Tag Archives: semaphore

Sunday 20th February 2022 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… today has been one of those days when I have done nothing at all whatever of any importance.

In fact, it’s been so relaxing that I’ve even forgotten to transcribe the dictaphone notes, as I have just found out. That’s something that I have to do tomorrow after my radio programme is finished.

And when I did, I hadn’t realised just how much there was. I started off with my youngest sister last night but first of all we were in a huge house or something like a castle that was built on a rock. I’d seen a vehicle pull up and I knew whose it was and I knew whom he might have been to see down somewhere else in the building. Later on I climbed down the outside of the building and right the way down the rocks at the bottom where there was a courtyard and there were quite a few people in there having a party, including the woman concerned. It was the mother of a girl whom I know from the Auvergne and who had accompanied me on a few nocturnal rambles in the distant past. I could see that with this party she had obviously known that this guy had been here so I just briefly mentioned it in passing. Then we were chatting away. I thought that I might have been invited to this party but no I wasn’t. I went somewhere else from there and ended up inside and had my sister sitting on my knee. We were chatting about this and that and having quite a bit of fun because she was quite young and I like children of that age so it was all very pleasant. I asked if by any chance my niece and one of her daughters were coming over from Canada. She replied “no they aren’t coming over this year. They came over three times last year and and your brother (who she meant to me) had bean teasing that girl (she meant the one from the Auvergne) about she was having to go into boarding school”. There was a lot more to it than this that I can’t remember.

Something else bizarre happened last night. I don’t know what it was but these two people picked me up, dragged me off and started to interrogate me about something that had happened. I knew nothing about it but they were quite insistent that I did. In the end I had to sign all of these affidavits etc to say that I hadn’t done anything and they were going to give me some money. But they deducted some money for this and some money for that and some money for something else and I ended up with only about 60% of it. But then thinking on it was 60% more than I would have received anyway so maybe it was a good deal although it was something of anguish at the time and rather nerve-wracking as they were quite insistent. In the end I walked away with some cash so I don’t suppose that it could have been too bad and I’m still trying to work out exactly what it was that happened.

There was something else at some point too about a load of new people coming to work in our office so I’d been trying to wrangle a transfer. I was wandering, talking to a few people saying that I hope that they’ll give me a transfer but it won’t be to somewhere exciting like Caithness or Skipton or somewhere like that but to another one of our offices in Stoke on Trent somewhere and that won’t be any good at all.

Laurence and I had been out around Nantwich somewhere wandering around and we came to some kind of museum so we went in for 5 minutes for a quick look around. It was quite nice and I thought that this would be a good place to bring Roxanne. She said “but it would be snowing tomorrow”. I replied “I don’t necessarily mean tomorrow and in any case it’s indoors so she would probably enjoy it anyway”. So we went back out but there was a problem with the trams so we would have to catch a bus. It turned out that there was one in 4 minutes’ time, probably because there was something going on at the cathedral and they had the road up. She set off while I sorted out the tickets and then ran after the tram, which sometimes was a tram, sometimes a bus, and leapt aboard. There was a severely handicapped girl manoeuvring around but I was fighting my way in trying to find Nerina because I was with her now but she wasn’t there. Someone said something like she had just alighted but by this time the bus had started moving. I stayed on but people started to talk about Nerina. Then this vehicle ended up in the wilds somewhere because the normal way home through Wistaston, there was a fight going on between a big group of people and so we must take another way. All the people were running down the street trying to catch up with this bus or something. The driver told me that he was rather confused about where to go so I replied “if you turn right here you’ll end up in Ganshoren and go back over to Jette”. He turned right but it was a road that I didn’t know at all but I saw a sign for Woluwe so I assumed that we were somewhere along the correct road somewhere. All the time this nonsense was going on. We then came to a new part in this road that was even more confusing than what we had come to before and it was a case of guesswork as to which road to take when we reached a certain road junction.

And even later still I was on yet another bus in Belgium. There were a lot of people talking. The subject came round to petrol stations. Someone was saying that there are far fewer petrol stations in Belgium than there ever used to be. She pointed to a Delhaize supermarket that we drove past on the corner of the street and said that in the old days that used to be 2 petrol stations. The talk continued and I noticed one of the people looking at me so I said “excuse me but I’m a foreigner and I’m really interested in what you’re saying”. The carried on talking and in the end we arrived at the terminus and we all had to alight. Someone said to one of the girls “why don’t you take him (meaning me) and show him (something or other)”. She replied “OK” and took me off. It was a shop and she took me down into the basement. I had a wander round in there. Suddenly she started to bake a cake. I wasn’t taking a great deal of notice but when she finished I asked “how did you bake a cake without any eggs in it?”. She replied “I’ve just made this one without any eggs”. I suddenly realised that she had as well and I wished that I had taken more notice of what it was that she was doing. Meanwhile the server from down there came up and said “thank you for being so disorganised. You’ve made me miss my break and you’ve made me have problems serving one of the customers” to which we replied “maybe we’ll offer the customer a piece of cake and it might make them feel better.

After all of that it’s no surprise that I stayed in bed until 10:30 this morning, even though I was wide-awake a long time earlier than that. But Sunday is a day for mending the nets.

After the medication I sat down and paired up the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. And a couple of the joints that I made are totally perfect and I’m well-impressed.

After lunch, I had a football match to watch. While I was in Aachen last Saturday I missed Caernarfon Town v Bala Town in the Welsh Premier League and I have deliberately refrained subsequently from watching any highlights.

This atfernoon I managed to track down the complete game on the internet and so I watched it. I shan’t say anything about the game because, quite frankly, it was one of the most exciting games that I have ever seen. Maybe some of my readers are football fans and if so, you’ll really enjoy this game. It’s at THIS LINK with, rarely, a commentary in English but, unfortunately, with a couple of holes in the recording.

One thing that I will say is that I found the comments of the commentators concerning the Caernarfon Town’s goalkeeper most inappropriate.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in my youth I was a goalkeeper, although nothing whatever like at this standard, and I’ll promise you that an 18 year-old kid keeping goal in a howling gale against grown men, some of whom have been capped for Wales, is always going to be advised to punch instead of catch when he’s surrounded by other players in a crowded penalty area, whatever the commentators might think.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022That took me up to the time that I usually go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual, the first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down below. And to my surprise, there were dozens of people down there going for a walk around.

In this photo are just a few of them, but why this particular view is that there is something on the sand on the extreme left. It seems to be something with a handle but no matter how I enlarged and enhanced it, I can’t make out what it was.

It’s interesting to conjecture that it might be some kind of flotsam and jetsam tossed onto the beach by the storm but I’m not quite sure how likely that would be.

lighthouse semaphore people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As well as crowds on the beach, there were also crowds wandering around on the path on top of the cliffs

And strangely enough, despite the storm warning of the other day, I will bet that the winds this afternoon when I was out were stronger than those during the storm when I was out that afternoon.

There wasn’t anyone out at the headland though and that was no surprise. The wind certainly took away my breath and would have taken away the breath of anyone else sitting down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

There was a couple struggling along in the distance on the lower path, and “struggling” was certainly the word in this wind.

people on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Once I’d gone round the corner to the other side of the headland we were in a wind shadow so it was much easier to move around.

There were quite a few people walking around on the harbour wall too, and with the tide being right out it was probably as safe as it can be. But in a few hours’ time when the tide is right in it might be a different proposition entirely. The seagull was enjoying itself anyway.

One thing that I noticed was the hold hand-powered crane down at the end of the harbour wall. I must have seen it before because I’ve often walked down there in the olden days when I could walk places, but I don’t remember it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, over at the ferry terminal we now have two ferry boats. The newer Joly France boat has come along to join her older sister.

They must have been quite busy this weekend despite the bad weather, so hats off to those who have gone down to the sea in ships.

Back in the apartment I had a hot coffee waiting for me and I couldn’t wait to drink it. Although it’s not cold, according to the temperature, I’m freezing.

And I’ve been freezing for several weeks and I don’t know why. I keep on thinking that I’m sickening for something but it’s certainly taking its time arriving.

After lunch I took out a lump of dough from the freezer and left it to defrost.

Later on this afternoon when it had defrosted I gave it a kneading and then rolled it out onto the tray where it proofed to its heart’s content.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When it was ready I assembled it and stuck it in the oven to bake.

And I do have to say that today’s effort was the best pizza that I have ever made. Cooked to perfection (unlike my previous effort) and tasted totally delicious.

So now that I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. I’m up early in the morning and I have a radio programme to prepare. And then there’s a letter to write, and I need to nip into town to post it.

No physiotherapy for 10 days though. She’s on holiday so I can have a few days off. And I need it too.

Friday 3rd December 2021 – JUST A QUICK …

… few lines because I’ve been busy this afternoon and this evening and now I’m absolutely exhausted.

Most of that though is due to the fact that I had yet another dreadful night, but we won’t go into that right now because you’re probably as fed up about these as I am.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I went through the two recipes that I have and made a list of the shopping that I need to do. And then I nipped out to Biocoop for some molasses.

As I was on my way to Noz in the driving rainstorm the tyre fitter rang me up. My tyres hadn’t arrived so my appointment was cancelled. Nevertheless I went to Noz where they had some really nice alcohol-free beer that will be just the thing for the Christmas period.

At LeClerc I bought what I could but the range of French cooking accessories falls a lot short. No glacé cherries, no candied peel, nothing like that at all. And even worse, no essence of alcohol-free brandy in which to soak my fruit.

Back home later I had a coffee and spent the rest of the day trawling through my record collection for Christmas rock songs. In the end I managed to pull out about 15 or so and then I remixed them and began to write out the text for the radio programme for Christmas Day.

sea fog beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021During the course of the afternoon I went out for my walk although I don’t know why because the weather was just as foul as it had been earlier.

It wasn’t just the rain that was annoying either. There was a thick sea-fog and the view was no more than a few hundred yards.

But that was enough visibility for me to say that there was no-one down there this afternoon, and that wasn’t a surprise. I was the only one stupid enough to be out there in this weather this afternoon.

tiberiade baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021That isn’t actually quite correct.

There were some other people out there this afternoon, but they were out there of necessity, not through choice. As I peered out through the gloom a trawler came into view out of a low cloud.

The brief glance that I had seemed to indicate that it might be Tiberiade, one of the larger trawlers that operate out of the port. People still have to eat, regardless of the weather, and as long as they need to eat, the fishermen will still need to go out in all kinds of conditions.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Having taken what photos I could, I went off on my walk along the headland.

From the path at the back of the running track I could just about make out the lighthouse and semaphore down at the far end of the Pointe du Roc.

Although it’s only mid-afternoon, the lights on part of the equipment were already lit. Not that they would do much good because I doubt if you can see tham at any appreciable difference in this fog.

With no-one to disturb me, I carried on down to the end of the path and across the car park at the end.

mushroom pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Nothing going on out at sea (that I could see anyway) and no-one sitting on the bench down below, which was no surprise either.

There was however this gorgeous mushroom growing on the bank and it reminded me of that beautiful mushroom soup that Nerina made for me once many years ago.
“That’s absolutely beautiful” I exclaimed. “Where did you find this recipe?”
“In an Agatha Christie murder story” she replied.

la grande ancre les bouchots de chausey omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021It wasn’t just Tiberiade who had been out there braving the conditions this afternoon.

By the looks of things several others had been trying their luck and were unloading at the fish processing plant.

We can, I suppose, rule out L’Omerta because as far as I can tell she seems to live over there permanently now. But on the extreme left we have La Grande Ancre who pulled away from the quayside almost as soon as I took the photo, and next to her is, I think, Les Bouchots de Chausey .

As for the third boat, the blue and white one, I don’t recognise her at all.

After all of this miserable weather than I had encountered, I was glad to be home. I made myself a nice hot coffee and several plans for the future.

Later on I cleared the decks and prepared everything for the baking session. And I actually knew someone else who was attending the demonstration – my very first tutor from 18 months ago.

The demonstration was quite straightforward although my oven is quite a disappointment at this kind of thing. It took about twice as long as the recommended cooking time, and it would have been even better if I’d bought food-quality bicarbonate of soda rather than general-purpose quality.

treacle banana cake place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021So here’s the finished product. Not quite as crumbly as the previous versions have been but I suspect that the almond-flour and flax seeds might have contributed to that.

It’s supposed to be iced but I’m not sure how a treacle cake would taste with icing on it. I don’t think that marzipan would be a good idea either.

After the demonstration I grabbed a quick tea and then watched the football – Bala Town v TNS. As expected is was all one-way traffic and the score of 4-1 to TNS was not an exaggeration.

It’s not that Bala are a bad side. They have most of the team that was there last season but the quality of the league has increased dramatically.

TNS were always quicker and better and played some nice football. Bala played some nice stuff too on occasion but it was far too little and far too late.

Anyway, now I’m off to bed, and I’m going to try a little experiment. I’ll tell yuo all about it tomorrow if it works.

Thursday 26th August 2021 – THERE HAS BEEN …

… a calamity!

This morning I dropped a full mug of coffee onto my keyboard.

It goes without saying that that has now been filed under “CS” and the rest of the morning was spent hunting down the spare one that I have here.

After a good search I came across two, a very flaky old Belgian one and a more recent French one with “NumLok” stick permanently in the “On” Position. (And it could have been worse – it could have been stuck in the “off position”).

When I had finished lunch I tried to work out why the new keyboard was totally misbehaving and doing all kinds of strange things. That turned out to be a stuck “CTRL” button which I freed off.

All I need to do now is to find out why the “N” doesn’t work, and I’ll be in business. I’m using a keyboard shortcut for now so if you find any missing “N”, then you know why.

Thinking about it later, it would probably have been quicker to have driven to LeClerc and bought a new one instead of all of this messing about.

Strangely enough, the flooded keyboard had a fault with the “N” too. There was a delay in the “N” appearing when I touched it so I found myself often ending up with “GN” instead of “NG” if I wasn’t careful.

But I digress … “again” – ed

Despite yet another late night, I was out of bed as the first alarm rang and the went off for my medication.

After that I came in here to read my messages and as soon as it was light I dashed outside with the NIKON D500

chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd without falling over a bollard this morning I headed off to the viewpoint overlooking the port.

And it seems that I should have bee here 30 seconds earlier because they had been loading Chausiaise. I’d seen the crane swinging around as I was coming down the street but as I made ready to photograph it, they closed it up.

Parked behind Chausiaise is one of the Joly France boats that runs the ferry service to the Ile de Chausey. the older one of the two, I think, with the rectangular windows in landscape format.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s the pride of the harbour for the moment.

When I first saw her name I misread it. She’s actually called the Galeon Andalucia and is a replica of a 17th Century Spanish Galleon. She was built in Punta Umbría as a typical “Galeón de Manila” at a cost of about €450,000.

She was launched in 2010 and went out to represent Spain at the Universal Exposition in Shanghai. Since then she’s been visiting various ports around the world, including a couple of weeks in early July in St Malo, and I wonder if that coincides with that mystery sailing ship that we saw.

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSeeing as I was up quite early, the sun was quite low to the east so we were having all kinds of unusual views that we don’t often see.

The chantier naval was nicely illuminated this morning by the low rays of the sun. You can see quite clearly all of the seven boats that are in there, and they all look pretty much like the seven that were in there yesterday.

Away in the distance on the horizon we can see the town of Cancale quite clearly. I’ve made no effort to enhance this photo so even at this range today, the views were pretty good.

baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that wasn’t the best of it either.

There’s a high hill away in the distance somewhere a little way into the interior of Brittany and I can’t recall having seen that more than once or twice. Today though, it was probably about the clearest that I have ever seen it.

The coastline was pretty clear too this morning. And I’m not sure if it’s a trick of the light but that looks like an enormous flotilla of yachts out there in the distance over by the coast.

fishing boat calean leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMuch closer to home there were other things going on.

The harbour gates were now open (I’d only just made it down to the port in time) and already half of the local fleet (that bit that isn’t in the chantier naval) had headed off into the sunrise. One of the last to go out was this little shellfish boat, Calean.

You can the shellfish boats by the covered awning over the open hold. That’s to stop the seagulls diving down and pinching the catch on the way back from the beds.

fishing boat bay de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLeaving the port, I wandered over to the other side of the headland to have a butcher’s at the Baie de Granville to see what was going on over there.

And out at sea many of the fishing boats had taken up their positions and were starting work, like this blue and white one here.

One thing that I had always wondered is “how do they decide which boat fishes where?”. They can’t all surge out en masse and fight for a spec in a glorious free-for-all. There must be some kind of organisation.

Do they draw lots? Or do they take turns on a rota for different specs?

Normandy Trader approaching port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s a thing.

While I was looking out at sea at the trawlers I noticed something else heading my way, and as it approached me, I reckoned that the silhouette was quite familiar so I photographed it for a closer look when I returned home.

Back here I had a close look at the photo and had something of a play around with it. Sure enough, it’s Normandy Trader, one of the little Jersey freighters, on her way into port. I wonder what she and her crew will make of a Spanish galleon here in port.

Having done that, I edited the rest of the morning’s photographs and also the ones from last night. Then I began to update the journal to add the details of last night’s meanderings.

Round about 10:45 I knocked off for breakfast – coffee and my fruit bread. The bread was fine but it was round about then that I had my calamity.

Accordingly, the rest of the morning and early afternoon was spent messing around with the computer.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNone of the foregoing stopped me from having my afternoon walk of course.

You will have seen the glorious morning that we had earlier today, but by now there had been a dramatic change in the weather. It was cloudy, overcast and cold, just like any late October day.

It was no surprise therefore to see that the beach was totally deserted. There wasn’t a soul down there that I could see. The weather had finished off the holiday season in a way that no-one will ever forget in a hurry.

There’s even a rainstorm by the looks of things a few miles out to sea to put the tin hat on it.

harvesting bouchots donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I said that there wasn’t anyone out on the beach, that’s not strictly accurate.

Away in the distance out at Donville les Bains the bouchot harvesters are hard at work. They have all of the tractors and trailers out there this afternoon bringing in the shellfish from the beds that are to the right of this image.

And in the background there are a few people walking around on the beach. Probably tenants of the holiday park just along there. They will be walking along the beach because, to be frank, there isn’t anywhere else for them to walk around there.

crowds footpath pointe du roc lighthouse semaphore Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I’m sure that you are now wondering where all of the holidaymakers have gone if they aren’t on the beach.

The answer to that is that they are all on the path that leads down to the semaphore and the lighthouse at the end of the Pointe du Roc. Hordes and hordes of them too.

And they weren’t all holidaymakers either. While I was walking around on top of the cliff overlooking the sea, I fell in with one of my neighbours and we had a really good chat.

While we were chatting, we were overflown by a helicopter, our friend F-GBAI and also the sparrowhawk but you can’t be rude and interrupt a conversation by taking a photo.

Just my luck, isn’t it?

ulm microlight powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, I didn’t have long to wait before someone else flew by overhead.

The familiar rattle in the distance gave me a clue as to who it might be and it wasn’t long before the red microlight who we have se so often came fluttering by.

Interestingly, it just went a mile or so out to sea, turned round and headed for home.

Bizarre.

Nothing else flew by so I carried on to the end of the path and across the car park, which was crowded yet again.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe other day I asked the question “what do you do if you head back to port and find the port gates closed with the tide.

Almost on cue, we saw a yacht riding at anchor about half a mile outside the harbour. And here today we have another one. And I wonder if he has also missed today’s window of harbour gate openings.

There doesn’t seem to be anyone on deck so maybe they are riding at anchor an gone below for a cuppa. However, they are supposed to display a signal – a black ball – if they have their anchor out but I can’t see anything of that nature hanging from the mast.

people on beach port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further around the headland there was a group of people out on the beach and rocks underneath the harbour wall.

My first thought was that they were doing a bit of peche à pied but a closer look failed to convince me. And apart from the fact that there’s no sun right now, that’s no place to go sunbathing.

Meanwhile, in the chantier naval there was no change in occupancy since this morning. Everything was the same as yesterday except for an infernal racket from down there as if someone was doing some heavy-duty sand-blasting.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the inner harbour I noticed that Normandy Trader had already left. That was a quick turn-round.

Galeon Andalucia on the other hand was still down there with a huge crowd of admirers around her.

And well there might be too, for she’s a gorgeous machine. She’s 38 metres above the water (and 3 metres below it) and her three masts carry almost 2,000 square metres of sail.

Altogether, there are 6 decks which amount to 315 square metres of usable floor space. She looks as if she could launch a broadside of 14 guns

Sadly, she also has an auxiliary engine.

Back here I finished off yesterday’s notes and then went for tea. Aubergine and kidney bean whatsit with pasta.

Finally, I managed to find time to listen to the dictaphone. I was in Villedieu les Poeles last waiting to catch a ferry to go somewhere and there was a talk about how this town was one of the most important in the area as a fishing port, which considering that it’s 20 miles inland, is pretty good going (and I fell asleep here). It was a story on the radio about how important it was and how it was about the 4th most important bridge in France. I thought that it was the first and I was looking for a few reasons out of UP POMPEII to substantiate it. Then I was going through people’s different houses (and I fell asleep again). There was more to it than this but I can’t really remember now which is a shame

later on we were on the top of the cliffs looking down onto the village at Villedieu and the ferry and there was a bridge there as well (yes, I’ve stepped right back in where I left off, haven’t I?). We had to go down to the bottom and somehow fight our way across on rubber boats or something to the other side. We all charged and it was quite a bloodthirsty do with fighting everywhere. Eventually I managed to reach across to the other side of the river, cheered and pushed on. A few of us overwhelmed everything and we were all extremely happy that we had done this and survived and conquered this town.

Now that I’ve finished today’s notes I’m off to bed. I’ve been having too many late nights just recently. I have to put a stop to that.

Sunday 8th August 2021 – NOW THAT I HAVE …

… dealt with the issues of the radio programme for Monday, I can turn my attention to the journal entry for Sunday.

Having gone off to bed early and being awoken almost immediately by a bunch of revellers going home (as you’ve seen previously, it’s Concert Fortnight in the Old Town) I didn’t really have the relaxing night for which I was hoping.

Several times during the night I awoke, usually for no good reason and had I been really keen I could have been up and out of bed at 06:20. But I’m not that keen so I stayed in bed and didn’t leave until 09:30, which is early enough on a Sunday as it is.

Despite the turbulent night I’d been off on quite a few voyages and traveled a long way. And much to my surprise, things started off quite positively and pleasantly which is a surprise considering how things have been just recently, although it didn’t take them long to descend into the more habitual chaos and disorder.

Last night I started offin Crewe on Nantwich Road and there was a whole load of stuff that we had to somehow dispose of. We’d started by dumping it into an empty shop that was near where Barclays Bank used to be. While we were doing that someone came in and asked if we could repair the ferrule on their umbrella. We repaired that then someone else came in for anoher simple job like that which we did. The 3rd person who came in was a young girl and it was somethign similar as well, a ferrule on an umbrella Hers was a retractable one and I ended up dismantling it and found out that one of the set screws had sheared off. I cleaned it and did what I could to repair it. We started to talk about music and everyone there joined in. We were having a really good time discussing all kinds of groups. she’d been to see groups like Men at Work, all of those. As she was about to leave I called her back and asked for her e-mail address which she gave me. The ws started to talk about Strife. She said that her mother used to go to concerts as well and we jokingly said “Barry Manilow”. This was turning into something really quite pleasant. My radio programme came up and she said that she listened to my shows. She’d heard Strife and it was a pretty good thing
Later on a friend of mine put in an appearance. There was a group of us and we’d been doing something. i’d been involved in this from the beginning and my e-mail address had been handed in. The guy who’d been orgaising it had asked for a couple more addresses so I was going to say “I think you have mine already” and read it out so that she’d get a hint of this but instead he asked for hers and she wrote it down on a piece of paper and I could see it. She put it into an envelope and made sure that the woman who was co-orinating everythign had seen it, and then she popped it inside my envelope and said “here, you can have this”so I made a romantic kind of gesture and that seemed to go down well.

Later on I was doing somethingwith my partner and I can’t remember what it was but it was something to do with jars and containers and their contents. She made one of her remarks again and I said something and then I said “I suppose that you’re going to tell me that it’s all over in a minute are you?”. She replied “yes. It’s been all over between the two of us for quite some time” and generally going on like that.

At another point during the night i’d been researching an article on Greenock Morton FC, reading all the way through it and making notes. i’d got through to something like line 10,000 and something but I kept being drawn back to something round about 4,000-odd where there was some talk of a certain name who had a nightmare game for Morton. It looked as if he’d been on trial or something. His name was mentioned and it seemed to imply that he’d been a goalkeeper but I’d never ever remembered a goalkeeper of that name being there even once. I kept on being drawn back to this particular chapter or paragraph and trying to find out more about it. Talking to all these people and I was really bogging myself down in this research. It was a kind of thing that could be cleared up in a minute but for some unknown reason I just couldn’t get myself out of this paragraph.

And doesn’t that sound just like where I am with several projects right now?

This morning with it being Sunday I took it relatively easy because there will be plenty to do this afternoon. I simply edited a few photos from Greenland, and we are now ashore at Ilulissat visiting the abandoned Inuit village of Sermermiut and the stage is being set for the subsequent dramatic events that took place.

After lunch there was baking to do. The bread that I’d made with Liz had died a death and so I needed a new loaf, and I’d also run out of fruit bread. No pizza dough either so I had to make a pile of that too.

By the time that I was ready to go walkies all of that was sitting away simmering quite nicely.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst place to go and visit was the beach – in a virtual way of course because I can’t get back up the steps these days.

The tide is a long way from being in and if you compare this photo with THIS ONE that was taken at almost exactly the same time yesterday, you’ll see how the tide develops from one day to the next.

The difference between the two water levels represents just 38 minutes according to the tide tables so you can see how quickly the tide comes in on the beach down there.

lighthouse ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, while one of my eyes is roaming around on the beach, the other one is looking around out at sea.

There weren’t any marine craft out there at sea today which was a surprise because for a change just recently, the sky is quite clear out at sea . The lighthouse and the houses surrounding stand out quite distinctly today.

The lighthouse itself is 37 metres above sea level and there are 79 steps that take you to the top. The beam of the light can be seen 45 kilometres away in good weather.

yacht semaphore  ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I had the camera poised, I took a photo of the northern end of the island .

When I enlarged it I was able to make out a yacht that was sailing around just offshore. There wasn’t any other kind of water craft out there around the island this afternoon. I suppose that the tide isn’t high enough for the Joly France ferries to be out working yet.

So with nothing else going on out at sea right now, I set off down the path on my walk around the headland

people on footpath lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I wasn’t alone out there this afternoon either, as you can see in this image.

Set against the backdrop of a heavy dark grey cloud, the lighthouse stands out magnificently, with the semaphore post to the right and surrounded by the remains of the German fortifications of the Atlantic Wall.

Standing out there to the right was a crowd of people gawking out to see, although I couldn’t see what it was that had attracted their attention because there was nothing whatever going on out to sea.

sailing ship english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut when I reached the top and stood on top of the old bunker, I could see something moving out in the English Channel, in a completely different direction to that in which everyone was looking.

Back at the apartment later I was able to crop out the section of the photo, enlarge it and enhance it. And I was able to discern that it was some kind of large sailing ship of a type that resemble our Newfoundlander, Marité.

Keeping that idea in my mind, I wandered off down the path across the car park and down to the end of the headland.

rainstorm baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesyerday, when we were standing at the end of the headland we saw an impressive storm brewing away over the Brittany coast.

Today, we’ve been lashed by showers on and off throughout the day and we can see that there’s another big storm brewing over there this afternoon too and it’s pouring down with rain in Brittany.

It won’t be long before the storm arrives over here so I don’t want to hang about to long over here. I’d better be heading back home rather quickly.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown the path on the southern side of the headland I arrived at the viewpoint overlooking the port where I could see what was going on.

No change of occupancy in the Chantier Naval over the last 24 hours so I had a look over towards the ferry terminal. The tide is out and Belle France is over there in a NAABSA position, and we can therefore see her shape.

Yesterday, when we saw the ferry terminal we noticed that because of the weather the terminal and the surrounding harbour wall were completely deserted. Today though, with the slightly better weather, there were some people loitering around and others walking along the top of the wall around the port de plaisance.

l'alize 3 marite port de Granville harbour  Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut we can rule out the idea that it was the Marité that we saw out at sea earlier.

In this photo we can see her bow intruding into the photo. Therefore she’s at anchor and we’ll have to think again about the identity of the sailing ship that we saw.

Next to her in the loading bay is the trawler L’Alize 3 that we saw for a while in the chantier naval.

But my eye has been caught by the shrink-wrapped boat on the quayside. This would seem to me to indicate that one of the little Channel Island freighters will be in port quite soon to take it away.

Back at the apartment I added the mixed fruit to the fruit bread dough and then kneaded all of the three dough mixes the second time and put that for the fruit bread and the ordinary bread into their moulds and left everything to proof a second time.

When they were ready I put the two loaves into the oven.

With the pizza dough I divided it into three and put two of the parts into the freezer. The third, I rolled out and put into the pizza tray and when it had proofed again, I assembled my pizza.

vegan pizza fruit bread home baked loaf Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut of the oven came the bread and into the oven went the pizza, and half an hour later it was ready. And here are the finished products.

As for the bread I’ll tell you about that tomorrow but it certainly looks good. The pizza was for some reason or another undercooked and I don’t know why because the oven was switched to full and the baking tray was lowered in the oven. It’s rather bizarre, that.

You’ll probably notice that there is no pudding made today. I was going to make an apple crumble but there was no room in the oven. I’ll bake that tomorrow evening and make some baked potatoes while I’m at it. Maybe a slice of home-made vegan pie too
.

Just as I was settling down to start to write my journal entry, the telephone rang. It was Rosemary who wanted to have a chat.

We were there talking for almost two hours and after, I was far too tired to write anything. Consequently I took myself off for an early night and I’ll write up my notes tomorrow.

Tuesday 6th July 2021 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… day today, and for many, many reasons too.

yachts zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou can see in this photo exactly what was going on today and one of the reasons why today was so horrible.

You can see the zodiac in front rearing up on a very tall wave, and the waves were so deep that it looked as if the people in the rear yacht were actually sitting in the water rather than in a boat.

Add to that the fact that the rain was teeming down and you’ll understand one of the reasons why today was so horrible. I know that I’ve talked about going for sailing lessons over there but I do have to say that I’m glad that what with one thing or another I never followed it up if I were going to be out there in all of this.

Another reason, and probably the most important, is that it’s been a dreadful day for me too.

Having had a late night or two just recently I made a sepcial effort to be in bed quite early last night, and yet it didn’t seem to do much good and if anything it made me even morse.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I was up quite quickly and after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was in Germany somewhere working in an office and I wanted to take out legal proceedings against someone but I wasn’t sure how to do it. There was no-one around to ask so I thought that I’d go to the Law Courts which were only a short walk away so I set off and ended up in a cemetery. There were several people who had been executed by the Germans and some war casualties, and a sign about so many German soldiers known to have been buried in this site long before the days of the Napoleonic Wars etc. I had a good walk around here because I was a foreigner who didn’t come into any of this kind of thing but it was interesting all the same. There was a café there and they were selling ice cream strawberry sundaes and they looked absolutely delicious. I joined the queue for one. Even when I ended up being the only person in this shop they weren’t serving me, they were serving other people who were sitting at the table. I wondered what I had to do to make myself be served.because I really fancied one of these sundaes. They looked absolutely magnificent. It was a really magnificent graveyard this with all kinds of wonderful headstones and all this, so typically Victorian Gothic Magnificent.

There was something else later on about WWII with the US Army about to cross the Rhine and they had fleets of red Routemaster and RT London buses that they were going to drive aross the Rhine full of US soldiers. One or two of them had already been hit by shells and knocked out of the line that was going to cross the Rhine and 1 or 2 in the Rhine that were disabled but they were simply going to drive these buses across the Rhine

And wouldn’t it have been nice to have had one of my regular companions coming with me. In fact these days, my companions are becoming less and less regular and that’s what I find quite disappointing.

With a hot mug of coffee in my hands I sat down and started on some work but the next thing that I knew, it was 09:48 and I’d missed most of the morning. There was just enough time to brush up my Welsh ready for our chat session, during which I had the great misfortune to fall asleep, and fall asleep properly too.

After lunch I set about the photos of August 2019 and I was able to deal with quite a few before I fell asleep yet again. Three times on the same day is some kind of unenviable record and I’ve no idea where this is likely to lead me. But it’s not going to lead me very far.

Nevertheless I was awake by the time that I wanted to go for a walk. I made it as far as just outside the door and then had to come back for my raincoat. Even the, I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked to be.

people in water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call was the beach at the rue du nord to see what was going on, so I wandered off across the car park to see over the wall.

There wasn’t all that much beach to be on and in any case this kind of weather would be enough to put anyone off. There were three guys down there, one of whom was in the water. They were all wearing wetsuits and I suppose that that was the right kind of attire for this weather.

As for the scaffolding that I mentioned yesterday, that seems to have gone. I’ll have to go along to there tomorrow and have a closer look to see what had been going on.

people on path in rain lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing else going on, I wandered off along the path on top of the cliffs.

There were a few people out there, with umbrellas and the like to protect them from the rain. By the looks of things and the registration numbers of the cars on the car park it looks as if they are mostly tourists.

I suppose that seeing as they have come here on holiday, they feel obliged to be out and about in it. And the headland round by the lighthouse and the semaphore is probably the place to be if they are going to be anywhere.

But on the subject of tourists, at least the dreadful weather that we are having might well keep the numbers, and hence the Covid infections, down.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was admiring the tourists out there braving the weather, a yacht suddenly appeared from around the headland.

“Rather them than me” I thought, because as I said earlier, I don’t think much of the weather that we are having. I’m fine on the sea in all kinds of weather, but I don’t fancy being soaked to the skin by the rain while I’m doing it.

So I left them all to it and carried on along the path along the clifftop towards the lighthouse. There wasn’t anything else going on out to sea either in the direction of the Ile de Chausey or the Channel Islands. It was all quite disappointing, but not surprising.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I rounded the corner to take the path down to the car park I noticed one of the Joly France boats looking as if it has just left port.

There will be tourists who have booked a cottage on the Ile de Chausey for the holidays and regardless of the weather, they will be wanting to go out there and take possession. Consequently the ferries will still be running regardless of the weather – up to certain limits of course and we aren’t quite yet at that stage.

Yesterday we saw one of the ferries doing a lap around the Baie de Mont St Michel and this one today is the same boat – the one with the “portrait” windows. And now she’s off to the Ile de Chausey, although there aren’t too many people on board in this weather.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs well as the ferries, the company that runs the service out to the Ile de Chausey also owns a kind-of barge or small freighter.

When the ferries are full it’s difficult to transport all of the luggage and as well as that there is also a need to supply food and other items to the people out there. That’s when the barge – Chausiaise comes into use, ferryng the freight out to the islands.

It doesn’t look as if there is much going on right now as she is moored at the ferry terminal. When there is a pile of freight to take out, she goes into the inner harbour underneath the crane and they load her up from there, fighting for her place with the two Channel Island freighters Thora and Normandy Trader.

trawler leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing going on any special or different in the chantier naval but as I started to leave, a trawler started to leave too and headed out to sea.

No matter what the weather is doing, people still have to eat and so the boats have to be out there in this kind of weather to bring in the catch. And my hat comes off to those who go out to sea for the fish, even if I don’t eat it myself.

Outside the apartment I bumped into another one of my neighbours. We had a little chat and then I came in for my hot coffee and to carry on with the photos, and also to sort out all of the external hard drives and try to rationalise the collection.

We had the usual time on the bass guitar and then I went for tea. Veggie balls and pasta with tomato sauce, followed by chocolate sponge and coconut soya whatsit.

So now I’m off to bed. Here’s hoping that I have a better day tomorrow, and a nice trek out during the night with some good companions. I’ve been a bit stuck for good company just recently.

Saturday 26th June 2021 – THE BIGGEST SURPRISE …

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… today was the fact that when I went out for my afternoon walk today, there were actually a couple of people down there on the beach.

You only have to look at the photo to see what kind of afternoon it was. When I went out for my afternoon walk it was raining quite heavily and there was a rolling, wet, claggy mist everywhere that was engulfing everyone and everything in its path.

There wasn’t any point in asking me to look out to sea because I couldn’t see a thing. It was far worse than yesterday and I think that our brief encounter with Summer is finished.

This morning though, when I awoke, it wasn’t all that bad and it looked as if it might actually be quite a promising day. Certainly, me being out of bed as the first alarm was ringing is quite promising if nothing else is.

After breakfast I went and had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something strange about three of us having to go to some kind of meeting of the army, something like that. I know that I had these khaki battledress things with zips and everything so I had to hide them before I could go to this meeting. We were all meeting up for breakfast at the Chinese Coach Park café. Liz was coming as well but she was saying that she was going to sit somewhere else because she wasn’t into eating meals in polite company, all these affected mannerisms and everything. I told her “well that’s rather crazy because no-one is going to be watching anyway. We’re all going to be doing the same thing”. Something came around about buying a house. I was thinking of moving or buying a house somewhere. The suggestion came up with Terry that perhaps I ought to think about buying a house with them.

There was much more to this but I really can’t remember it now.

Having organised myself a little I went and bashed on with the photos from the USA in August 2019. And by the time that I’d finished, I’d crossed back over the border into Canada and the province of Saskatchewan.

And now I think that I only have British Columbia and the Yukon Territory to visit. It’s only 3,000 kilometres by road from Vancouver to Whitehorse. I can foresee an aeroplane journey in the near future.

After a shower and a change of clothes I headed off to the shops. NOZ came up with very little, except a long queue at the checkouts, and LeClerc had nothing really exciting, although they did have some nice vegan mini-burgers in breadcrumbs. It was expensive though because I needed coffee and also apples which are much more expensive than they have been.

Back here I put the frozen food away and made myself a hot chocolate (with real chocolate) which went down nicely.

The next thing that I remember was that it was 14:00 and I’d been asleep for a couple of hours. There was something on the dictaphone too. One little thing that I had when I would start out was that I was working in an office and I’d been on my lunch break. When it came towards the end of my lunch break I realised that I couldn’t find my fruit so I tried to remember where I had it last. That was down i the basement somewhere so I went all the way down in this basement down all these escalators with these people behind me talking about different things. I reached the bottom where the tunnel went under the road but there was no fruit there. I had to take the escalators back up and I suddenly remembered that i’d put them in the fridge at the back of my desk last night as I was going home. I wondered if they were still there. I came back up and headed off to my office thinking that I’d be horribly late and sure enough everyone was there. There was a girl sitting at my place doing some temporary work so I asked her if I could have my desk back. She said “yes” and “that was nice. We’ll have to do it again sometime” in a kind-of sarcastic manner. The girl who was sitting behind me said “we’ll have to work out hw much of my desk you’ve got so you can pay me some money and I can pay someone else”. I said “I think that there are about 4 things in it” but we opened the drawer and we counted about 8 or 9 so she started to laugh. There were some other things in there. I remembered that someone had given them to me to keep them safe because they related to someone who had just come to work in the office. I’m glad that they were still there but I wasn’t sure how I was going to explain that to this girl because I’d put them in her desk. When we were counting up this stuff I might have to know how to justify it and I thought “why should I have to pay for stuff that belongs to the office anyway?”

After lunch there was football on the internet. Rhyl 1879 were hosting Bangor 1876 in a friendly match and surprisingly, given the history between these two teams, it was quite friendly too. Both these teams have a very long and successful history but due to all kinds of difficulties, now find themselves languishing in Tier 4 of the Welsh pyramid.

Bangor won 1-0 and I’ll tell you something for nothing that if this was a Tier 4 match, then either Tier 1 is going to be fantastic this season or else quite a few Tier 1 clubs are going to be in for a shock.

By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland so remembering my mask and my cap I set off.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it comes as no surprise to anyone to know that I was all alone out there this afternoon.

There wasn’t another soul … “ahhh soul” – ed … out there on the path at the top of the headland facing the Baie de Granville. I had the path al to myself – just me, the lighthouse and the semaphore station in the distance.

Plenty of that white tape still there though and I think that I’ve found out to what it relates as well. As went out and about this morning I saw lots of signs about pedestrians in the streets tonight. There’s some kind of walk going on. Although if it carries on raining like this, it won’t be a walk, it will be a swim

frogman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is not actually a sneak preview of tonight’s walk, even if it will end up something like this tonight I reckon.

While I’d been on my way down the path and across the car park at the end on my way to the end of the headland, I’d seen something swimming about offshore and I was wondering if it might have been a dolphin or a porpoise or whatever they are. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in the past we have seen a few of those.

But as it broke surface, I could see that it was actually a diver, complete with rubber ring. And by the look on his face, he was just as surprised to see me as I was surprised to see him. He gave me a really good, long look as if I was doing something that I wasn’t supposed to dp.

frogman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd he wasn’t alone either, which was even more of a surprise.

There were a couple of other objects that were loitering just underneath the water and which had caught my eye. One of them floated up to the surface and it turned out to be yet another diver. So what’s going on just offshore here that requires the service of three divers, because I reckoned that the other object is probably a diver too

However, I’m not likely to receive very much of an answer from them because they were too far out to shout at and I wouldn’t have heard their reply. And I’m not expecting to see anything in the newspaper tomorrow either. And so I just turned round and cleared off.

mother and child waiting for father peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on I heard a little voice shouting “papa, papa from somewhere down at the back of the chantier navale so I tried to have a look for the source of the sound.

So down there sitting on a rock underneath a large umbrella was a mother and her little child – a daughter by the looks of things. Having a look farther out among the rocks I could see someone who looked very much like papa doing some prospecting down there in the fashion of the peche à pied.

The tide is still quite far out and the public areas are uncovered so he’d gone for a scavenge around. Howevern I imagine that his wife and daughter were not so keen and so had taken shelter under the umbrella. Not that I blame them. Given half a chance, I’d be under an umbrella myself.

flooded footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother one of my favourite moans, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is the state of the public footpaths around the headland.

Just there is the viewpoint that overlooks the harbour and you can see that it’s practically inaccessible today. As usual, whenever there is persistent rain, the footpath floods like that and everyone has to go for a very wet and slippery scramble around on the grass.

It’s not by any means the first time that it’s been like that. It was like that when I first came here over 4 years ago and it’s never ever become any better. In fact it’s deteriorating from one day to the next.

Much as it pains me to say it, this is a tourist resort and a great deal of income comes from tourism. And yet the facilities for the tourists are falling into disrepair as the local council, whoever it is who is running the show, is making little effort to improve or even maintain it.

They’ll soon by crying when the tourists stop coming, which they will do if things don’t improve..

yacht rebelle trawler philcathane chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually I did manage to find a place where I could look down at what was going on in the harbour.

Of course, the chantier navale is bound to be my first port of call, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. The yacht Rebelle from London is still in there, as I thought she might be, and so is the trawler who appeared in there yesterday.

And I can tell you her name now too. She’s one of our old favourites Philcathane. As I went off to the shops this morning in Caliburn I drove past the chantier navale and I could read the name on the side of her superstructure.

But nobody seems to be working on her today. Whether it’s because of the weather or because it’s weekend I don’t know. But neither is preventing someone from being aboard Rebelle.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, back around towards the Fish Processing Plant, another one of our old favourites is back.

That is L’Omerta which is Italian for silence and also the name of the oath that the Mafia take, so I’m interested to see how come a fishing boat here in Granville carries that name.

Another thing that interests me is to find out why there are quite a few fishing boats being tied up in a NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground. When I first came here it was a very rare thing to see one and when you did, it had been tied up so that maintenance could be carried out on it. But these days, it’s getting to the stage where it’s two or three every week.

But in the unpleasant, wet weather I pushed on towards home.

new fishing boat l'alize 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here in the inner harbour something else caught my eye.

The white fishing boat there is one that I don’t recall having seen before. Maybe I have, I don’t know, but it doesn’t look very familiar to me. I can see that I’m going to have to go for another wander around down at the quayside some time soon.

But not right now. I’m heading for home and a nice mug of hot coffee.

And then I have some searching to do on the internet. It’s high time I upgraded my big computer and I need quite a few things to do so. They aren’t going to be bought and the computer upgraded if I just sit here and do nothing about it, even if it is going to be expensive.

Guitar practice went well for a change and then I went for tea. A couple of those burger things that I bought, baked potato and veg followed by apple pie and the custard that was left over from yesterday.

Next task that I mustn’t forget is to soak some lentils in the slow cooker and marinade some tofu. I’ve run out of vegan meat pie and I want to make another one tomorrow. Everything needs soaking and marinading to absorb all of the herbs and spices. Left overnight, it will be wonderful tomorrow.

And then I could press on with the journal.

Bed time now and I can’t say that I’m SORRY. I’ve had a tough week all told, much of which is due to ill-health and I’m not going to get any better. But we’ll see how things develop if I can have a good night’s sleep for once.

Sunday 21st March 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

naabsa fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… about this fishing boats breeding or multiplying or whatever.

We started off with one moored at the Fish Processing Plant and abandoned to go aground as the tide went out and yesterday we ended up with four of them. That was when I mused that they must be multiplying and it looks as if I’m right because today there’s a fourth one down there that is going to be marooned by the tide in half an hour’s time.

The Fish Processing Plant seems to be all closed up so that fourth one hasn’t come along to unload and in any case it’s leaving it rather late to move.

So what’s all going on there then?

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo prizes for guessing what’s going on here, is there?

There probably isn’t anyone who, having seen the beautiful weather that we had yesterday, would believe that it would continue for the rest of the weekend so nobody should be in the last surprised by the fact that the weather has closed in again today. It’s gone cold and the fog and mist are closing in.

So much so that I’m glad that I missed almost half of today. I might have been awake at 08:30 but no danger whatever of me leaving my stinking pit at that time on a Sunday. 11:15 is a much more realistic time for me to show a leg.

After the medication I attacked the dictaphone. I always like to listen to where I’ve been during the night and, more importantly, who has come with me. Even though I’ve been starved of good, pleasant, charming and erudite company just recently, what goes on on my travels during the night is usually much more exciting than anything that happens during the day when I’m awake, sad as it is to say it.

But not last night. I would really like to have some financial stability and I had some money invested in a company called Global Marketing. I’d had a whole pile of information from them that I was busy going through when suddenly the Chancellor of the Exchequer, not Sunak but someone else turned up on my door. He was telling me of all his bullish plans for this and that and I said quite frankly “I don’t believe very much of this at all”. he sat down, plugged in a tape recorder and played a speech back. I said “that’s you speaking, isn’t it?”. He replied “yes it is”. I replied that I’d be much more convinced if it was the EU or someone like that speaking to me. He noticed the paperwork and he went through it. “Is this what you’re doing in your retirement? organising items for these?” I asked “don’t you know who these people are?”. He replied “no. I’ve never seen them until I saw these papers” so I was about to tell him who they were when I awoke.

After I’d gathered my wits (which takes an awful lot longer than it ought to bearing the reduced amount of wits that I possess these days – but then I suppose that they have more empty space in which to roam around) I attacked the photos from July 2019.

By the time that I knocked off I’d arrived in East Forks, Minnesota, USA where I spent a couple of very ill days. However, I had had a little drive around Winnipeg and been to see MY GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE – or, at least, the house where she lived during her very short marriage.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my great grandparents emigrated to Canada in 1906 and my grandmother, who was a music hall singer, married a musician from Winnipeg in July 1918. Their marriage lasted barely 4 months as he died in the influenza epidemic in November 1918.

When my great grandfather died in 1923 (we went to SEE HIS GRAVE 20 YEARS AGO) my great grandmother returned to the UK bringing the unmarried children (including my grandmother) back with her.

The married children remained behind and that’s how come I have family in Montréal and Ottawa (and probably elsewhere too).

Anyway, you haven’t come here to hear all of that nonsense. It’s time that I was clearing off outside to see what was happening.

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the answer to all of that was that down on the beach there was nothing happening at all. Just one or two people walking around there.

And as I said earlier, I can’t say that I blame them either. You can see by how dark it is down there, just how depressing the weather was this afternoon.

Dark, depressing and gloomy. But that’s enough about me – the weather was just as bad. The mist is closing in yet again and it wasn’t very nice at all so I shrugged my shoulders and set off at a pace around the headland while the going was good and before the weather became any worse.

lighthouse coastguard station semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs you can see, I wasn’t alone out there this afternoon. There were quite a few people walking around on the footpath this afternoon braving the weather.

And they needed to be brave too. Just now I mentioned that I needed to push on before the weather deteriorated even more and if you look to the right of this image you can see a rainstorm approaching rather rapidly and I didn’t want to be caught out there in all of that.

So I pushed along the path, across the lawn at the end by the lighthouse and then across the car park to the end of the headland. There was nothing whatever happening out to sea as far as I could see (and I couldn’t see very far at that) so I wandered off along the path on top of the cliff.

microlight ulm pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday we were having something of an aerial day seeing as the weather was something of a plane-spotter’s delight. But no such luck today. The thick clouds that we were having put a stop to that.

But we did have one of these microlight powered hang-glider things floating around over my head as I walked along the path so I took a photo of it as it went by overhead, but that was my lot. I wanted to be home before the rain arrived.

No change in occupancy in the chantier navale and we saw earlier the fishing boats at the Fish Processing Plant so with nothing else going on, I headed back home again for my coffee. There were plenty of things to do.

One of the things that needed doing was the baking for today.

There isn’t much bread left right now so I needed to make a loaf. But not a big one because I’m off on my travels on Wednesday and there’s no room in the freezer. So just a small one would have to do. Consequently, immediately after lunch I’d made up 250 grammes of flour into a dough – using the wrong flour as you might expect.

At the same time, I’d taken a lump of pizza dough out of the freezer and that had been thawing out during the afternoon.

When I returned from my walk I have the dough its second kneading and shaping and left it to proof again this time in its mould. Then I kneaded the pizza dough, rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray and left everything to proof.

While I was doing all of that I carried on with the Central Europe stuff. There’s now another day finished and IS NOW ON LINE. Just 3 more days to do now, but one of those days is the one where I ran aground in the first place all those weeks ago so that isn’t going to be easy.

By now the dough was all ready so I bunged the loaf in the oven and assembled the pizza. When the bread was done I put the pizza in the oven to cook.

home made bread vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere are the finished products. The loaf is small but it looks and feels quite good. As for my pizza, it was delicious yet again.

No pudding this week as I’m not here to eat it. I’ll be taking stuff out of the freezer for the next couple of days. There are plenty of frozen pies and so on in there that need finishing. It’ll make more room in there for other stuff.

While I was writing up my notes I was listening to music as usual. There are certain tracks that I can only listen to when I’m in the right mood to hear them and that, unfortunately, isn’t right now, for a whole variety of reasons with which I won’t bore you.

So of course, it goes without saying that Al Stewart’s MODERN TIMES came round on the playlist, didn’t it? Hard to think that I was working out the chords for this earlier in the week and I could play it then. But not today.

That’s because the track that came up on the playlist immediately before it was GRASSHOPPER by Man. What was I doing the night of 1st/2nd September 2019 that I can’t even now, 18 months later, bring myself to write about and which I probably never will.

One thing about it though and that was that I was never the same afterwards. Mind you, I was never the same beforehand so it doesn’t make very much difference anyway.

Anyway, on that note (well, we are talking about music) I’m off to bed. I need my beauty sleep of course, but I need much more than this. I have a radio programme to do and I’ve nothing prepared for it. And it’s a programme of fairly new stuff and thse ones are always the most difficult to write.

It won’t be an 11:15 finish tomorrow, that’s for sure.

Monday 15th February 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

lighthouse semaphore people on lawn and path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… about the heavy rain last night washing away the rest of the snow and ice that was still hanging around after our famous snowfall last week, more’s the pity.

If you compare this photo with the one THAT I TOOK THE OTHER DAY you can see immediately the difference between the weather conditions in the two photographs. I wonder when, or if, we might see snow again. It was a long time coming.

Beating the third alarm was another thing that was a long time coming, but once again I managed to be up and about before it went off.

There’s some stuff on the dictaphone so later on I had a listen. I was at work, working long past my retirement date which I was doing yet again. It seems to have become something of a regular occurrence. Suddenly a memo came down to say that Friday 8th February was to be my very last day. It was the Friday before that at the moment and the next week I was working away so I worked late until everyone had gone and I just took a bag and put some stuff in it, so much that it was really difficult to carry, and then I set off, thinking that I’d come back the Monday after I’d retired and bring a box to put the rest of the stuff in it. I walked all the way through town and ended up at the hospital. I was going there in the hope that I could have my 1st Covid injection before I set off on my business trip

Today I’ve spent all morning working on another radio programme. After the medication I sat down and started work and by the time that I was ready to knock off for lunch it was all done and dusted, the whole hour of it, and I was listening to it to make sure that it was okay.

It’s come out quite well too, and I’ve even managed to squeeze into it a track that has been on my playlist ever since the moment that I first heard it in 1970.

There was of course the morning break for hot chocolate and sourdough fruit-bread. There’s only one helping left of that so tomorrow afternoon I’ll have to make a start on preparing some new stuff.

And talking of the sourdough, after I fed it yesterday it’s gone berserk, erupted, and made a mess all over the worktop. It’s quite active now by the looks of things. I reckon that the ginger bug is ready too so while I’m at it I’m going to have a go at making my first batch of ginger beer.

Having listened to the radio programme and also the one that will be broadcast this weekend, I sent off the latter and for the next while I carried on with tidying up the hard drive with all of the back-up files on it, going through the duplicates.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAll of that took me up to my afternoon walk outside.

As we can see, the workmen are now back up on the roof of the College Malraux carrying on with the tiling after their enforced break at the end of last week. And I don’t envy them one bit whatsoever about their job, because there was another gale-force wind blowing and there was rain threatening too.

It’s hardly surprising, given the weather conditions that we experience around here, that the wind blew one of the workmen off the roof a couple of months ago while I was away in Leuven and they had to send the air ambulance out to pick him up and rush him to hospital.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was at it, I went over to the edge of the car park to look down upon the beach to see if there was anything exciting going on.

There wasn’t anything special that I could see down there, except for the fact that there seemed to a rather extraordinary number of people down there amusing themselves. This wasn’t really the weather for crowds of people relaxing at the water’s edge.

Despite the torrential rain last night, the paths were fairly dry for a change. I was expecting to be up to my knees in the mud and slush. It was quite easy to move around out there, although there wasn’t anything particular to see out there, and the heavy clouds prevented any sun from seeping through.

people working on aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing particular going on out to se, I had a walk along the path to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale and the port.

And there was some excitement going on down there today. Whilst the occupants of the chantier navale are still the same, the area around Aztec Lady seems to be a hive of activity today. There were quite a few people wandering around there looking as if they might be about to start work on her.

They may even be thinking about putting her back into the water some time very soon, although I seem to recall having had a similar fit of optimism a long, long time ago when she was first hauled ashore.

rue du port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a good view from here too all down the Rue du Port as far as the Place Pleville.

We can see that most of the fishing boats have all gone out to sea today. They must have had Sunday off. Of course, the tide is well out so we won’t be seeing them coming back for a while, especially as we have the curfew at 18:00. There’s no sign of that being lifted right now either given the fact that the casualty figures for the virus don’t seem to be decreasing by very much.

By now the rain was falling as I had expected, so I made my way back to my apartment. My hot coffee would just the job to warm me up after my exertions.

The postman had been today which was good news. He’d brought me a couple of little presents for which I was grateful.

The first thing was the SATA caddy for 2.5 inch drives. I need that to download the BIOS files for the new SSD drives that are on their way. The BIOS needs to be loaded onto the drives before I fit them into the machines so that the machines will fire up properly and I can download the operating system etc. These SSD drives are completely blank. I’ll plug them into the caddies which will then be plugged into a USB port on another machine and I can download the BIOS files like that from the laptop manufacturers.

But it’s also enabled me to carry out another task. I had an ancient laptop 10 years ago that gradually gave up the ghost and died after the charging pin broke off inside the casing. Soldering a flying lead onto the motherboard provided only a temporary repair.

At the time I salvaged the hard drive from it and put it on one side with the view of looking at it and salvaging the files at some time. Now that I have the caddy I can actually access the files and even as we speak I’m uploading the contents from the hard drive via the caddy onto the hard drive in this computer. And it’s going to be a long job.

The second thing that came in the post was the new battery for the little Acer that will be the recipient of one of the SSD drives. The battery had died in it completely and while I was surfing the net I came across a stock of spare batteries for it.

Surprisingly, the difference between a standard battery and a battery of twice the capacity was a mere €4:00 and so for a mere €23:99 including, this will be ready to go when it has its new 1TO SSD.

Even though it’s an old machine running Windows 7, the fact is that everything important is easily accessible in it and I remember when I bought it that I enquired about the memory and ended up ramming into it as much RAM as it could take. The processor is pretty slow but it did everything that I wanted of it quickly enough, and it’ll go even quicker with a Solid-State Drive.

It’s much smaller than a standard laptop, with an 11.6″ screen and very light so it was great for travelling. I need to cut down on the amount and weight of stuff that I have to take with me when I travel.

This took me up to guitar practice time, which went off okay although I wasn’t really in the mood very much..

At the shops on Saturday there were no loose mushrooms so I was obliged to buy a punnet of 500 grammes. They won’t keep for long so I made myself I great big potato and mushroom curry with vegetables and coconut cream. It was absolutely delicious and, even better, There’s enough for another four or five meals so I’ll be stocking the freezer when it’s cooled down.

So now I’m off to bed. No Welsh course tomorrow as it’s half-term but I do have my little 15-minute chat with my tutor. And then I need to nip to the shops. I need to buy a couple of things that I forgot on Saturday.

Thursday 11th February 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… really busy day today and accomplished quite a lot.

And when was the last time you heard me say something like that?

Once more I managed to beat the 3rd alarm, although not by much. And that was a surprise because even though I was in bed early, I’d had a really bad night.

Several bad attacks of cramp in my right leg, a couple of which obliged me to stand up to relieve the pressure. They were really painful and I was in agony for a good part of the night, something that I didn’t enjoy one little bit.

After breakfast I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been. because despite the difficulties that I’d had, I had managed to wander off on my travels, cramp and all.

I had some stuff to leave around and I didn’t want to leave it in my car while I was away for a week so i thought that I’d go to the hotel where I’d been staying or where I would stay on my way back on 12th. I drove my beige MkIV Cortina there, parked it in a temporary parking place on the street and walked round to the hotel, leaving my luggage in the car for a moment. When I arrived there was a Shearings coach tour ready to depart. I could hear them calling my name asking whether I’d be going. Instead I carried on and there were hordes of people because it looked as if there was another coach tour actually starting from there. Everyone was hanging around there at the front of the hotel and I thought that I’d be hours trying to get through this queue into reception. Suddenly 2 coaches pulled up for this coach tour so everyone surged forward into the hotel and I surged in as well. People were complaining that I’d pushed in but I arrived at the reception desk. There I was going to buy some sweets but when I saw the prices I changed my mind. I made up some story about me going on a coach tour and didn’t want my possessions to get damp in the car so she agreed to take my suitcase until 12th when I returned. I went out of the hotel and started to go back the way I’d come. She said “no, there’s a quicker way. Go down this street here, turn left and left again”. The was she said it was so confusing so she said “follow me”. She took me down the first bit and there, there was someone with a collection of old military vehicles behind a hedge, a couple of jeeps and a couple of Jeepnis from the Philippines. Round the bend there was someone else. She said “this is always the person of last resort if you need something urgently”. It was a guy who repaired all kinds of things. he had all kinds of old cars and all bits and pieces parked up in his drive. She kept on taking me down all these footpaths and I was getting so confused. I thought that we would end up miles away from my car and I won’t have a clue where my car is. It was only a 15 minute parking space and what happens if I’ve been towed away because I’ve been so long? But I followed her anyway as she seemed to know where she was going

So fighting off huge attacks of cramp that had brought me out of bed on a couple of occasions I carried on walking down here to find the BASF factory and I’ve no idea why. I was told that it was just near the overbridge but it certainly wasn’t around here. I was going to walk some way to find it and no-one seemed to be interested in telling me where it was. And I’ve no idea what that second part was about either.

But talking about Shearings … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve had to tell Satan to get well and truly behind me this afternoon. Someone’s offered me a 1997 Volvo B10M coach with a Plaxton Paramount body in good running order but needs tidying – for just £1500.

When I worked for Shearings I had years of fun driving those around Europe when I couldn’t lay my hands on a Van-Hool bodied one and they were really nice to drive. I loved Volvo coaches. And so it’s a good job that there’s a lockdown and we aren’t allowed to travel anywhere, especially to the UK, because it saves me from myself.

But what a bargain that is! The thing is that at the moment with companies (including Shearings) going bankrupt, there’s loads of good second-hand stuff on the market that the liquidators are desperate to move so they are slashing prices. This means that everyone is upgrading and modernising their fleets and so there’s all this good old stuff about that is worthless.

Next task was to make some dough for my loaf. Another 500 grammes of wholemeal bread and having bought a pile of sunflower seeds the other day, I forgot to add them in. But I fed the sourdough and the ginger beer while I was at it.

With half an hour free, I attacked the photos from Greenland and made some good progress and then I went for my shower.

By now, the dough had risen sufficiently so I shaped it and put it in its mould and headed out for the shops, with my two pairs of trousers on because it was absolutely taters again outside and the cold wind didn’t help.

At LIDL I didn’t spend very much. There wasn’t anything special that I needed – just a few bits and pieces.

demolition of house rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way home from LIDL I had to take a diversion from my usual return route.

There had been a few notices knocking around telling us about a new block of flats that they are going to build in the Rue St Paul and I was wondering where that might be. But this here seems to be the answer because the road was closed off while a bunch of workmen were busy knocking down this old cafe on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo.

For a couple of minutes I watched them in action but it was really far too cold to hang about for long, so I pushed off along the footpath that seems to be the pedestrian diversion at the back of the Community Centre and headed back into town that way.

covidius horriblis place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall
The town centre is all decorated again, which is very nice to see.

As you might expect and as I have probably said before … “here and there” – ed … there’s no Carnaval this year. That’s hardly surprising given all of what’s going on. But it hasn’t stopped the Carnaval Committee doing their best to decorate the town to make up for it, and here’s a statue of Covidius Horriblis that might otherwise in a good year (does anyone remember those) have been mounted on a decorated lorry.

Of course, it’s a sad and sorry state of affairs but I’m convinced that we really need a lockdown much more severe than we have had to date in order to neutralise this virus. It’s no good just some people taking the utmost precautions if they are at risk of catching it from totally reckless people as soon as they go out

Talking of which, be prepared for a surge in cases being reported from here next week. The Government’s mobile testing unit is here on Saturday and everyone is invited. I’m not going though. I’m not mixing with a load of potentially ill people if I can possibly help it.

pointing rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn up the Rue des Juifs I went with my shopping, to inspect the work that’s been going on repairing the wall and repointing the wall at the Rampe du Monte a Regret.

And disappointing as it is to say it, they haven’t really made any progress at all since we last looked. The (lack of) speed at which workmen work these days is quite depressing. They should be doing much better than this.

It’s quite true that pointing (and roofing, because the roofers haven’t been on the roof of the College Malraux for the last couple of days) isn’t a job that you can do very well in a snowstorm, but it does beg the question “why on earth did they start the job in the middle of winter in the first place?”.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … up the Rue des Juifs, I noticed some movement in the inner harbour. One of the trawlers was setting out from her berth at the quayside.

The gates were closed and the lights were on red so I imagined that she was manoeuvring into position ready to leap out of the port like a ferret up a trouser leg as soon as the gates would open. But the tide was well out – no chance of them opening in the very near future.

What she did was to go off and tie up at the quayside behind the fish processing plant where someone was waiting with a van. She must be taking on supplies ready for her next trip out.

trans-shipping product rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the disadvantages of living in a medieval walled city is that the roads are narrow and the gateways aren’t very high at all.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen on several occasions all kinds of large vehicles parked up by the gate in the Rue St Jean while the driver has to offload his charge into a car and trailer or an electric wheelbarrow or something similar in order to pass underneath the gateway.

And here’s someone else having a similar issue with his delivery. But there was nothing around onto which he could offload and he actually carried his parcels through the gate and into the town.

Back here in the apartment the bread had risen to perfection in the time that I had been out, so I switched on the oven and bunged it in.

While it was cooking I made myself some hot chocolate and a slice of sourdough fruit-bread and then came in here where I rather unfortunately fell asleep for half an hour.

But later, having recovered my composure, I dismantled two of the laptops here that have failed hard drives. One of the little portable Acers – the one in which I upgraded the memory and the big one with 8GB of memory that gave up 3 days after the guarantee ran out and which prompted me to buy the big desktop machine.

Both the hard drives are easily accessible, which is good news and on browsing the internet I came across a couple of Samsung 1TB Solid-State Drives at just €89:00 each. They are now winging their way in this direction along with a new battery for the little Acer and also a new SATA caddy – you need an external caddy for this job because you have to download the BIOS programs from the machine’s manufacturers into the new disk to make it start to work.

Why I’m interested in doing this is because I’m trying to lighten the load of what I have to carry around with me. The little Acers are quite light and while this one is older than the one that I used from 2014 to 2019 and which handed in its hat in North Dakota, everything in it is accessible so I upgraded the memory in it quite significantly and so it was a quick little machine, even if it was only running Windows 7.

As for the big machine, that actually came with 8GB of memory so it was quite rapid. No point in it sitting around doing nothing when it can (hopefully) be fixed quickly, easily and cheaply.

home baked bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the bread was baked so I took it out of the oven.

It looked pretty good considering everything, and it tasted even better, and I know that because I had a slice for lunch with the remains of the bread from last time.

After lunch and having recovered from a post-prandial nap, I carried on with my Oradour notes and I’ve made my way all through the Court cases and onto the final paragraphs. So with a good couple of days on it, it should at long last be finished and I can crack on.

But it won’t be tomorrow morning though. I am required to do some work on a radio programme for someone.

trawlers english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe mustn’t forget the afternoon walk of course.

And we were in luck with the fishing vessels coming back towards port because I managed to take a snap of two of them out in the English Channel heading for home.

And later on as I walked around the headland there were half a dozen others hanging around outside the harbour entrance. The tide is still quite far out and there isn’t enough sea at the Fish Processing Plant for them to come in and unload. It can’t be long though because there wouldn’t be so many out there waiting for Godot when they could be spending the time out there increasing their catch.

snow lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut let’s turn our attention back to where we are at the moment, namely the north side of the headland.

This is pretty much in the shade here and so the sun, such as there is, hasn’t had an opportunity to do very much melting right now and so unless the weather warms up, that snow will be here for a little while.

Not many people out there today either and that’s not much of a surprise. I had on two pairs of trousers so my legs weren’t cold, but that’s about all that wasn’t. I shall be going to the Sports Shop on Saturday morning if I remember for a new woolly hat for my woolly head.

And also a decent pair of warm tactile gloves. My last pair are in the pocket of my blue Adventure Canada jacket, which is hanging up on a peg in a hotel room in Calgary.

lys noir chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing doing out on the Baie de Mont St Michel, I continued on around the other side of the headland to see what is going on in the chantier navale

And we seem to have had a tactical substitution here on one of the sets of blocks. The fishing vessel that was here for a while has now disappeared, presumably back into the water and has been replaced by Lys Noir, one of the charter yachts that plies for hire out of the port.

With no business right now (and now idea when business might restart) they would be quite right in using this dead period to overhaul the boat and make it ready just in case something positive might happen soon.

fixing street lights rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was enough for me. I decided to head on home before I froze to death. But not before I had a good look to see what they were doing down in the Rue des Juifs.

Earlier on in the day I’d noticed this cherry-picker out around the town with the guys doing some work. It looks as if they are checking the street lights to see which ones are out and to replace the dud light bulbs if necessary.

But that’s a pretty pointless exercise if you ask me because with no-one out and about at night, why do you need the street lights? And in any case, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I almost went base over apex in the dark on my way to the railway station because the street lights had been extinguished.

When I finished my notes on Oradour sur Glane I had my hour on the guitar and it was quite enjoyable. And I’ve noticed that my bass playing seems to have moved up to another level which has pleased me immensely. At one stage I was playing a lead guitar solo on the bass to Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane” and Tom Petty’s “Mary jane’s Last Dance”.

And my singing seems to be improving too – not actually singing in tune because that’s way beyond the realms of possibility but the fact that I can keep on singing while I’m playing more complicated stuff on the bass.

But at the moment, I’m going all of this on the Gibson EB3. I really ought to be playing it on the 5-string fretless that I bought for my birthday last year, but that’s a complicated machine and there are limits to what I can try to do at any one time.

Tea was a Madras Curry out of the freezer followed by rice pudding. And now I’m off to bed. Flat out tired, I am and that isn’t a surprise given everything that has happened today. And I made 100% of my target today according to the fitbit. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that, considering the lockdown.

No wonder I’m exhausted.

Saturday 5th December 2020 – I’M NOT …

… feeling myself today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 21st November 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change, I managed to beat the third alarm to my feet.

And not only is that a surprise in itself, it’s even more surprising when you consider that I didn’t go to bed until long after 01:30.

It goes without saying that I didn’t go anywhere during the night. There probably wasn’t enough time to do very much anyway so it was something of a restful sleep for what it was. And I do have to say that when the third alarm went off I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor, and that’s as good as it got for about half an hour.

This morning I finished going through my mailbox and a pile of stuff has bitten the dust – and quite right too. It’s down to a much-more manageable proportion now.

As well as that I was chatting to my friend with Covid (well, she doesn’t have it now of course) and doing some work on the arrears from my journey around Central Europe. And then, I … errr … fell asleep. And no surprise there after my early start.

After lunch I didn’t do the baking. After all if I’m baking tomorrow as well I may as well have a go at my cake then and use the oven for everything.

But there was football on quite early today too. Barry Town and Y Drenewydd played out an exciting, pulsating 0-0 draw. Yes, exciting, not like most 0-0 draws. The action flowed from one end to the other throughout, ably assisted by Cheryl Foster, the league’s female referee. We had several shots on goal, including one almighty whack from; Nat Jarvis that rattled the Newtown woodwork, but the defences were well on top in this game. Quite an enjoyable game all around.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was extremely late and going dark but nevertheless I went out for my afternoon walk.

Surprisingly there were a few people out there this afternoon and some of them were heading my way as I admired the lighthouse and the semaphore station out on the end of the Pointe du Roc. And of course, that would have to be my luck, wouldn’t it? Not many people around, but all of them right where I would ordinarily be running.

And so instead, dodging the dog, I had a sedate stroll up to the end of the track, across the car park and around the headland to see what was going on at the memorial to the lifeboatmen.

decorated seafarers monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day they sprinkled fresh gravel all around it to make it look pretty.

Today there seem to have been even more changes. The memorial has now grown a few huge bunches of flowers. It would be to commemorate something I imagine but what, I don’t know. I shall have to go tomorrow and check the dates of the sinkings that are recorded there.

What with nothing else whatever going on out there this afternoon, I headed for home and a hot coffee. And such are the way of things around here right now that I switched on the kettle, went for a gypsy’s and then headed for the office, completely forgetting to make the coffee.

Tea tonight was something of a fry-up of vegetables and vegetable balls, in the microwave fryer that Rachel gave me last year. It’s actually too big for the microwave but if I take out the round plate, put a support over the rotator and put the fryer on that so that it doesn’t turn round, it does actually fit.

It takes ages though, so there was plenty of time to make some cheese sauce too. And it was all followed down by the last of the apple crumble. Tomorrow I’m going to have yet another attempt at a fruit tart with agar-agar

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was the cue to go out for my evening runs. And it was just as well that I was all alone out there because for some reason I wasn’t on my best form and my running was rather bizarre.

Have I taken a photo of the Rue du Nord from this point before? I don’t think so, and so I’ll put that right. This is the resting point after the second leg of my runs, the first being right down at the end of that shot. There’s quite a steep bank behind me and I can’t run up there. It brings me to a shuddering halt.

From here I ran on down the path underneath the walls and all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch where we take our photos of the sea breaking onto the Plat Gousset.

place marechal foch Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was absolutely nothing of any excitement here either.

With nothing else to do, I took a photo of the end of the Place nearest the street and then headed for home, running across the Square Maurice Marland.

At one of the houses at the end I encountered a woman. She had let her dog out to take itself off for a walk but instead of coming back home it was simply sitting there by the side of the road and she was trying everything to make it move, but with no success.

After an exchange of pleasantries I continued my walk around the walls and then ran on the rest of the way home.

For a change I’m going to have an early night. And then a nice long lie-in to get myself together for what I have to do tomorrow – like bake a cake, bake a tart, start off the sourdough bread etc etc. And to book my voyage to Belgium, something that I forgot to do today. I really must organise myself.

Wednesday 17th October 2018 – JUST BY WAY …

… of a change, I had another good sleep last night.

Out like a light and asleep almost until the alarm went off. I probably beat it by about 10 seconds, I reckon.

And I’d been on my travels too – back on a ship somewhere but I’ve no idea where and I’ve no idea what I was doing either.

Even more surprisingly, I was out of bed quite rapidly too. Obviously the deep sleep had done me a power of good and I ought to do it more often.

After breakfast etc I had a few things to do and then I set about the photos from last night. There were more than I anticipated and it took a while to deal with them but they are now all on line and you can go to see them if you like.

I’ve been having a play with the ISO levels, with cropping and enlarging some of them and the results are … errr … interesting. In one photo, you can even see the street lights of St Helier – 54 kms away – taken through a 50mm lens and that is astonishing.

You can see them for yourself.

There were quite a few distractions too and I was surprised to see that I had arrived at 13:30 without having accomplished all that much.

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy franceLunch was on the wall with butties and book, but no lizards. I imagine that they have by now gone into hibernation.

But we still have the fishing boats coming in and coming out of the harbour. I’d missed two that were leaving simultaneously but I managed to be in time to catch this one on its way in.

And he was coming in at quite a rate too, as you can tell by his wake.

Coming back to the apartment Gribouille was waiting for me so I gave him a big stroke. His mummy was there too and she invited me to her birthday party which will be held in a couple of weeks time.

Up in the apartment I restarted my assault on the photos from Saturday and the Ile de Chausey. That took longer than it ought to have done too, mainly due to a variety of distractions, including but not limited to a little … errr … relax.

ile de chausey fishing granville manche normandy franceOf course we had the usual afernoon walk, during which my attention was caught by some activity going on at the foot of the cliffs.

Several boats were congregating down there and I’ve no idea what they might be doing. It’s highly unlikely that they are fishing but I can’t think of anything else.

And you can see the Iles de Chausey in the background.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceHaving a good view of the Ile de Chausey in the previous photo, I fitted the zoom telephoto lens to the camera to take a photo of it in the fine weather conditions.

And you can see the difference between the image produced by a lens with a focal length of 45mm in the first photograph and a lens with a focal length of 300mm in this photo – a 7 times magnification.

You can even identify the individual houses on the island, even though it’s about 17 kilometres away from where I’m standing.

lighthouse ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceAnd when you start to crop your original image and enlarge the selection, you can produce some even more dramatic results.

This is a crop from the main photo of the southern end of the island. You can see the lighthouse quite clearly as well as the houses that are scattered around that part of the island which we passed on our way in.

That’s not bad at all for 17 kilometres

ferry arriving at ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceAnd when you crop out an even smaller selection, enlarge it and digitally enhance it, you can produce shots that are even more dramatic.

This is a smaller selection cropped from the same photo, digitally enhanced to improve the contrast. And not only can you see the houses on the island, you can see the afternoon ferry pulling into the inner harbour of the island where we docked on Saturday.

You can see the sun reflecting off the white paint on the southern ends of the houses

lighthouse ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceThis is a selection cropped from another photo, showing the northern tip of the island and the lighthouse situated there.

And I do have to say that I have no idea what that is in the sea in the foreground of the image.

But all of this goes to show just what a good purchase this new zoom-telephoto lens is and I can have hours of endless fun with this.

Back in the apartment yet again and carrying on with the photos (and dozing off again here and there). But I kept on going and now there are another pile on line and you can see those here.

Tea was another home-made burger with baked potatoes and vegetables. But I didn’t manage my evening walk because just as I was finishing off the washing up, Rosemary rang up.

It’s been a good while since we last spoke so we had a great deal to discuss. But even so, a ‘phone call of 1 hour 42 minutes and 57 seconds is something of a new world record – and by some distance too.

So now it’s late and everything else will have to wait. I’m off for an early night again and quite right too. I can’t say that I’m sorry.

I’ll need to gather my strength and gird up my loins as it’s my day to go off to LIDL on foot tomorrow.

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france


north end ile de chausey semaphore granville manche normandy france
north end ile de chausey semaphore granville manche normandy france

north end of ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
north end of ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

boats around marker light granville manche normandy france
boats around marker light granville manche normandy france

Saturday 13th October 2018 – WE WENT …

… today to the Ile de Chausey, and if you want to see all of the photos that I took, you need to go to THIS LINK.

josee constant drinking coffee place d'armes granville manche normandy franceBut we started off as we meant to go on, by, just for a change, drinking coffee on the terrace.

Not exactly a terrace, but the footpath that goes along the walls at the end of the car park at the side of the building just here at the Place d’Armes.

It’s certainly a novel way to start off the day and I’ll have to do this more often.

yacht english channel granville manche normandy franceMeanwhile, while I was drinking my coffee I noticed some movement way out to sea in the English Channel.

With my new toy, more of which anon, I took a long-distance photo of it with the intention of cropping and enlarging it in due course.

And sure enough, once I’d done the necessary, I could see that there was a yacht out there next to the marker buoy

But to start with, we are running low on supplies and so our first port of call was the local market. Saturday morning is market day so we toddled off through the wind into town.

Josée bought me a book which was very nice of her. It’s all about making drinks from natural ingredients and I’m sure that once I have time to sit down and read it I’ll have endless hours of fun with it.

And then off to the covered market where we bought some lettuce, tomato, cucumber and the like. And on the way back we went past a place selling vegan biscuits. So a pack of those disappeared into the shopping bag too.

Back here, I had a very pleasant surprise.

Having been totally dismayed by the photos that I took in the High Arctic in Canada and Greenland just now, I’ve bitten the bullet and done what I should have done in the first place and ordered some new lenses for the big Nikon.

When we returned, two of the three had arrived.

There’s a 50mm f1.8 lens, auto-focus of course to replace the old manual focus lens that I had. That’s ideal for low-light work such as for indoor evenings, concerts and sporting events.

But also, in pride of place, a 70-300mm telephoto zoom lns, likewise auto-focus, to replace another elderly and creaking manual-focus telephoto zoom lens that’s been lying around here since the Dawn of Time.

So grabbing the telephoto zoom lens, that disappeared into the camera bag.

While we were making our butties, Liz and Terry turned up. They had decided to accompany us and so we all set out for the ferry terminal.

baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceThe sea was quite rough in view of all of the wind but I enjoyed the crossing and I was there playing about with the big new lens. And I do have to say that I’m very impressed, almost as much as with my galvanised steel dustbin.

It does everything that it’s supposed to do, and does it quite well too. Obviously it’s not in the same class as a lens that might cost 10 times the price of course, but it’s good enough for what I want. Have a look at this photo of Mont St Michel, about 15 miles away and judge for yourself.

village les blanvillaises ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceFirst thing that we did was to go and find somewhere to go and have our lunch.

A nice quiet beach seemed to be an ideal place to have our picnic, so we sat down, filled our faces and had a chat.

Although it was quite cool and windy, it was nevertheless very pleasant sitting out there on the sand with a pile of sandwiches.

village les blainvillaises granville manche normandy franceOnce we’d eaten, digested and rested we headed off into the hills, such as they are around here because the highest point on the island is only 31 metres high, to explore the island.

There are two villages here – one round by the landing stage and the other one where we are right now. This is called Les Blainvillaises, and receives its name from the fact that the houses were originally built by people from Blainville on the mainland who came here to explore the local marine resources.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceThere are also several other isolated houses, all looking as if they are made of local stone.

The island is well-known for the quality of the local stone and it has been used in the construction of many important buildings on the mainland in the area, including many of the buildings on Mont-St-Michel.

Many of the houses would be empty though at this time of year. There aren’t too many permanent residents, most of the houses here being holiday homes.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceIt’s a bit similar to the island of Agistri where I was in October 2013 in that there’s no source of water on the island and it all needs to be shipped in. So conservation of water resources here is quite important.

Naturally, I could solve the problem in a matter of days by installing a rainwater harvesting system there like I had back on my farm in the Auvergne, a system that served me well from the day I arrived until the day I left 9 years later.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceApart from the water issues, rubbish and litter are very tightly controlled.

There’s some kind of organisation called the Conservatoire de l’espace littoral et des rivages lacustres – “The Conservation of coastal and lakeside surroundings” – and its aim is to preserve and protect the coast and waterside of France.

It’s taken on the rôle of protecting the southern half of the island and its presence is everywhere, with rubbish bins and notices all over the place.

And quite right too because it’s an area well-worth protecting. There are thousands of tourists who come here every year and the place could quickly deteriorate into a rubbish dump if no-one took any interest in the island.

chateau renault ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceOn the subject of people taking an interest in the island and holiday homes and the like, this building is extremely interesting.

It was originally a fort built round about 1559 to defend the island but subsequently allowed to fall into ruin.

Its potential was however realised by the industrialist Louis Renault, the founder of the Renault car company.

chateau renault granville manche normandy franceHe began to restore the property in the 1920s and subsequently became became his summer residence. And this is how the property remains today, although of course Louis Renault has long-gone.

However his memory linger on on the island. Many people still regard him as one of the main benefactors of the island.

And so does his view, because this is the kind of view that would attract me to a property too. I could pass many a happy holiday here.

fish pool ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceThis construction on the edge of the beach right by the Chateau Renault caught my eye too.

I’m not sure what it is, but I reckon that it’s possibly a tidal swimming pool – one that would fill when the tide came in and would retain its water as the tide went out.

On the other hand it could be a tidal fish pool. These are well-known round here. The tide would fill the pond with water – and hopefully fish – at high tide, and then the owner of the pool could wade in after the tide went out to pull out all the fish.

And the drain at the bottom would lend support to that.

st helier channel islands granville manche normandy franceAlthough these islands here (because there are 365 here at low tide and 52 at high tide) are officially and geographically part of the Channel Islands, they are part of France.

We’re much closer to the Channel Islands than you might think – about 40 kms I reckon at a rough guess – and with the new telephoto zoom lens I could pick out quite easily the town of St Helier.

Although I wish that the weather would have been clearer so as to have given a better contrast.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceBut there is some kind of common history between all of the Channel Islands.

They were formerly the personal property of the Dukes of Normandy, hence when William the Conqueror invaded England and became king, he took his islands with him (if you know what I mean).

But his grandfather Richard II had in 1022 made a gift of the Ile de Chausey to the Abbey of Mont St Michel, hence the reason why these islands belong today to France.

cancale brittany franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a good while ago during a period of good light, I was able to photograph a church on the coast right across the bay in Brittany.

Today, with the new lens, I was able to take a photo of the same church from a viewpoint on the island, and was able to take a cross-bearing to verify the position.

And I can say that it is almost certainly the town of Cancale, where I stayed one night in April last year.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceWe continued with our tour of the island on foot (as if there was any other way to see the island except on foot), stopping to rest on several occasions to take photos or to admire the beautiful views.

And to enjoy the beautiful weather because considering that it’s the middle of October right now, the weather is really nice for the time of the year. Quite balmy.

And you’ll be surprised just how quickly 3.5 hours disappears when you are having fun and enjoying yourself.

fort plage du port-marie iles de chausey granville manche normandy franceWe’ve seen the old 16th-Century fort that is now incorporated into the Chateau Renault. But there’s also a more modern fort here.

Tensions in Europe were rising and falling during the 19th Century and at one particular moment during the middle of the century, relations between the United Kingdom and France were somewhat tense.

As a result, in the late 1850s a new fort was constructed here at the back of the Plage du Port-Marie on the orders of the Emperor Napoleon III to defend the island and the Baie de Mont St Michel from any incursions by the British.

The fort was completed in 1866 but never saw action, although it was used as a Prisoner-of-War camp in the First World War and was occupied by a German garrison in World War II.

granville manche normandy franceOn the way back, the sea wasn’t quite as rough as on the way out but it was still pleasant all the same.

I took a pile of photos in the fading light and they came out quite well with the new lens. Despite the fact that it’s not as good in low light as a more expensive lens, the results are perfectly satisfactory for what I was expecting.

I really began to regret the fact that I hadn’t gone out and bought this lens before I left for the Arctic

port de granville harbour manche normandy franceGetting back into port was quite the thing though.

We were late returning and that 15 minutes makes all of the difference. The tide was going out rapidly.

The boat had to inch its way in over the sandbar and I was convinced that we were grounding out the bottom of the boat here and there as we tried to get in.

On the way back to the apartment I had a chat with Liz and Terry about something that had been preying on my mind for a few weeks. After explaining the situation to them, their understanding was exactly the same as mine, and exactly the same as Alison’s, with whom I had discussed this a couple of weeks ago.

No-one seems to think that I misunderstood the situation, so that’s comforting to a certain degree. But even so, it doesn’t change the situation one jot because what I (and other people) think about it has nothing to do with the situation at all.

Josée went for a walk around the town in the evening because there was a football match on the internet that I wanted to see.

That might sound terribly chavinistic to some readers of this rubbish, but the bare facts of the story are that I’d done about 130% of my daily activity today, I’d already had a couple of little “health issues” while I’d been out, and I couldn’t go another step. “Feet up on the sofa” was what was called for from my point of view.

So in the Irn Bru Cup we had Connah’s Quay Nomads of the Welsh Premier League v Coleraine of Northern Ireland. Coleraine were by far the more skilful side when it came to moving the ball around but they had no real answer to the uncompromising defence of the Nomads. It seemed to me that the match would be decided from a set piece and so it was – the Nomads centre-half rising highest to a very long throw-in from the right wing.

As Coleraine pushed forward to find an equaliser they were leaving gaps all over the defence and the Nomads were very quick to exploit the breakaway. Twice they burst through the defence with just the keeper to beat, twice they were hauled down from behind with no attempt to reach the ball, and twice the referee reached into his pocket for a red card.

Down to 9 men, Coleraine made three substitutions to freshen up the team but the new players had no more luck. By now though they were becoming rather desperate and some of the tackles and … errr … incidents which they instigated have no place at all on a football pitch.

And towards the end of the game the Nomads brought on their star player, Michael Bakare, who had been rested, and he made the difference – brushing off a couple of weak, tired challenges to set up one of his team-mates for a second goal.

This was a good win for the Nomads – a dour, workmanlike struggle against a superior side and if they can play like that more often they could do much better in European competition than they have done up to now.

So now I’m off to bed. It’s going to be an early start tomorrow as Josée will be back on her travels to wherever her next stop might be.