s done 479 kms. That’s a dramatic improvement on what has gone before, and I hope that when his new chip arrives, it’ll improve even more.

With everyone being out this evening I finished off the pasta from the other night and then watched the football. Cefn Druids v Bala Town in the Welsh Premier League. Bala were the better team in the first half and the Druids were somewhat aimless, but the score of 0-3 to Bala, and having two other goals disallowed for offside, was rather flattering. But a couple of substitutions for the Druids at half-time brought a much more stable team out for the second half and they actually played with a shape and with a purpose. But no more goals were scored, even though the match was quite entertaining.

That left me with a short time of not much going on, so I added another page to my voyage. I’m now at Brattahlid, home of Eric the Red and a second one of the three places that I desperately wanted to visit.

But unfortunately we didn’t make the third. Gardar, home of the Norse Catholic cathedral, was not accessible to us on this trip. I shall have to go back, but not tonight because I’m off to bed.

Wednesday 11th September 2019 – EVEN THOUGH …

… I promised myself an early night last night, it didn’t quite work out like that. Just after I had finished writing up my notes, the heavens opened and we were soaked in a torrential downpour.

There are many advantages of tin roofs over the old-fashioned shingle roofs, but soundproofing qualities is not one of them, especially when there is a metal trailer roof parked right underneath my window.

As a result it was long after 23:00 when I finally nodded off.

we had what seemed to be the usual wake-up round about 04:00 and we must have been on a voyage at one point or another because there are some files registered on the dictaphone. No idea what’s in them yet but, as usual, I’m keen to find out.

The alarms went off as usual but I hid down the bed until Amber banged on the door. It seems that I’m doing the school run again today. Not that I mind of course – I have to make myself useful here and earn my corn.

The last time that I took the girls to school we had a thick fog and mist. Today we were having a torrential rainstorm. The next time I take them it will probably be a plague of locusts.

At the shop there were errands to run. I ended up having to go back to the house, rescuing a couple of pushbikes, bringing them back to the garage and overhauling them. It’s a long time since I’ve had to do that – I’ve not had any real involvement with pushbikes for almost half a century I reckon.

Once they were done I had to wait until lunchtime and then go back to Amber’s school to take her some money for the cinema tonight and to deliver the bikes (good job that I have a truck).

While I was at Amber’s school we had a delightful conversation –
Amber – “some boy called me a dumbass in class this morning”
Our Hero – “really? When’s his funeral?”

This afternoon we were having printer issues. The accounting program wouldn’t permit any printing so Yours Truly was required to look into the situation.

Eventually, after much binding in the marsh, I worked out that it seems that the program had performed an automatic upgrade at midday and for some reason that I have yet to understand it had created a clone of the accounts printer and was sending instructions to the clone, not the veritable one.

When I tried to transfer printers over, it still refused to accept the change – it simply stopped sending out any printfile instructions.

Finally, after about an hour, by going way back in my mind as far as 1998 and what I could remember about BIOS settings, I managed to make the program recognise the letter printer on another port and it’s now printing really satisfactorily from there.

But there have been so many printers connected up to that setup over the years that if it were me, I’d go through and delete every printer and device that is no longer active and go for a leaner, fitter machine. But it’s not my business, not my company, not my set-up etc.

This afternoon I was hit with another wave of fatigue. I’d been on the ropes once or twice during the morning but this was serious.

But what I couldn’t understand is that I had been swinging myself in and out of the back of Strider like I might have done before 2014 with no pain or effort whatsoever. Past experience tells me though that whenever I feel really well and really energetic, it usually means that I’ve had a substantial drop in blood count and that there has been a release of adrenalin ( as if there hasn’t been enough adrenalin released just recently). And still at least 30 days (and maybe more) until my next blood transfusion.

We were away from here fairly early tonight and back here Darren and I fixed the door (it has become unhinged since I’ve been here and who can blame it?) while Rachel fixed tea. Another one of her delicious herb-laden vegetable stir-fries in olive oil. Hannah lent a big hand to the mixture so there was plenty of garlic.

And I’m well-impressed (as always) with Hannah. She’s just had her annual appraisal at work – the end of her first year’s employment. “Above and beyond expectations” was the result.

Now I’m in my room with the bass guitar, hoping for another early night. Rachel is cooking chicken soup so the whole house smells of food, Zoe is doing Hannah’s fingernails (she’s off to Wisconsin in the morning) and the other two are out at the cinema.

But searching around on the internet I came across one of the albums of the days of my youth, featuring a bassist who I admired greatly.

Long out of print now, my album is scratched and damaged beyond all recognition these days (two years of living in vans and various squats in my youth didn’t help matters) so I hunted down a file ripper and downloaded the tracks.

That took an age but converting them to *.mp3 was quite quick. Now I’m up and running, over an hour later than I had intended.

So I’m off to bed. I’m not sure what the plan is tomorrow but I’ll work it out as I go along.

Tuesday 23rd April 2019 – I REMEMBER SAYING …

… yesterday to Ingrid that I was feeling probably better than I have been feeling for quite some time.

And so it’s no surprise whatever to learn that today I’d had a relapse.

Last night was nothing like as early as I was hoping and it was something of a disturbed night. Nevertheless there was enough time to go for something of a ramble. There were two schools in London. Both originated from the same family who owned a wealthy sailing factory. One was a kind of prison or reform school and the other was an upper-class school and everyone was always getting the two mixed up about who went where. The guy who was chairman of the Board of Governors at the wealthy school was the sole surviving member of the family who founded it so some people thought that there might be a confilct of interest between the objectives of the school and the running of it. The school was running through some kind of financial issues. I don’t remember too much about it except that on one occasion the chairman was sitting there with his head in his hands doing a really fine impression of Quasimodo going “the bills! Ohh the bills!”.

Despite the bad night I was up before the final alarm went off, but I’ve somehow awoken with my bad throat and coughing fit again. It’s never-ending, isn’t it? And a certain medical condition that plagued me for a considerable while and then mysteriously disappeared has suddenly come back with a vengeance.

With having had an early start I was all fit for work and had a good crack at photocopying and sorting documents for my little visit tomorrow, stopping for a shower along the way.

There are a few papers missing but I can assemble quite a comprehensive folder full of documents;

The printer ran out of ink midway through but luckily I had bought some more when I bought the printer. It was something of a performance to make the cartridge fit because Epson doesn’t like you using non-original cartridges.

There was also time to have a crack at the dictaphone, and now all of the notes for Canada 2016 are transcribed. I’m about a third of a way through them now, but I won’t be as quick with the next batch as there are some substantial files in there.

Lunch was taken indoors today because the weather has clouded over and ran was looking likely.

Back at work I had to change my hospital appointment because I need it to be a week later. And then it was necessary to book my accommodation and travel. So all of that is done.

repaired walk pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceOn my walk around the headland this afternoon I tried once more the new route that has just reopened.

I reckon that the older path is the diagonal line that runs bottom left to upper right across the centre of the image.

That looks as if it’s formerly a path on some kind of gider bridge but it looks as if it’s slipped out of position. The part at the head of the bend looks as if it’s been dug out quite recently. It’s not very wide at all.

notre dame de cap lihou chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy francehaving climbed all of the steps back up to the top, I walked along the path to have a look at the chantier navale.

There’s another new arrival in there today. She’s Notre Dame du Cap Lihou, the local lifeboat whom we have seen out and about in the sea now and again.

No idea what she’s up to in there and I won’t be able to find out either I suppose, because I don’t imagine that she will be in there for long.

pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy franceFor a few days now we’ve been seeing the little pontoon in the harbour taking core-drill samples of the sea bed to investigate its make-up.

That’s now gone and we have a different machine in there. So I wonder what that’s going to be up to.

But It’s not escaped my notice that in the background are objects that look suspiciously like floating walkways, and so the next step, I imagine, is to place them in the water and secure them to the quayside.

Back here I tried to crack on with the mountain of photos but I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t fight off the sleep on the chair, and in the end gave up and went to bed. I think that climbing all of the steps was what might have finished me off.

For a good 90 minutes I was right out of it and I awoke feeling like death.

Tea was a slice of giant pasty with potatoes and veg followed by a rice pudding.

tide coming in plat gousset granville manche normandy franceThe evening walk, accompanied part of the way by a group of boys from the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs, was agony but I needed to do it.

At the beach at the Plat Gousset he tide was coming in, and coming in quite quickly too. There was a lovely current rolling over the beach and swamping the tidal swimming pool.

It was quite an impressive sight. Such a shame that there was no-one else around to enjoy it. I was quite on my own out there once those boys had cleared off.

rue paul poirier granville manche normandy franceA little further on around the corner, I stopped for a while where the path around the walls overlooks the rue Paul Poirier.

The light was going quite rapidly so I took a photograph just as the street lights were coming on and illuminating the streets.

This will be probably the last photograph of street lights that I shall take on my evening walk until later in the year, unless I happen to be delayed in my plans for going out.

So back home now and I really am going to have an early night. Tomorrow is a big day so I need to be on form.

Saturday 10th November 2018 – THE BIG PROBLEM …

… with going to bed early is that there is quite often a tendency to awake early too. Early is one thing, but 04:48 is a bit ridiculous.

And even worse, I didn’t go back to sleep either I just lay there and vegetated until the alarm went off.

An early breakfast meant that I had plenty of time left. So I finished off the entry for the third day of my High Arctic voyage and put it on line where you can see it in all of its glory, with a couple of dozen of the … gulp … 127 photos that I took that day.

Once that was done I had a shower and then headed off for the shops.

LIDL came up with nothing at all special, and NOZ wasn’t much better. Leclerc didn’t come up with much either. All in all, it was a very light shopping bill today. And that includes the gram flour from the Biocoop.

But I nearly spent a lot more than that.

Having a look around in the Second-Hand Shop they had a beautiful Ibanez 5-string bass guitar and I had a good play around on it for about 15 minutes. Then I had to tear myself away before I spent a lot of money.

But the printer!

According to the Leclerc website, they have an Epson printer on special offer – €15:00 cheaper than the equivalent on Amazon.

I like Epsons, for the simple reasons that firstly the ink is cheap and secondly the colour cartridges are separate so you don’t need to replace the whole lot when just one colour runs out.

The advert said that the printers were available on order from the shop so off I went. And the usual inept Je m’enfoutiste who couldn’t be bothered to look for it on the on-line catalogue went off to chat to a colleague, and came back to tell me that “they’ve all gone”.

Back here, I had a look on-line, and there were plenty left. So I ordered one on-line instead and it will be in the drive-in in a couple of days.

But I’m getting sick and tired of this modern trend of je m’enfoutisme where shopkeepers and shop assistants are kicking people out of their shops because it’s too much like hard work to try to sell them something.

And anyone who has read Alvin Tofler’s The Third Wave will recall that he foretold all of this nearly 40 years ago.

People argue long and hard in favour of “shop local” instead of shopping on-line, but at least the computer and the warehouse robots are keen and eager to fulfil your demand.

While I was finishing off my lunch this afternoon there was a ring on the doorbell. Liz and Terry turned up to say hello, have a coffee and to give me some shopping that they had brought back from the UK for me. Stuff for Christmas such as mince pies, mincemeat and Christmas pudding, seeing as the English Shop in Everburg let me down.

We had a good walk around the headland and the walls in the wind and rain, followed by a coffee in the cafe in the old town.

Later on, I started to work on the web pages for Day Three but ended up by falling asleep on my comfortable chair.

On awakening, I noticed that US Granville’s 2nd XI was playing against LC Bretteville Sur Odon, and kick-off was in 40 minutes time.

football stade louis dior us granville lc bretteville sur odon manche normandy franceNot wishing to hang around, I sailed off at a rapid rate of knots and was actually there 10 minutes before kick-off. I didn’t know that I could move so fast these days.

US Granville took the lead after just one and a half minutes. From their first attack they won a corner. The LC Bretteville Sur Odon keeper punched it out and a Granville player picked up the loose ball and drove it back into the crowded penalty area where it shot through a ruck of players straight into the net without touching anyone.

They had the ball in the net after 13 minutes too, but it was ruled out for a push on a defender.

LC Bretteville Sur Odon woke up after about 35 minutes and began to get on top. They almost equalised but a shot was kicked off the line by a defender.

The second half carried on with LC Bretteville Sur Odon clearly on top but a few unsavoury incidents which ended up with an LC Bretteville Sur Odon in the dressing room disrupted the game.

Three substitutes all at the same time refreshed the Granville team and, against the run of play, scored a dramatic second goal. A breakaway through the centre saw the ball blocked on the line not once but twice, but the third attempt on goal found the back of the net.

So a rather fortunate 2-0 win for Granville.

drawbridge pont levis old town walled city granville manche normandy franceBy now the rain had stopped so I had a good walk back home.

I’d taken the Nikon 1 with me and so I decided that I would have some fun with it in the dark.

As you know, I’ve not been able to get it to work as well as I would have liked in poor lighting, and the drawbridge into the old walled town here gave me ideas.

drawbridge pont levis old town walled city granville manche normandy franceI took several photos of the pont lévis, using different shutter, aperture and ISO settings, to correspond and compare with the earlier one which was taken on fully automatic settings.

Most of them were filed under CS, but this one turned out quite well.

1/13 shutter speed, f3.75 and ISO6400, and darkened slightly.

drawbridge pont levis old town walled city granville manche normandy franceBack home, while I was working on the photos, I noticed a couple of people nicely framed in the archway of the drawbridge.

I cropped out that part of the image and blew it up a little to see what it would give me, and it’s produced a nice effect.

However, it’s ended up being rather pixelated and that’s a disappointment. I don’t seem to be able to produce the quality for which I am looking.

Back home, I made myself a plate of mushrooms in tomato sauce with pasta for tea.

I’m ready now for an early night, especially having done 147% of my daily total, and I hope that I’ll be able finally to have a good sleep.

I need it.

Thursday 8th November 2018 – I’VE FINISHED …

… the second day of my mega-voyage to the High Arctic and it’s now on line.

All you need to do is to go to this page and follow the link to Day Two. There are five pages in total and they should give you hours of endless fun.

Even more exciting is the fact that I’ve made a start on adding some photos to Day Three of the blog. That might even be finished if I have a good day, and then I can start on the web page that goes with it.

Or pages, probably, if it’s anything like Day Two.

In case you are wondering, I’ve had a good day today and done quite a few things. That early night that I had must have done me a world of good.

There was even time for me to go off on a ramble during the night. I was heading towards a boat, travelling down a valley, and we were to collect a group of kids to take skiing with us. They came running down the sides of the valley down to the bottom, screaming and squealing like young kids do. And what was surprising about all of this was that there was plenty of snow on the sides of the valley so it was difficult to understand, even during a nocturnal ramble, why they would need to go off somewhere else to ski.

After breakfast, I finished off the form that I’d been completing, but at this moment the printer decided to pack up yet again. It always seems to do this at a crucial moment, and it’s getting on my nerves.

But then again, I did pick it up in the Spring of 2013 and it was second-hand so I can’t complain too much. But I’ll be buying another one on Saturday. I hope that I’ll have more luck with this, but it never seems to work out between me and printers.

A shower and setting the washing machine going, and then into town, with Yves and Lily whom I encountered at the foot of the stairs. We had a good chat until we went our separate ways in the town centre. Me to the magasin de presse for the photocopying and then to the Post Office to send it all off.

cherry picker christmas decorations gare de granville railway station manche normandy franceOn the way up to LIDL there was a cherry-picker working on one of the lamp-posts by the station.

It looks as if they might be starting to put up the Christmas decorations. It’s getting closer to that time of year already. And of course, I’m not going to be here to celebrate it, am I?

LIDL didn’t come up with anything special – in fact, the cupboard was pretty bare. But I did remember to buy 2kgs of carrots for freezing.

On the way back to town, I went past the private car park of the local Tax Office, and saw a sight that made me laugh.

national demonstration hotel des impots granville tax office manche normandy franceThere’s a demonstration due to take place soon against inter alia the amount of tax being charged on fuel.

People are expected to show their solidarity by putting their reflective chasubles on top of their dashboards.

I found it extremely ironic that a couple of people who apparently work in the Tax Office are demonstrating against the amount of taxes being charged.

armistice cenotaph children monument granville war memorial manche normandy franceIn the town centre there was a big crowd around the War Memorial.

The local schoolkids had been learning about the Armistice as part of the school curriculum and so they were holding a commemoration service there for them.

There was a considerable number of adults who were passing by and were swept up in the emotion.

tv cameraman armistice cenotaph children monument granville war memorial manche normandy franceThere was an enormous number of kids there listening to the service.

And there was also a film cameraman recording the event, presumably for the local television channel.

He was quite interested in filming the kids listening to the service, and so I couldn’t resist the opportunity of filming him doing it.

I have quite a few photos of this kind of thing, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

On the way back here, I had a strange encounter in the rue des Juifs.

In one of the art galleries there was a really nice painting of a tramp steamer. It looked quite nice so I was interested in having a closer look at it.

Just as I was about to go inside, the owner came out
“I’m just closing up because I’m going to an exhibition” he said. “I’ll be back in a week”
And he locked up the shop right in front of me.

The next person who complains that there’s a recession going on will get a smack in the mouth. People throwing customers out of their shop like this.

Up the hill again where I fell in once more with Yves and Lily who were on the way back home.

Lunch was inside again – far too windy to go outside and sit on my wall. And then I finished off the web pages that I mentioned earlier.

A cookery session followed next. I peeled, sliced and blanched the carrots and then prepared them for freezing. And 2kgs is too much to freeze at one go. 1kg at a time will do in future. But I should really have bought a bigger freezer.

There was a pile of mushrooms left over too so I prepared a mushroom and potato curry with the left-over potatoes from the previous batch, and added a giant tin of macedoine vegetables and a dollop of soya cream.

And now there’s no room in the freezer for it so I don’t know what I’m going to do.

high winds baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceWhat with all of that, I was rather late going out for my afternoon walk around the Pointe du Roc.

And that wasn’t as easy as it might have been either, due to the high winds that were still blowing a gale around in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

But the winds were making quite an impression on the waves, as well as blowing the seabirds around somewhat.

they couldn’t have found it very easy to move around, and neither did the pedestrians down there either.

high winds baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceA little further around the bend we came to a position where we could see the wind full-on with the waves, pushing them forward towards the port de plaisance.

They were making some really pretty patterns too and it looked quite impressive.

You can see what kind of a beautiful day that we were having too. It was rather a shame that the wind was cooling everything down.

With the time that was left before tea I started on Day Three of the blog, and sometime during the proceedings I had a little repose.

At tea time I went to try a helping of the curry with boiled rice and veg. Not my best, I have to say, but then I only made it to use up some of the food that was left and in danger of going off.

It was at that moment that I remembered that I had left the washing in the machine.

high winds waves play gousset granville manche normandy franceThe high winds didn’t prevent me from going for my evening walk around the walls.

Even though the tide was well on its way out, the high winds were still catching the waves and smashing them down on the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

What was even more impressive was that the new f1.8 lens was working well enough to pick up the motion, and the crop of the image was sharp enough to bring it out.

pizza van bar place cambernon granville manche normandy franceSo I carried on with my walk around the walls and back into the old medieval town.

And here at the Place Cambernon there was a hive of activity. Dozens of people at the bar, and the pizza van that comes here on a Thursday evening was doing a roaring trade.

One day I’ll take some of my cheese down to the van and try out one of their pizzas

Back home in the hallway I met Brigitte who was back from her holidays. We had a good chat for over an hour down there.

It’s definitely my day for being sociable with the neighbours.

However, it’s made me later than I intended to be and I won’t have a night as early as I would like.

But I’ll do my best.

armistice cenotaph children monument granville war memorial manche normandy france
Children’s Armistice Day commemoration

armistice cenotaph children monument granville war memorial manche normandy france
Children’s Armistice Day commemoration

armistice cenotaph children monument granville war memorial manche normandy france
Children’s Armistice Day Commemoration

storm high winds plat gousset granville manche normandy france
Storm, high winds and waves, Plat Gousset

storm high winds plat gousset granville manche normandy france
Storm, high winds and waves, Plat Gousset

pizza van place cambernon granville manche normandy france
The Pizza Van in the Place Cambernon, Granville

pizza van place cambernon granville manche normandy france
The Pizza Van in the Place Cambernon, Granville

pizza van place cambernon granville manche normandy france
The Pizza Van in the Place Cambernon, Granville

Thursday 16th August 2018 – YOU HAVE NO IDEA …

… how long it took me today to complete my Medical Expenses claim.

It’s quite true to say that I have let things build up and build up for the last … errr … eighteen months, but it still shouldn’t have taken as long as it did.

And it wasn’t down to a lack of sleep either because I had an early night and slept right the way through until the alarm went off, something that hasn’t happened for quite a while.

We had the usual morning performance and followed by a nice hot shower – the first for a while it has to be said – and cut my fingernails. And then I hit the streets.

First stop was the ferry office. It was closed, which should be no surprise to anyone who reads anything that I have ever written seeing that it’s midsummer and there are crowds of people about.

They did have some leaflets on display for the ferries to the Ile de Chausey but nothing for the Jersey ferries, so I wandered off to the Tourist Office. They had a leaflet but they also told me that the ferries are pretty much booked up for the next few days.

The laboratory was next. I had an e-mail from the hospital 10 days ago to say that there was a build-up of potassium in my body, to change the dose of my medication and to organise a blood test.

The people at the laboratory told me that all I need to do is to just turn up and to bring the e-mail with me, and they’ll do the test on the spot. So that’s tomorrow’s task.

LIDL was impressive today. As well as the usual stuff, they were selling hardware. They had some powerful cable crimpers and accessories, some heatsink tubing and some screw-in hooks so they found their way into the shopping bag. And had I been back in the Auvergne I would have had a lot more than just that.

On the way back I bumped into one of my neighbours and we had a chat in the street for a short while.

Back here, I needed to print out the e-mail from the hospital and that took longer than it might. The ink cartridge wasn’t seating properly and the nozzles needed cleaning and aligning.

By the time that I’d managed to print out the mail, it was lunchtime so I was off on the wall with my butties, my book and a lizard.

This afternoon I had to deal with my medical expenses claim. This involved scanning about 60 receipts, collating them, renaming then as appropriate and then logging into my insurance website and completing the on-line form. And seeing as there were only so many entries allowed on a form, it needed 5 forms in total.

What made things worse was that much of the laser printing from the earlier receipts were faded and it was very difficult for me to read the entries on some of them. I don’t know how they will manage at the Claims Office.

I missed my walk this afternoon with being involved in all of this. But seeing as we were having a torrential rainstorm at the time, it wasn’t much of a problem.

BY the time that I had finished and done a little tidying up, it was teatime. A plate of mixed steamed vegetables with vegan sausages and vegan cheese sauce.

yachts baie de mont st michel st malo granville manche normandy franceOn my walk tonight I met yet another neighbour who also goes for an evening walk. He goes the other way round so in fact we met up twice.

But the route was sodden with water following the rainstorm. Not very pleasant at all.

But at least I could admire all of the boats out there. They seem to be happy that the weather has cleared up and that they could go out to play.

rue du port granville manche normandy franceAlthough the rain had stopped, the streets were still wet.

Down in the rue du Nord the vehicles were making some very interesting tracks on the damp surface.

Even though it’s late evening, the streets were crowded with people and cars. It’s the height of the summer season so we have tourists everywhere, of course.

Anyway, it’s bedtime. And I hope that I have a decent night’s sleep yet again. I need to build up my strength as I’m going to be busy.

yachts baie de mont st michel cancale brittany granville manche normandy france
yachts baie de mont st michel cancale brittany granville manche normandy france

Wednesday 8th August 2018 – WORKS EVERY TIME!

Yes, last night I had an early night and settled down to watch a film on the laptop. And I managed about 5 minutes of it before I dropped off.

Not quite like when I was in Canada and had the film and laptop running all through the night, but it was near enough.

And despite not having an alarm clock set for the morning, I was still awake at 06:00. Seems that I’m never going to have a decent sleep. But no danger of me leaving my stinking pit at that time. 08:00 is much more like it, isn’t it?

After the usual morning performance I settled down to do some work and as a result totally forgot about breakfast until it was far too late.

Just for a change, I haven’t been idle today. I’ve had a huge pile of e-mails that needed to be sent off, and following that there was a lot of stuff to print out.

I seem to have run out of coloured ink so everything had to be printed in greyscale. That was an issue that took quite a while to resolve, although I don’t know why. I never seem to have too much luck with printers. And I need to order some new cartridges before I forget.

It led to a rather late lunch – although it was rather cold sitting out there on the wall now that the weather has cooled down. One of my lizards was there waiting for me too.

And all of this meant that I missed my afternoon walk. Instead I was unpacking from my little trip, sorting out my stuff, and then going through a pile of paperwork. I need to deal with all of my medical expenses.

And I …errr … closed my eyes, but for just five minutes.

Another thing was to configure my on-line banking for my account in Belgium. That took longer than it might have done too. And once I was organised, I could see a memo from them dated 10th July saying that my identity documents have expired and I need to submit new ones.

That’s something that defeats me – it’s the same passport as five years ago, with the same number and anything. And although French passports expire after five years, mine is good for all of 10 years.

And so I rang up the head office and after hanging on for half an hour, I was told that it was a branch issue. And so I need to go to my branch. When I told the guy that I had no intention of going, seeing as I live in France, he took my number and said that he would have someone from the branch phone me back.

And we’ve heard all of that before, haven’t we?

Tea was a stuffed pepper and pasta, and then i finally did manage to go for a walk. And I was the only one out there tonight, now that the weather has turned.

The alarm will be back on tonight, so I’ll have an early night. I might even watch a film – or, at least, try to. One way of making sure that I fall asleep.

Wednesday 20th June 2018 – THE WORLD’S WORST BANK …

… strikes again!

Remember that letter that I had to fax them yesterday? It seems that I had forgotten something off it.

And yes, I freely admit that it was my error. No argument there.

The bank sent me an e-mail and asked me to rectify the omission. No problem there either.


I had to reply by fax yet again. I couldn’t do it by phone, and I couldn’t reply to their e-mail either. Even though they had referred to my request in the e-mail that they had sent me, that it would be clear that any reply that I sent would have been in reply to their mail, and that the information was information that they had requested.

So that was yet more wasted time.

Like I say, I’m not denying my responsibility. I’m just moaning about the bank’s procedures. Had I still have been in the UK they would have been kicked into touch a good while ago. But then, had I still been in the UK, I would never have had the issues that I’m having now.

Last night, I didn’t get to see my film. I ended up going to bed fairly early instead. I was hoping to have an early night, but waking up at 03:45 was no part of my intentions whatsoever.

So much so that after breakfast I sat down and ended up being … errr … away with the fairies for a good half an hour.

But I pulled myself through, did some more tidying up and even vacuumed the living room, as well as measuring up a few things here and there, because I’m having a day out tomorrow.

hanging cloud port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOr, at least, I’m hoping to, if I can find the road.

On my trip into town this afternoon we were lucky to see the harbour. We’ve been swathed in a hanging cloud all day and it hasn’t lifted for a minute. It’s even worse right now.

If it keeps on like this, I won’t even be able to find my way out of the building, never mind out of town.

Having dealt with the housekeeping issues for today (Friday is to deal with the kitchen and Saturday is to wash the floor to let it dry while I’m out at the shops) I went back to the blog again.

The current whereabouts of my amendments is the day that I left Leuven to travel to Oostende. That page is not quite finished (although it might be by the time you read this) but it’s all now done from there onwards.

I’m determined to bring it all up to date before I’m much older, having left it somewhat … errr … incomplete during my all-too-frequent bouts of illness.

No point in going out for lunch today in the hanging cloud. I stayed in and read my book in the peace and quiet.

And then I had to fiddle about with the printer in order to make it work. It’s an ancient Hewlett-Packard that I inherited from Marianne all those years ago. It had an enormous amount of use while she had it, and it’s done some work here over the five years that I’ve had it. So it’s quite temperamental.

house demolition rue du port granville manche normandy franceAnd so off into town.

We’ve seen the hanging cloud, but I don’t think that you have seen the workmen down in the bottom-right corner who have now started on another house down on the rue du Port.

It’s difficult to tell whether they are knocking holes in the walls to fit new windows, or whether they are trying to knock the walls down completely. I suppose that time will tell.

gravel tipping port de granville harbour manche normandy franceHaving seen my friendly newspaper shop owner and sent off the fax, I came back up the hill.

And over in the port, another gravel lorry had arrived and had tipped its load. And behind it there was a digger driver busily heaping it all up into a tidy pile on the edge of the quayside.

Not in the gravel bins, you’ll notice. So that can really only mean that another gravel boat will shortly be paying us a visit. And I hope that I’m here to see it.

But I learnt some bad news in the newsagents. Madame la Maire has finally published her proposals for the port. She wants to build another casino and another pile of restaurants down there.

That means, quite simply, that all of the empty shops in the town will immediately be transformed into the kind of expensive boutiques that you see in every other seaside town – vastly overpriced for two months of the year and closed, gathering dust for the other 10.

And the port, instead of being a working, industrial zone, will become a haven for luxury yachts for 2 months of the year and deserted for the remainder.

It will totally destroy the character of the town, but such is the price that one has to pay for a bit of egoism.

And it did not go unnoticed that the proposals weren’t published until after the series of meetings with the residents (one of which we attended last week).

So that was my afternoon walk, and I crashed out yet again for a while. A coffee soon revived me though, and I had a good 50-minute session on the bass guitar. I’m cracking on.

After tea, which was a frozen mushroom and pepper curry in coconut milk, I went for my walk. And managed 120 paces at a run (well, a sort-of run). And if there was anyone else out there, I wouldn’t have an idea in this weather.

So now I’ll do a few bits and pieces and then have another early night.

And I hope that it’s more successful than the last one.

Thursday 25th January 2018 – THE DIE IS CAST

All last evening, part of the night and for the early part of the morning, I had a long think about the letter that I wrote yesterday.

To say that it’s an incendiary epistle is an understatement and at one stage I was thinking that maybe I should calm it down somewhat. And then I thought again.

I remembered Gotthold Lessing, and his quote, crudely translated by Yours Truly (and if there’s anything that needs doing crudely, then in the words of the late, great Bob Doney “I’m your man) “A man who does not lose his reason over certain things has none to lose”.

What’s been happening to me at the Crédit Agricole over the last 9 months has long since passed beyond the point of reason and one day I’ll tell you all about it.

And there are also the words of Sir Walter Raleigh – not the Elizabethan adventurer but the early 20th-Century author – who said “he is thrice armed who has his quarrel just”.

And so with this letter being the perfect lead-in, there’s no time like the present to start to wage a war, and so I made a couple of minor amendments, posted one copy off to the Bank’s Head Office and took the other one to the local branch where I instructed the receptionist to place it in the hands of the Branch Manager.

As I said, I’ll probably regret writing it, but I need to bring this sorry affair to a conclusion one way or another and there won’t be a better opportunity.

Last night was another bad night. I ended up going to bed late because I couldn’t sleep, and I was awake before the alarm went off too. There’s a lot going on in my mind right now of course.

So I medicated and breakfasted, had a shower and then went off to town and my letter deliveries.

It was a struggle to make it to LIDL but I made it in the end. And then I couldn’t think of anything that I needed. I bought a baguette, some rice and some pasta because that’s the kind of thing that you can always use.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that I’ve encountered another problem. I need to send in a “proof of residence” with my driving licence, and as my annual electricity bill is outside the date limit, I was intending to send a rent receipt for my apartment. But on examining the latest rent receipt, they have the address wrong!

And so while I was in town I went to the estate agents and they revised the details and very kindly printed off a new receipt. So that’s that problem sold.

hotel des bains casino granville manche normandy franceJust by way of a change, I came back from LIDL a different way – along the plateau to the south of the town and then down the steps right into the centre.

And from the top of the steps there’s this nice view across to the Hotel Des Bains (the big building right of centre) and the sea, right by where the Casino (the turrets poking up left of centre) is.

And you can see that just for a change we were having some fine weather. And it wasn’t cold either.

Back here I made a coffee and then sat down to recover up until lunchtime, when I finished off the rest of yesterday’s vegetable soup.

Having done that, I attacked the driving licence. And start as you mean to go on – a piece of paper jammed itself in the printer and I was there for an hour dismantling … "disPERSONtling it" – ed … it to solve the problem. It was only a tiny fragment too, but it would have to be just big enough to cover the sensor, wouldn’t it? It’s a good job that that didn’t happen when there were important things to do.

But eventually all of the paperwork was completed and having deleted all that I can off my telephone, I had enough free space to receive the texted code from the Bank to authorise my payment.

So that’s gone off and I have the receipt. But by heck it isn’t half a complicated procedure.

square maurice marland granville manche normandy franceI was late for my afternoon walk but I went all the same. And I went once more around the medieval walls.

My route took me past the statue of Maurice Marland. He was a schoolteacher and leader of a cell of Resistance fighters here in Granville. Despite having been arrested and tortured in 1943 he carried on with his Resistance work but was captured again on 22nd July 1944.

No-one knows what happened after that but a couple of days later his body was found in a ditch with five gunshot wounds.

His Resistance cell was broken too and several membfitbiters were likewise executed. This is a monument to all of them.

Another coffee and a session on the guitar, and then a chat to TOTGA on the laptop. That led up nicely to tea which was another frozen curry from the batch in the freezer. Potato and chick-pea, this was.

The day finished off with another walk, and I’m now at 120% of my day’s activity plan.

No sign of the Bank but it’s probably the calm before the storm. We’ll see what tomorrow will bring.

Thursday 18th January 2018 – IT WASN’T …

… such a good, exciting day today as it was yesterday.

It started to go wrong when I went to bed last night and found that, once more, I couldn’t sleep. Tossing and turning for much of the night and waking up bolt-upright part-way through.

Mind you, I had been on my travels during the night but you don’t want me to tell you about them. You’re probably eating your tea or something. It’s what probably awoke me too.

When the alarm went off I managed to crawl out of bed at a reasonable time thereafter, and after the medication and breakfast I had a shower. And SHOCK! HORROR! I did a machine-load of washing, including the bedclothes. Tonight I’ll have brand-sparkling-clean covers on the bed and won’t that be luxury?

But no chance of going out. The rain was back, and in spades too. I really didn’t fancy the walk up to LIDL in this kind of weather.

I’m not really sure where the morning went, because I don’t recall doing anything much. It wasn’t as if the washing took all that much time. It was actually 14:00 when I noticed that it was lunchtime.

After lunch, checking my e-mails, I found that I had had a reply from the French Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés. I had sent them an e-mail to ask them where I could find the two documents that I need for Tuesday. They sent me a link, but that wasn’t the answer and I had to spend a good hour or so exploring the site before I found them.

They are not at all called what the Doctor told me that they were called at all, but they correspond to the description. And so I downloaded them.

And then they needed to be printed.

It took a while to sort out this mains connection but it seems to work now, which is good news. But the next issue is trying to make the thing function. The drivers aren’t loaded onto this laptop and I don’t seem to have brought the disk with me.

And so I had to track down an installation disk image on-line and download it – only 255mb of it and that took an age. And then set it up.

And much to my surprise it actually worked and I was able to print off the documents.

While it was doing all of that I did some more sorting out of papers and all of those are ready for a good examination in due course.

digger working in tidal port de granville manche normandy franceThe weather had cleared up by now so I went for my little walk around the headland again.

And there’s yet more excitement in the port today. Part of the port area is tidal and this is where some of the yachts and smaller fishing boats tie up, and ground out at low tide.

But there’s a digger out there just now working away. On what, I have no idea but it’s interesting to say the least. I shall have to go back tomorrow for another look.

Back here, i made myself a coffee. But I didn’t drink it though. I crashed right out and was gone for over an hour. A really deep sleep too and I felt quite feeble when I awoke.

Not too feeble though to have a session on the bass guitar again. And this time, one of the things that I was working on was “Orgone Accumulator” – the Hawkwind track that I played when I was with Mike Allen and one or two others whose names I forget. After all, it is over 40 years ago.

For tea I tried some pasta and managed to eat it all although it took some time.

But the walk was a bit of a disaster. I hadn’t gone 400 yards before the heavens opened and I was drenched to the skin. NO point in risking double-pneumonia so I came back home.

So here’s hoping for a better night, and a better day tomorrow. But at the moment I don’t feel like it at all.

Monday 15th January 2018 – IT GOES …

… without saying that this morning didn’t go according to plan, doesn’t it?

In fact, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m continually being confounded by issues not of my own making and I have to go to extraordinary lengths to circumvent them.

Just for a change, I was awake before the alarm went off, but that’s not quite the same as saying that I was ready to leave the bed. In fact it was something of a struggle to haul myself out of my stinking pit.

Fist thing though was the urine sample. Despite a thorough search this last few days I’ve not found the report from Leuven so I had to go through the procedure here. That’s what I call “taking the P155”. Then I could have my medication and once that worked, I could have my breakfast.

There was a form to fill in to take to the laboratory and that involved some tracking down of stuff too. But once I’d done that I could set off. Into the howling gale and driving rainstorm. After the couple of nice days that we have had, it goes without saying that as I’m out and about on foot we are going to have this kind of weather, doesn’t it?

First stop was the Mobile phone repairer. Having been told that he was back today I made this my first port of call. But as I really ought to have expected, it’s Monday today and many places are closed in France on a Monday – the mobile phone repairer included.

Next stop was the mairie. The doctor who is doing my medical examination told me that I could find some forms here. But according to the mairie, not any more. The forms are available to download on line.

But at least this means that I need to take some decisive action to resolve the cable issues that I’m having with my printer. The tag that holds the plug in place has broken off so the plug won’t stay connected. I shall have to invent a means of locking it in position, or even making a direct connection.

But it’s just typical of Hewlett Knackered. They can’t use standard infinity plugs like anyone else – they have to go for something really fancy and complicated that breaks under the slightest pressure and renders the machine unusable (unless you have a devious mind of course).

Hiking up to the laboratory (which is just on the station roundabout) I was running out of steam – I clearly haven’t recovered from my health. And the bad news is that the lack of this urine sample means that I’ve had to pay €6:80. no wonder I’m spending a fortune with being so unprepared.

On the way back I picked up a baguette and then staggered back up the hill to here – thoroughly exhausted and thoroughly soaked to the skin – to such an extent that I had to change my trousers.

And just for a change, I had a coffee. First one (apart from some warm brown liquid at the football the other week) since I’ve been back from Leuven. And it tasted awful.

Soup with pasta and bulghour for lunch again, with some of the fresh bread (the rest went into the freezer) and then I had a relaxing afternoon not doing very much, although I did have a good session on the bass guitar. To my surprise, some of the stuff that we used to play 40-odd years ago came back into my mind.

For tea tonight, I made a huge curry – the first one for a while. Mushrooms, peppers and because it didn’t make as much as I was hoping, a tin of sweet corn. One helping tonight and four more for the freezer.

My evening walk was a disappointment. Pouring with rain still and a howling gale. So I just did a short lap around the streets and came home. No sense in risking another attack of Bronchitis.

Anyway, tomorrow I’m off down to town again to see if this mobile phone repairer is finally going to make it back to his shop. He better had be because it’s getting my goat.

And the music?

For most of the day we’ve had Jethro Tull going round. If I really had to choose one group to be my favourite, it would have to be Jethro Tull. It takes me back to my school days and Benefit, Stand Up, Aqualung, Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play – the latter two albums being so good that it took the critics 30 years to realise it.

Those five albums, and many others that they released subsequently, have been on my playlist for getting on for 50 years and won’t ever lose their place. Other bands and artists may come and go but Jethro Tull will always be there