Tag Archives: strider insurance

Monday 12th September 2022 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

boats lighthouse ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… day where I’ve done rather more than I would otherwise usually do.

So while you admire the small boats coming back from the north end of the Ile de Chausey. I can tell you that I was leaping out of bed with alacrity this morning at 06:00 this morning as soon as the alarm went off.

And that’s not quite like me these days, is it? But there it was, and here I am.

After the medication this morning, I came back in here to check the mails and messages from over the weekend. And to my surprise, there weren’t all that many. I don’t think that anyone loves me any more.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while Belle france sits quietly in the silt over at the ferry terminal, I’m busy making a start on the radio programme that I’ll be preparing for this week.

This morning it was ready, up and running at 11:10 this morning. And it would have been done much quicker had I not had so much editing to do.

The fact is that this is something special. I’ve had something quite remarkable fall into my possession. A rock group from upstate New York were in the throes of recording an album back in 1971 when they split up. The recoding was never finished and the tapes were lost.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … some kind of copy of the tape has come into my possession.

It seems to me that when this programme hits the airwaves in a few months, it will be the first time ever that a track from this group has been broadcast. And I can’t simply dismiss that in 800 characters.

Furthermore something else has come into my hands where the drummer was the guy who stood in for Keith Moon during a recording session of a Who album. and that’s not something to gloss over lightly either.

While I was listening to it and to the one that I’m sending off for broadcast this week, I was sorting out a few things around here and dealing with a few photos

After the lunchtime fruit I had to organise the payment of my Canadian motor insurance. Although I haven’t driven Strider since 2019 I have to keep the insurance going. It’s no longer possible for foreigners to have an insurance with a non-Canadian or non-USA driving licence but I’m a “legacy” case so I can keep mine up. But if I let it lapse then I’m snookered too.

It’s quite complicated to do it but it has to be done. Mind you, it’s not so complicated as actually having to drive down to the insurance company in Saint John’s to renew it.

It led to quite a chat with my niece as well. We haven’t really spoken for a while so there was a lot to say.

Having done that, I had other things to do. There’s something happening around here at the weekend and if I play my cards correctly I could become involved in it.

It will involve a lot of work and preparation so having sent out an enquiry (to which I have yet to receive a reply) I made a start on organising myself, just in case.

caravanettes mobile homes place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022This took me up to the time that I would usually go out for my afternoon walk.

And I didn’t go far at all before I came to a grinding halt. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that back in the summer I mentioned that once the holidaymakers go back, we’ll be swamped with the old retirees in their mobile homes and caravanettes.

By the looks of things, I’m not wrong either. But then again I knew that. It ws pretty-much odds-on.

That isn’t even a parking spot for mobile homes. There’s a sign to say that they are prohibited. There is a camping ground about 200 metres down the road but it’s probably full right now.

The purpose of the car park is primarily for parking for the locals who live in the walled town where parking is almost impossible. But let’s not go letting rules, regulations and the rights of the local residents stand in the way of a selfish tourist.

So having had my daily moan quite early, I headed off as usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening there.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And sure enough, there were crowds of people down there today. It really was a nice day so it’s not a surprise.

You can’t see too many people in this photo because the tide is quite a way out so there was plenty of beach on which they could spread themselves about.

No-one quite brave enough to take to the waters though. I suppose that the temperature of the sea is dropping now after the bad weather that we had last week and that’ll keep anyone out of the water.

Having seen the beach and the people thereupon, I had a look around out at sea to see what was going on there.

trafalgar baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022You’ve seen what was going on right out by the Ile de Chausey but I was also interested in a trawler that I could see out at the entrance to the Baie de Mont St Michel.

At this kind of distance it’s not possible to identify it with any certainly but it’s white with a blue stripe or two and edged in pink. Those are the colours of Trafalgar, as we saw when she was in the chantier naval just now.

This is another unusual place in which to find a trawler but as we have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … since the disruption to the usual fishing arrangements here in the bay we’ve seen the trawler owners trying out all kinds of unusual and different fishing grounds

peche à pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Fighting my way through the crowds I ended up down at the end of the headland.

One thing that I noticed this afternoon was the crowds of people out there at the pèche-à-pied with the tide being so far out right now. This person here was one of several dozens scratching around on the rocks.

And I know the secret of the pèche-à-pied. There’s what they call a “tidal coefficient” – a number that indicates the difference between the high tides and the low tides. The higher the number, the greater the difference between the tides.

And when it’s greater than 100, that’s when the pèche-à-pied is authorised. Today, it’s 101.5

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And as for whatever was going on out at sea or on the rocks, thee was quite a crowd of people down there watching it.

There were dozens of people milling around down at the end of the headland and on the lower path. Some of those gravitated down to the bench by the cabanon vauban where they could relax and admire the view. They were actually looking quite romantic down there.

A couple of others were standing there presumably awaiting their turn to take a seat. But today, there was no-one hiding in the bushes or sunbathing over the edge as we saw the other day.

From here I set off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

F-GBAI Robin DR 400-140B baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And just then I was overflown by a light aeroplane on its way north.

It was too far out to identify it but back here I was able to enlarge and enhance the photo. It’s actually an old friend of ours, F-GBAI.

She’s a Robin DR 400-140B that belongs to the local aero club. She appeared on the radar at 16:08 flying out to the Ile de Chausey and having done a lap around, went down to the Mont St Michel and back up again where she disappeared off the radar in the vicinity of the airfield.

My photo was taken at 16:12 (adjusted) so this flight plan doesn’t really correspond with my photo. Usually we coincide pretty much.

le poulbot pescadore peccavi briscard chant des sirenes massabielle le styx chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And while there is no change to day in occupancy of the chantier naval, there looks as if there is something about to happen.

The portable boat lift has left its usual parking place over the drop into the water and is now hovering around over the top of Peccavi. It looks as if she’s about to go back into the water as soon as the tide comes in.

Over at the ferry terminal, Belle France was quietly sleeping in the silt, as you saw a little earlier. She’s presumably waiting for the tide to come in when she can go back out to rescue the day trippers who might be stranded over there right now.

cranes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of months ago they refurbished the crane that lives over on the far side of the harbour.

Right now though they have brought the crane over into the loading bay and the other one has now been pushed over into the back corner.

This could mean one of two things – either they are going to refurbish the other one or else they are going to withdraw it and replace it with one that will handle the freight that the owners of Southern Liner want to transport.

This is something else on which I will have to keep my eye in the future.

Back here I had a nice cold drink and then had a listen to the dictaphone to see what I’d been up to during the night. We had another dream about cars last night. I can’t remember how it started but I remember leaving work and walking outside. My car was the VANDEN PLAS 1300. I went to go into it ans switched on the radio to say that I was going home. There was no tax on it and no MoT on it, one of the many vehicles that I had with no tax and MoT (this is becoming a regular theme, isn’t it?). I remember being annoyed because I never seemed to have the time where I could take one of my vehicles, go right underneath it and do what needed doing and then have it taxed and MoTed. I wondered how long I could go before I was going to be caught. I ended up going back down Gresty Road. This time I was on an electric scooter. I reached the end and turned left. For some reason I had a premonition that something was going to pull out in front of me at Edleston Road top and hit me, or I’d hit it. The police would come along and that’s when I would find out all about having not tax and no MoT.
For the benefit of non-British readers, of whom there are more than just a few, every vehicle on UK roads needs an insurance certificate. It it’s over 3 years old and not a collector’s vehicle it needs a Ministry of Transport safety check every year and on passing the test it’s issued with a Ministry of Transport (MoT) Safety Certificate. Armed with current Insurance and MoT Certificates you can then go to the Post Office and on production of those valid documents you can buy a Road Tax certificate to display in your windscreen. That’s how it used to be anyway when I remember it. It’s all automated these days and done on line.

This was another car dream similar to the first one. I left home and there was no real car for me so I got into a Berkeley 2-wheeler type of thing, again with no insurance, tax or MoT and wishing that we had the time to look at one of my vehicles and have it registered properly. But this is always the thing when you’re spending all this time looking after these kids that you never have time to do anything of your own and everything else falls obviously into arrears.

This story came up with one of my Germany friends about a guy who had joined out chat room group but had been ejected. He said that he had been grouped with 2 particular people. That meant that it was they who had something to do with his ejection but she couldn’t understand why. I replied “no, that’s not correct. he was grouped with me and of course I’m a Moderator. I was the one who ejected him”. She wanted to know why and I replied that it was because of his posts. She said that surely his posts about cups of tea and things weren’t offensive. I replied that that wasn’t what he was writing at all. She was then wondering whether or not we were talking about the same person. I knew exactly whom I was talking about and presumably so did she but she was wondering whether we were talking about the same one

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper and it was really nice too. I think that I have this off to a … errr … tea now. Plenty of stuffing left so it’s a taco roll tomorrow. That’ll be quite powerful, having marinaded in the spicy sauce for 24 hours.

Tomorrow our Welsh class is starting again so I need to be on form. That calls for an early night and a good sleep. So what’s the betting that something will come along to interrupt me?

Thursday 9th September 2021 – HAVE A LOOK …

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… at this photo of Le Loup, the marker light at the entrance to the port here.

And then, have a look at THIS ONE that I took two days ago when I was out on my rounds.

Can you see the difference? It’s pretty impressive, isn’t it? Not for nothing do I say that right outside my front door are some of the highest tides in Europe –
“Here’s €5:00”
“Right outside my front door are some of the highest tides in Europe”.

It’s no surprise that we can have ships the size of the gravel boats coming into the harbour when they did, with that depth of water underneath them.

photo in doctors surgery Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And here’s another photo – one that has an interesting story behind it.

My social networking site is pretty much flooded with adverts these day – as if the owners don’t already have enough money. I only have to mention something, no matter how indirectly, and I’m immediately swamped with adverts about it.

Photography is one of the things that features quite a lot on my pages and so I’m swamped with photography adverts. One of them that features more than most is an advert for a piece of post-processing software, and I was convinced that I’d previously seen the photograph somewhere else.

Sure enough, there stuck up on the wall at the doctor’s surgery is exactly the same photo, only with text and graphics added. I was planning on doing a screenshot of the advert so that you could compare the two, but of course, today is the first day for about a Century when it hasn’t appeared.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself once more. Let’s start at the very beginning.

When the alarm went off, I fell out of bed again and staggered into the kitchen. Although the night hadn’t been all that late, it certainly felt like it.

Back in here after the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d caught Covid last night, and so had a few people. I was somewhere in Stoke on Trent and somehow it had come amongst us. I wasn’t feeling particularly too bad so I was still working. A former friend of mine who features occasionally in some of my voyages featured in this one too and he was talking about getting a shop somewhere on one of these shopping estates on a council estate somewhere where they did wi-fi and something like that that he could do. He had spoken to a couple of people about doing different things with it but it was never going to be serious. He was wondering about what phones you sold, who you sell them to and what programs you put on them, all that kind of thing. It carried on from there but I awoke in a sweat and half the stuff that I had dreamt had disappeared.

Somewhere along the line I was on a bus trip with a group of young guys. I don’t remember very much about this at all.

Later on it was another one of these “I was leaving work” dreams. I’d had a pile of boxes delivered to me. My brother was there. He said “at least this one here we ought to be dealing with before I left. So we opened it and there were tins of food in to, small fish like anchovies and a few tins of picked onions, olives and whatever. I asked him to open the tins and we’ll set them out to make some kind of buffet. Every time ha opened a tin we has helping himself to some stuff so I smacked him on the hand and took the tins away from him and had a word with him about it. A couple of minutes later some army colonel or someone came past. He started to take a lump of pie crust so I slapped him on the hand and said something about people pinching all of this food before we’ve even set it out so he went to take an olive so I gave him a resounding smack across the hand even though he was a colonel. This smack echoed around just about everywhere it was so hard.

But as I mentioned the other day, I’m having a lot of night sweats just recently. It’s something about which they always ask me at the hospital and I keep a kind-of informal note to remind myself for when they ask.

There was also time to wade into the pile of arrears and now there are only two left. That’s tomorrow morning’s task, I reckon, in between making the bread for lunch as I have now run out.

joly france belle france fishing boat ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When it was time, I headed off out to the doctor’s for my appointment.

Of course, I took the camera with me, which was just as well because over at the ferry terminal this morning we have a “full house” of Ile de Chausey ferries.

From left to right, we have the newer of the two Joly France boats, in the centre is the brand-new Belle France and to the right, we have the older Joly France boat. You can tell the difference between them when they are together like this.

It looks as if they are going to be having a very busy day if they are all over there like that.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And it looks as if we have a full house too!

Here in the inner harbour tied up to the harbour pontoon is the little Ile de Chausey freighter Chausiaise. It seems that whatever plans that they have for today, the plans don’t include her.

My plans though are to go down to the doctor’s for my appointment. Whose silly idea was it foe me to have a doctor’s appointment for 08:30?

At the doctor’s I saw the photo that I mentioned earlier, and we had quite a lengthy chat about things.

He thinks that I have a heart issue, which accords with what the hospital has told me. But while the hospital is content to sit back and let things develop, he’s going to try to fit me in with a heart specialist as soon as he can.

He is also interested in my lungs too, and reckons that I ought to go for a pulmonary X-ray. He’s given me a prescription.

And then there’s a full and complete blood test (which should be interesting as the laboratory here always seems to come up with figures different to those of Leuven). The nurse is coming to do that tomorrow morning early.

The bad news though is that despite everything, he’s told me that this illness has some kind of cumulative effect. So once I start to struggle, the more tired I become and it makes me struggle to keep going so that wears me out even more and it’s a downward-spiralling effect.

This illness was diagnosed in November 2015 although I reckon that I had it for a while before then. People have died of this illness long before 6 or so years of suffering, so I suppose that I’m well ahead of the game. I’m just going to do my best to get further ahead.

It reminds me about the German Emperor, was it one of the Frederick Williams, who was complaining to his doctor about the treatment he was receiving.
“I can’t make you any younger” said the doctor.
“I don’t want you to” replied the Emperor, “as long as you succeed in making me older”.

Down at the chemist’s, I was staggered by the price of the injections. The next four cost e210:00 in total.

And we hit an unexpected snag too. This is a “special request” medication that can’t be prescribed by a GP – only by a specialist. I need my prescription from the hospital, which I didn’t have with me. And as it’s a foreign hospital in a foreign language, it wouldn’t be acceptable.

However, there is always a work-around. I’m a private patient with a private health insurance from my former employers, not from the State, so it doesn’t go through the State system. My prescription from the hospital will do and she’ll let the supplier worry about it.

On the way back home I bumped into a neighbour so we had a chat and then I came home for my coffee. I needed it.

Back here I set to work on the radio programme that I’m planning for the end of the year. Much as it is regrettable, I don’t want to do the interviews myself because it’ll end up as being perceived as “whining Brits” and that’s exactly what I want to avoid.

Someone else who works at the radio is quite amenable and I get on well with him so we had an internet chat throughout the morning about my plans and eventually we arranged to meet on Sunday afternoon.

What was this about “never working on a Sunday?”.

But to be serious, I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday and if I don’t set things in motion before I go, I’m going to be missing out on a whole week and maybe more, and I don’t have the time to waste.

While I was at it, I paid the motor insurance on Strider. I went a whole year last year without even seeing him, never mind driving him, because I couldn’t get to Canada. It’s probably going to be the same this year too but it can’t be helped.

After all that, I crashed out in my chair until lunchtime. It’s just amazing how tired you can become.

After lunch I had another go at some of the arrears and a journal entry from last week that was left unfinished is now on line. Not only that, I’m well on the way to catching up with another one too. I suppose that I’ll be up-to-date just in time to go off to Leuven and create yet more arrears.

Just wait until I have to add back about three weeks’ worth of nocturnal voyages.

chantier naval port de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021by now it was time for me to head off to the chemists to pick up my injections, taking the original prescription with me.

It struck me as I was going around the corner that we haven’t had a view of the chantier naval from this viewpoint for quite a while so seeing as I had the big NIKON D500 with me, I put that right.

Still the same seven boats in there from yesterday. There’s no change. Still, you can’t win a coconut every time, can you? Anyway, there’s no room now to fit in anyone extra.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour, I noticed that there’s more activity going on there.

Having seen Thora in port yesterday and take away all of the freight, they are busy now piling up some more. Maybe this means that Normandy Trader will be coming in very soon to take it all away.

Meanwhile, down at the berth usually occupied by Marité, there’s no activity there at all because she’s no longer there. Put to sea as soon as the gates opened earlier, I reckon.

She’s still finding things to do even though the tourists have gone home and people are at work or at school.

Down at the chemist’s they had my products so I picked them up and hurried back here to put them in the fridge. However I bumped into yet another neighbour and I had to spend a couple of minutes being sociable regardless.

trawler baie de mont st michel cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way up the hill in the Rue des Juifs I stopped at the viewpoint to have a little rest and look out at the sea.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a trawler operating deep in the Baie de Mont St Michel. Today, there’s another one working there, but lower down the bay nearer to the sea.

You can see the town of Cancale in the background. It’s looking quite nice this afternoon in the sun, although nowhere near as splendid as it did that morning a few weeks ago when it was all lit up by the sun.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Seeing as I’m out and it’s the right time of the afternoon, I went to have a look at the beach.

The tide is well out by now but there aren’t all that many people down there. I suppose that most people with any time to spare have gone off for a lap around the bay on board Marité.

So I came back inside, put my injections into the fridge and made myself a banana smoothie. Then I came back in here to carry on with the work that I’d been doing before I went out.

Tea tonight was a chick-pea and potato curry with rice. It was quite nice too, although not very spicy. I could have done with some more to liven it up a little.

Now that I’ve finished, I’m off for an early night. I have the nurse coming for my blood test, I have bread to bake, and then in the afternoon I have the physiotherapist.

But I’m impressed that my doctor is taking such an interest in me.

Tuesday 8th September 2020 – THIS EVENING …

… I have seen something that has caused me a great deal of disquiet.

There was an ambulance and police car in the rue Cambernon here and about half a dozen people, ambulancemen and police, were struggling with a hysterical adolescent girl to put her into the ambulance.

There was no clue as to what had caused the incident, but her hysteria was way beyond the norm and quite suggestive of some kind of stupefiant-ignited issue although of course from the distance at which I was observing the affair and the fact that it was in the dark, there was nothing other than the audible indication to promote this idea.

But whatever it was, my hat goes off to the police and ambulancemen. It was a very stressful event, quite a battle to put her inside and strap her in, and they showed far more patience and discipline than I ever would have done.

It goes without saying that it’s not the kind of incident that one photographs, but it’s still bad news when the affairs of the banlieux of Paris come to, quite literally, our own doorstep.

As for me, much to my and everyone else’s surprise, I was out of bed before the third alarm went off. At least – I was sitting on the edge of the bed trying to summon up the courage to take some kind of drastic action, like moving.

Once I’d gathered my wits, I had a listen to the dictaphone.

I was on a galleon last night, one of these Spanish galleon things with crowds of people on it, a big tourist attraction. I was there with a certaib lady of my acquaintance. Something happened, me being careless I think, and she ended up with a sea-full of face – or, more likely, a face full of sea. I said that I was sorry but she started to whine on and on and on in this silly voice that she had, mimicking what I was saying so on that point I’d had enough so I just turned round and walked away. She changed her tune afterwards, apologised and asked me to come back but I’d really had enough so I just walked off. There was someone climbing up a ladder into the rigging of this ship. He was carrying a tray with about 10 different drinks on it. I thought that that was adventurous. I wouldn’t even do that with two. I was wandering around this ship, trying to find my way around and try my best to totally ignore her while she was still having one of these tantrum display things. There were some people sitting down – I was wondering whether to go to sit with them but I thought “no. I really want to be somewhere quite a way from this end of the ship somewhere on my own”.
Somewhat later we were having a look at some photos last night about all of the abandoned properties around Crewe and Nantwich, places like the old Co-op brewery and so on, a lot of them with photos of abandoned cars on them. There were several in Nantwich, three of them being churches close together in Hospital Street and their congregations transferred to the main parish church there. These churches, one of which was called St Werburgh’s, were all very eerie but very magnificent, Victorian Gothic-type but in terrible states of disrepair and decay. Even though I don’t remember them as a kid (because they weren’t there) we were having a good prowl around these places last night in this dream. It was really quite interesting. On one occasion we ended up being at a church service. They came along and asked for a collection. The girl I was with said she didn’t have anything and I just had a few copper coins that I gave them. later, we were on a railway station watching the trains come in. We moved away but a train had pulled in so I prepared my camera to take a photo. As it pulled out another one, a magnificent really big powerful locomotive pulled out of this station hauling an express train so I went to take a photo of them with the NIKON 1 J5 as it pulled out of the station but it wouldn’t work at first. I had to press the shutter a couple of times for it to work. While I was doing this there was some woman standing nearby. She was excited because she could see the main railway station from here. I thought that she meant the one at Manchester which was quite some way away and you can’t see with the naked eye, but bathed in fog anyway. But she said “no, it’s Denton station! Look over there! So I looked over there but I couldn’t see it at all with my naked eye.

Having dealt with all of that, I finally got round to having a look at Sunday’s effort. And after a good deal of listening, of thought and of transcription I managed to sort something out and you can READ IT HERE.

Surprisingly, even though I had the strongest impression that Pollux was one of the people with me, there was no mention whatever of her name at all, so I’ve no idea where this impression comes from. Mind you, there are several minutes missing here and there, either because

  1. I didn’t dictate it (there seems to be a hole in the middle of the story somehow).
  2. I didn’t transcribe it because I couldn’t decipher it (there was some of that too)
  3. I didn’t type it out because there was a significant part of the voyage that would put you off your tea. And there seems to have been quite a bit of that just recently. I’ve been having some really disturbed – and disturbing – nights just recently.

As I was finishing everything, which had taken me long enough, someone with whom I wanted a chat appeared on the internet. We ended up having a lengthy chat and that was, basically, the morning finished.

After lunch I set about the radio programme. All of the tracks have been paired and combined and the text is written. Not dictated though because I ran out of time.

There had been a few interruptions during the afternoon.

speedboat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallFirst of all, there was the afternoon walk in the beautiful pleasant if not slightly windy afternoon.

There wasn’t all that much activity out there at sea this afternoon. Whatever that big ship was yesterday, that’s cleared off and there was only a speeedboat roaring past out at sea.

They are clearly going far too fast for fishing and I can’t think of any other good reason why they would be out there this afternoon. It’s not as if there’s anywhere to go in that direction.

tractors beach breville sur mer granville manche normandy france eric hallIn theory I suppose that they might be heading towards shore because there is something exciting going on over there on the beach by the looks of things.

We saw the other day that the bouchot harvesters were out there on the mussels beds at Donville-les-Bains. Over there on the beach bear Breville-sur-Mer they seem to be gathering again.

They are quite possibly waiting for the tide to go out so that they can access the mussels beds over there too. I doubt that the cabin cruiser there has any involvement in the activity.

fishing pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThey are probably local fishermen, because there have been quite a few of those out there over the last week or 10 days. There are plenty of mooring buoys and pot markers out there right now.

And plenty of other fishermen too. While I was walking along the path on the north side of the promontory a boat came around the headland. They are clearly intent on fishing as they have rods and fishing nets clearly on display.

It beats me why, because I have yet to see anyone out there ever catch anything.

painting trawler chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy route arounf the headland took me past the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale.

And there was plenty of activity in there once again. The usual seven boats of course – nothing has changed that much. But the fishing boat from which they had been stripping the paint the other day, that’s now in the process of being resprayed.

Give it a week or two and we may well find that boat back in the water. And one or two others because there was a considerable amount of work being carried on on the other boats too.

Back here, another interruption was to deal with the question of Strider’s insurance. That expires in a few days and needs to be paid, even though I won’t probably have the pleasure of going over to Canada to drive him this year.

So this involved several e-mails, a ‘phone call to Canada, a complicated series of transactions with the bank and then a discussion on the internet with Rachel.

That took much longer than I expected and meant that my third interruption, my session on the guitar, was somewhat curtailed.

Tea was my burger on a bap with potatoes and vegetables, followed by a slice of my delicious apple pie and soya dessert.

yacht sunset english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen I went out for my evening walk it wasn’t quite dark outside.

In the distance out in the English Channel there was a yacht looking as if it was heading towards port. Of course it was far too far out for me to be able to identify it.

There were also plenty of other lights out to sea on the horizon. It wasn’t possible to say anything whatever about those.

Instead, I carried on and ran all the way along the footpath underneath the medieval walls. And, having recvered my breath again I ran across the Square Maurice Marland

trawler docking in port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallDuring my walk across the Place Cambernon I observed the incident that I related earlier and by the time that I moved on, it was now quite dark.

We’ve seen a couple of fishing boats here and there just recently – not as many as we saw three or four months ago. However there was one coming into port and performing a U-turn to tie up alongside the fish processing plant, presumably to unload its catch.

From there I walked down to the road and then ran all the way home to write up my notes.

And having done that, I’m now ready for bed. A nice early night, finish off the radio programme (which might take all day) and then do some tidying up

There is still plenty of work to be done and I’m not really catching up with very much at all. That needs to be changed, and rapidly too.

Tuesday 10th September 2019 – IT MIGHT BE …

… only 20:00 right now, but what I don’t understand is that I’m absolutely whacked and I’m going to bed in a moment.

In fact I’ve been fighting off the Sandman (and not always successfully either) since about 15:00.

It’s not as if I have done anything exerting either. I had a reasonable (for me, anyway) night’s sleep with an awakening round about 03:00 as seems to be usual.

Not sure where I was during the night (I’ll find out when I listen to the dictaphone) but Nerina was in there somewhere, presumably come to keep an eye on me. She used to have that rather bizarre knack of turning up just when she was needed or when it was most useful, and I was convinced that she was much more in touch with her spirit side than she ever let on.

Ghost hunting (in the days when I lived with a ghost), water divining, she was quite good at all of that and much much more. In fact it wasn’t until I started to meet other women after we moved off down our separate roads that I realised how lucky I had been for nearly 9 years. I just wish that we had learnt to talk to each other.

But back on the subject of dreams and changing planes, I remembered that on several occasions on board I had dreamt that I had dictated my dream into the dictaphone, only to find that I had dreamt it and not done it.

So that’s at least a climb up onto the third plane, so I am moving about quite dramatically.

This morning, I didn’t have to do the school run. Instead Darren came to fetch me and we went back down to Woodstock to pick up the springs that we took down yesterday. With a hydraulic press the size that they have, it didn’t take them long at all to push put the seized bolts and bushes. And so successful were they that two of the bolts were reuseable – although we aren’t that desperate.

Back at the house I made my lunch and then went on down to the depot. We were really busy today and most people were pleased to see me.

Zoe took the afternoon off so I quickly went into Florenceville. The insurance on Strider is due for renewal and needs paying, and because I’m a non-resident with a foreign driving licence they punish me severely. Nevertheless, it’s still cheaper than hiring a vehicle and there’s no-one complaining about where I go and what to do. And a 4×4 high ground clearance vehicle is important in many places in which I travel.

Thanks to Scotia Bank for helping me with the e-transfer

At the depot this afternoon I was doing a bit of everything. But I did recall a sign that I once saw in a garage in the USA –
Talking to the customer – 5 mins
Looking at the job – 5 mins
Fixing the job – 5 mins
Testing the job – 5 mins
Looking for the tools that we had in our hand 5 minutes ago – 40 mins.

That was me this afternoon. Changing a fuse in a radio connection is a 30-second job, but not when you then spend 25 minutes looking for the top of the fuse holder that you just had in your hand.

The accounts balanced at the first attempt so Rachel and I were leaving at 17:20, and collided straight away with someone who wanted to know if we had any scrap tyres.
“Just one or two” we said, waving our arms about in the general direction of the large scrap pile.
He’s coming back tomorrow to take some away.

This evening I was alone for ages so I had some of the left-over chick pea curry with rice. Everyone came back all at once so I retired to my room in peace and quiet, and here I’m going to stay.

I need an early night today too. Apart from the fact that I’m whacked, Darren is on his own in the garage tomorrow so I’m expecting to be rather busy fetching and carrying, and lifting heavy objects.

Still, it could be worse. I could be on holiday.

Tuesday 29th August 2017 – AND SO …

… having had a reasonable night’s sleep last night, it took the alarm to summon me out of my stinking pit this morning.

But I’d been on my travels last night too. There had been a court case and this big gorilla of a man had been found guilty of several violent offences and sent to gaol. He was accompanied from the van by a policeman and a policewoman, neither of whom could be called “powerful” by any means and the inevitable happened – that he broke away from them. We then had this stand-off in that he couldn’t run away but they couldn’t lay hold on him and they were dancing around this car park for quite a while.
A little later I was in my house and I had visitors. Someone knocked something through the window (we were only 6 floors up) and I asked what it was. “A stuffed toy thing” was the answer. When I went down to let them out I picked up the stuffed toy – a stuffed cat as it happens – and began to stroke it, and it transformed into a real kitten. I went for a walk around the town, which was similar to the “old town” of Granville, all the time stroking this animal that I had against my shoulder. Under the archway where people were passing, they suddenly closed it off and a group of schoolchildren led by a teacher came there. He was giving them a talk about the history of the place but they were all distracted by me and my cat.

bay of fundy saint john new brunswick canada aout august 2017As it grew light, I nipped out to Strider to pick up some stuff and there dieseling down the Bay of Fundy in the distance was a nice big ship.

Saint John is quite an important port, not just for bulk carriers and containers, but also for oil tankers due to the presence of the huge Irvings oil refinery on the edge of town.

I was quite optimistic that we might have a good ship-spotting morning here today as I went on my errands.

And I wasn’t wrong either.

msc kim bay of fundy saint john new brunswick canada aout august 2017Heading into town and down the big bank, I noticed a huge MSC container ship in the harbour.

This is the MSC Kim, all 41,000 tonnes of her. Built in 2008, she’s 265 metres long and 32 metres wide. She’s come in from a tour around the Gulf of Mexico, last stop being New York.

Her claim to fame is that when she was unloading in Antwerp a couple of years ago after a trip from Ecuador, Belgian police discovered almost half a tonne of cocaine in her cargo.

bay of fundy london bus double deck saint john new brunswick canada aout august 2017But this was far from being the only excitement here on the docks.

While the Silly Brits are busy selling off their heritage in order to raise cash to pay off the massive debt that the country has, other countries are happily snapping up the bargains.

Here on the quayside recently unloaded is a fleet of AEC double-deck buses to add to the ones that we have seen parading around the streets of Montreal.

Won’t be long before the Brits have nothing left to sell, and then the fun will begin.

bay of fundy railway locomotives saint john new brunswick canada aout august 2017And that’s not all either.

The way that the Canadian government works, railways are a thing of the past in the country. Seeing a Canadian train is a rare event.

And so no-one was happier than I was to catch a train of three locomotives, two power cars and a partridge in a pear tree go clanking through the port pulling a load of oil tankers

From there, I went off to pay the insurance for Strider. And here we had some bad news – and some worse news.

It seems that I’m not entitled to a No-Claims Discount, having a foreign driving licence. That’s pretty miserable.

And secondly, there has been a substantial (and I do mean substantial) hike in insurance premiums over the last 12 months.

I bought Strider because it worked out cheaper than hiring a car for two months – and it still is, but the gap is narrowing rapidly again. I need to think of another plan.

Licking my wounds I went off to Service New Brunswick to join the massive queue for the new licence tags. Luckily they haven’t increased in price – that’s the only consolation that I can offer.

The insurance company offices are close to the Irvings refinery and I’d seen a tanker unloading there.

palanca luanda bay of fundy saint john new brunswick canada aout august 2017And so off i trotted to find a suitable vantage point to take a pic of her.

She’s the Palanca Luanda from the Marshall Islands where they have more ships than people (due to the 3% Corporation Tax rate). 11,000 tonnes and built as recently as 2012.

She’s come in from a trip down to Baltimore and Wilmington.

Having had a dismal morning I wandered off.

I stopped for lunch at a petrol station on the way to Moncton. In the gorgeous sunshine and warm weather I had a little snooze too, and then fuelled up.

Strider’s fuel consumption has improved a little, which is good news, but only to be expected after he’s had his overdrive fixed, but not enough for me to ever recover the money that it cost me.

But then, off to Moncton.

Missing my turning into the Value Village car park so turning round in the Costco car park up the hill and not being able to find the (only) exit, which then decanted me back the wrong way and I had to turn round again.

But at least I had some luck. A tin opener, a knife, fork and spoon, a proper pyrex microwave bowl and a couple of books.

But nothing at the Salvation Army shop, nothing at Home Depot and I didn’t even bother with Princess Autos.

bay of fundy memramcook new brunswick canada aout august 2017I was back on the road – the old road out of town across the Tantramar Marshes.

On the outskirts of Memramcook I found this beautiful girder road bridge, so I stopped for a photograph.

There’s a vestige of the extant Canadian railway network behind it too – the line from Halifax to Montreal which runs passenger trains a couple of times per week.

And here we have a calamity.

The motel where I had chosen to stop – it’s now private flats and apartments. Two others were closed down, one in Sackville wanted me to buy the building, not stay for the night (I didn’t pay that much in Labrador!).

So I moved on to Amherst.

The cheapest place was fully-booked, and the only rooms on the town were, well, even worse than in Sackville.

But then this is what I have a mobile internet connection for.

A room was available at a slightly less ridiculous price at Pictou – only 90 minutesdrive down the Trans-Canada Highway. But at least it’s in the right direction so equipping the ship for silent running, off I set.

90 minutes later, I was there or thereabouts. But the motel wasn’t where the satnav said that it was. And so I spent another half an hour doing some detective work and I eventually arrived there, beaten, bedraggled and bewildered.

And I know now why the room was free. A genuine 1950s design, with furniture, decor and musty smell to match. Had I not been thoroughly exhausted, I would have walked away.

But at least we had a microwave so once I’d figured out how to use it, I could cook some of the pasta meal that Rachel had prepared for me.

And grateful I was too.

Friday 7th October 2016 – ABSOLUTE, COMPLETE AND UTTER TOTAL B*****D

And that’s putting it mildly. There has been a major blow-up here tonight and there are going to be some serious repercussions about all of this.

But first, let’s put things in the correct order.

This morning, I was totally dreadful. I wasn’t going anywhere at all. Despite Hannah having returned from University last night I wasn’t up to very much – just leaving my bed to tell Rachel that I was going back to bed again. I was totally incapable of functioning.

I struggled to my feet again round about midday and Amber, who was staying at home told me that I had a few things to do, such as going back to the border and handing back my entry pass to the USA. That was quite important as I’ve had problems about forgetting to do that in the past.

So I set off down there, with my head slowly clearing the farther along the road that I drove. And at the Canadian border post I had a piece of luck in that I could hand it back there without having to cross the line.

On the way back down the road into Centreville I stopped by the river and ate my butty in the sunshine, having a little doze as I ate. But I can’t stay here for ever – I went back to the tyre depot to say goodbye.

Much to my surprise, my permanent insurance certificate has arrived. I put that in Strider and now he’s 100% legal (not that he wasn’t before of course but now I have all of the paperwork to prove it). I was able to fax to the insurance brokers the registration certificate and a copy of my French driving licence so they now have all of the information that they need. All I need now is for this insurance company not to change its rules and regulations and to keep me insured.

Just so that there’s no mistake or misunderstanding, with what I would have had to pay for hiring a vehicle over the last two occasions that I’ve visited Canada (2015 and just now), then if you calculate the cost of buying Strider, taxing, insuring and maintaining him, I am now in front. And if I do come back next year, I shall start to be well ahead. Buying Strider was definitely the right decision, as I knew that it would be.

And not only that, I have had an e-mail from the insurance company to say that anyone with a Canadian driving licence and with their own vehicle insurance can drive Strider too. I printed out a copy of that and stuck it in Strider just so that it’s there for the record.

But by now it was 15:00 and I had gone again. Completely. To such an extent that I fell off the chair on the office. Rachel picked me up, dusted me off, gave me the key to the house and sent me home where I crashed out completely. I should have gone to Darren’s sister’s husband’s birthday party at 18:00 but I was going absolutely nowhere.

I had to haul myself out of bed at 20:45 because this was the time that I had to go to catch my Maritime Bus back to Montreal. It leaves the Irvings petrol station at 21:3O so I wanted to be there by 21:15.

And so we were. And so we waited. And 21:30 came round, but the bus didn’t. And neither was it there at 21:45. The petrol station closes at 22:00 and so I went over to the girl to ask about the bus and … it had arrived at 21:00 and because there was no passenger there, he had cleared straight off without waiting for me.

The b*****d.

So we rang up the Maritime Bus headquarters using both the numbers provided by the girl in the petrol station – and as you might expect, “we are now closed. Please call back during office hours” – which is of course absolutely no use whatever when you are running an overnight bus service with overnight passengers waiting in overnight bus stops in isolated locations.

And so we phoned the Maritime Bus stop at Grand Falls. And he had just left there too, half an hour early. I thus called up the coffee-stop at Edmundston (a mere 140 kms away) and asked them to hold the bus, and we set off to give chase.

Rachel drove like the wind – I shan’t tell you how fast we were going in case the farces of law and order are reading this – but when we arrived at Edmundston he had left. It seemed that he had refused to wait.

The double b*****d.

We stopped for a coffee at Tim Hortons and Rachel had some business to, which must be done before midnight. And then we set off for the next 110 kilometres to Riviere du Loup. Here is the bus interchange where I need to board the Orleans Express that comes down the Gaspé Peninsula to Montreal. I usually have an hour’s wait there and so at least we had plenty of time to do the final leg.

Although the Coach Maritime Bus was at the bus depot, the driver had long-gone to his hotel, so I wasn’t able to tell him what I thought of him. But the ticket agent was quite interested in my story. He wondered why the bus had arrived at 23:50 instead of the more usual 00:15.

The triple b*****d.

Rachel ended up having to drive a total of 520 kilometres and a journey whereby she would be home at about 21:50 took her until 04:30 the following morning, just because some Coach Maritime Bus driver wanted to get to bed half an hour early. By the time that I finish with him and his company he can have as many early nights as he likes because he won’t be driving a bus again.

The quadruple b*****d.

So now I was ensconced in the bus terminal waiting room waiting for my bus back to Montreal. There would be no confusion about this one.

Wednesday 5th October 2016 – BRRRR!

o'regal restaurant and motel kedgwick new brunswick canada october octobre 2016When I awoke this morning, bright and early, I went out to grab the cereal and soya milk from the back of Strider. And by heck, I wish I hadn’t!

Winter has definitely arrived, that’s for sure. Just look at this lot outside. It’s just like back home in the Auvergne isn’t it, with the hanging cloud, the cold and the freezing fog that has blanketed the Appalachian Mountains round about here on the edge of Kedgwick.

I had had a bad night last night despite just how comfortable it was in my nice big bed in my nice big room.

I’d crashed out by about 21:00 but I was tossing and turning all over the place and was really uncomfortable. Somehow I was tired and completely fast asleep and somehow I wasn’t, and I’m not sure that you’ll understand what I mean. But anyway, I was wide awake at 01:00, with the radio still playing, so I turned it off and this time I managed a decent sleep, until about 05:00

I’d been on my travels too, with the welcome return of Nerina, who hasn’t set foot in these nocturnal rambles for quite a while. We were at my house, in its usual state of papers all over the floor and we were looking for some papers that really ought to have been there but weren’t and this was all becoming far more complicated than it ought to have been. At he same time, Zero was at the kitchen sink doing the washing-up. She was being her usual cheerful self and we were discussing smoking. She said that she had tried a cigarette once, so I smacked her bottom for her.

When I sat down to breakfast I found that I had forgotten to fetch the spoon so I ended up eating my breakfast cereal with a fork and trying my best not to crash out again. I’m clearly not well at the moment.

o'regal restaurant and motel kedgwick new brunswick canada october octobre 2016Still, I can’t sit around here all day moping about the bad weather. I need to be moving on despite the fog. And this time, I didn’t forget to go and take a photograph of the night’s lodgings just for the record.

I’d been low on fuel too last night and there was an Irving’s next door – one of the reasons why I had stopped here – so I went off and fuelled up. I now have 97 Air miles after that – isn’t that good?

When I was on my way in the other direction 10 or so days ago, I’d stopped at the supermarket in town where I’d discovered baguettes on sale at half-price. I popped back in there on the way past this morning to see how the land lay and, sure enough, baguettes were on sale again. And so with what I had bought yesterday at Matane, that was lunch organised.

On the way through St Quentin the other day I’d noticed that there was a railway station in the town, on the old abandoned Canadian National railway line between Campbelltown and St Leonard.
narrow gauge steam locomotive railway station st quentin new brunswick canada october octobre 2016There were a few railway artefacts on display outside, and so I’d pencilled the station in for a visit on the return trip and so here I am.

The little locomotive had caught my eye and I wondered if it really was a narrow-gauge locomotive that had been rescued from a mineral line somewhere. But in fact it was built in 1985 out of scrap and recycled materials by a couple of Canadian National employees from Campbelltown.

platelayers trolley railway station st quentin new brunswick canada october octobre 2016That wasn’t the only thing to catch my eye either. What do you reckon about this?

It’s a platelayers’ trolley but enclosed (a necessity given the severe winters around here) and with a petrol engine rather than a pump-action handle, which is a bit of a cheat. They were used by the track maintenance crews during their duties, which included fire-watching because sparks from the steam locomotives setting the forests alight was a real problem.

So much so that it will come as no surprise for any regular reader of this rubbish to realise that the station building here at St Quentin is not the original one. That, just like any other building here in Canada, caught fire and burnt down.

railway bicycle st quentin new brunswick canada october octobre 2016However, the most exciting exhibit here at the railway station must be this weird machine.

I’m not sure of the proper name by which this machine might be known, and I certainly have never seen one of them before, but I think that it’s magnificent and I definitely want one of these.

There were lots of other stuff actually inside the station, which was by the way not only a museum but the local tourist information office and the offices of the local Chamber of Commerce.

caboose canadian national railway station st quentin new brunswick canada october octobre 2016There was some kind of collection of railway wagons here too and so I went for a browse.

This caboose caught my eye – and not just because it’s a caboose but because of the message that’s on it. It reads “Dessert tout le Canada” which, crudely translated by Yours Truly (and if there’s any “crudely” involved, then in the words of the late, great Bob Doney, “I’m your man”) as “serves all of Canada”.

However, that’s clearly a spelling mistake. It should read “Désert tout le Canada” which means “Abandons all of Canada” – which is certainly true these days.

This is why I have to mess around on buses and rely on Rachel to pick me up in Florenceville when there’s an abandoned Canadian National railway line that passes at the bottom of her garden and an abandoned Canadian National railway station right next door to the tyre depot.

By now the hanging clouds had gone, the sun was out and I was coming out of the Appalachian Mountains. It was a beautiful day now so I headed to St Leonard and the Saint John River to find a place to eat my butties.

le rendez-vous des artistes st leonard new brunswick canada october octobre 2016I found a nice place to park up for my lunch – the car park for the Rendez-vous des Artistes in St Leonard. It was closed up so I didn’t think that anyone would mine.

What appealed to me about this place was that it had a good view over the river and right by one of the few remaining railway lines in New Brunswick. And I thought that I had heard a locomotive whistle too and so I prepared the camera, but nothing came by while I was here.

saint john river van buren maine usa october octobre 2016That over there across the Saint John River is the town of Van Buren, which is in Maine, USA. I was sitting right by the border crossing on the Canadian side of the river admiring the view and taking advantage of the beautiful weather.

And I wasn’t alone either. They say that there’s one in every village, and the one in St Leonard sought me out for a chat. He was speaking French and what with his accent and a speech impediment that he had, I couldn’t make out one word in every ten that he was uttering.

Nevertheless, we put the world to rights for half an hour and then, in the words of the reporters of the long-gone and long-lamented “News of the Screws”, I “made my excuses and left”.

Back up the hill and I hit the highway southwards, and aren’t I grateful for speed limiters and cruise control? I set the speed to 108kms and settled down for the drive back to Centreville, and it was then that I noticed in my rear-view mirror a County Mountie slowly closing up on me. But with the speed limiter I didn’t have too much to worry about in the normal run of events. He eventually passed me, having a good glance as he went by, but with the cruise control in operation he had no reason to pull me over and he eventually pulled away in front.

I was having visions of David Crosby and his
“It increases my paranoia”
“like looking at my mirror and seeing a police car”
“But I’m not giving in an inch to fear”
“‘cos I promised myself this year”
“I feel like I owe it to someone”

and reckon that it applies to me – I certainly owe it to myself, that’s for sure after all that I’ve been through this year.

I tracked down my mailbox too. And talk about a local postal service – my mailbox is about 7 or 8 kilometres from my plot of land. It’s astonishing. How I’m supposed to go and get my post in the middle of winter is totally beyond me.

But there was some really good news for me. Regular readers of this rubbish might recall that the motor insurance on Strider was cancelled about my head last year when we had the driving licence issues. There was a cheque in my mail box for the refund of the cancelled policy, minus the time on risk value, and this was not far off the total premium of the new policy. The cheque had timed out and so I took it back to the brokers in Florenceville and they wrote out a new one.

Waving that around in my sweaty little mitt, I went to the Scotia Bank and paid it in. I did a few more financial manoeuvres … “PERSONoeuvres” – ed … there, and now I reckon that I could keep on going over in Canada for a good while if necessary.

Back at the tyre depot I met up with everyone, had a coffee and a chat, and then we went back home to Rachel and Darren’s. Rachel made a lovely tea and we had a good chat, and then I crawled off to bed at some really early, ridiculous time.

This six weeks gap between treatments is evidently too much, but I’m not complaining. Despite the health issues that have now caught up properly with me, I would never otherwise have come here and I wouldn’t have missed my trip to Canada for the world.

Monday 12th September 2016 – I WONDERED …

… as regular readers of this rubbish will recall from last year, why it was that Strider had a tendency to wander about on the road. I put it down at the time to a worn damper, but now I know the truth.

Yes, the insurance has come through. This morning I went down to the tyre depot and I faxed off my application form. I left things to stew for half an hour or so, and then called up the company to pay them over the phone. But, as you might expect in this long-running saga, the person dealing with the matter was out of the office.

I called them back just before lunch and luckily, the person “had just returned to the office”, so we were able to deal with the payment. Surprisingly, the credit card that was blocked in Montreal the other day was accepted for the payment and 10 minutes later I had a faxed copy of the insurance card in my sweaty little mitt.

The original will follow in the post “in due course” but knowing Canada Post as I do, and as you do if you were around here back in 2011, it will mean that I’ll receive it about a week after the expiry date of the policy. But a faxed copy is good.

And so at lunchtime, as Zoe was going past the house, I had her drop me off and I could drive Strider back to the tyre depot.

Once we had dealt with a headlight in a Chrysler HHR and a tyre on a farmer’s lorry, we could wheel Strider into the garage and stick him up on a ramp. And this is where we found that a track rod end was almost hanging off. No wonder he was wandering about a little.

So a new track rod end is on order and should come tomorrow mid-morning, and that will (hopefully) mean that Strider should have his safety certificate (MoT to you lot) by lunchtime. Then I can go down to Service New Brunswick in Florenceville and tax him, and we will be on the road.

Once we had done the check on Strider, we had an hour or two spare and so we started to strip down the axle on this Chevrolet lorry. Taking the half-shafts out was straightforward (although it wasn’t that easy) but dismantling the bearings in the axle casing was anything but.

The reason for this is that they are held on by a nut that requires – would you believe – a socket of 3.25 inches, and 8-sided at that. And who in the world – apart from a Chevrolet lorry dealer – would have one of those? It’s almost as if they make them like that deliberately to stop anyone other than a main agent from doing the work. We had to order one and it won’t be here for a few days.

But I might not be here by then. The sea is calling me.

Back here, there was some kind of ladies’ party going on here. Rachel was having one of these demonstration things and we were surrounded by women. But this kind of thing does have its advantages, such as when someone asks me to empty half a bowl of home-made guacamole. Luckily there was a bowl of crisps handy and so I was able to oblige.

So now I’m off to bed – and I deserve it as well. Although my night was slightly better last night, waking up definitively at 05:50, it still wasn’t as good as the one just recently. But having worked hard today at the tyre depot I’m fairly exhausted.

This might mean a really good sleep. I hope so!

Saturday 10th September 2016 – NOW THAT WAS MUCH MORE LIKE IT!

In bed at a reasonably early hour and despite the odd trip down the corridor it was totally painless and I didn’t feel a thing until the alarm went off at 06:00. I wouldn’t mind doing that again. I felt much better after that.

And we had a slow start to the day seeing as how not much was likely to happen here. Darren and Amber went off to the tyre depot, and after a somewhat late breakfast Rachel and I spent the morning doing stuff and having a long chat about this, that and the other.

But these insurance problems are never-ending, aren’t they? We went to print off the proposal form – and the printer ran out of ink. It’s almost as if I’m destined not to take out this insurance, isn’t it?

However, as I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … we don’t have problems, we have solutions. So I forwarded the e-mail up to the tyre depot and they printed it out up there and brought it back when the place closed. So what’s going to be the next hitch now?

For lunch I had a couple of wraps filled with vegetables and my vegan cheese, and then we we had a little task to perform. The golf-cart had broken down and so it needed to be looked at. After quite a few complicated manoeuvres and procedures, one of which involved a rather large hammer, we came to the conclusion that the starter solenoid had failed. That’s a mail order job for a later date.

But while I was down there I washed off all of the small plastic storage boxes that I had taken out of Strider the other day and forgotten to clean off. They’ve come up nicely and are sitting there drying out now, ready to go back inside the pickup.

We hadn’t finished yet either. The air-conditioning unit in the living room had packed up a while ago and a new replacement had arrived. We decided to fit it, and that involved cutting a new wooden blocking panel as the new unit is larger than the old one.

We had already made a start when Darren’s brother-in-law turned up. He’s a joiner by profession and had all of the right tools with him in his truck, so he took over the work and the job was done in half an hour. Having the correct tools doesn’t half make a difference to a task like this.

By now it was tea time and we were quite numerous – Amber had a friend round and there was also Darren’s sister and her husband (he who had helped us with the air-conditioning), so tea stretched out for a good couple of hours while we sat around chatting.

garden fire centreville new brunswick canada september septembre 2016It was a beautiful evening and as a rather large pile of rubbish had been gathering all around the place, we decided that we would have a garden bonfire.

This was really quite pleasant, all of us sitting around outside toasting ourselves by the flames in the warmth of a September evening, and it’s a shame that the photo hasn’t done the scene very much justice.

You might remember back from March that the big Nikon D5000 has now officially ceased once more to function, and I’m having to work with a cheap one that I bought in Quebec in 2012 when I had a similar difficulty. I was planning on buying a much better camera but I’m not sure whether there’s much point in spending a shed-load of money on something like that, given my state of health.

I wasn’t out for all that long. It was soon bed-time for me so I came inside, ready for an early night and hoping that I would have just as much of a good sleep as I had had the previous evening.

Friday 9th September 2016 – THAT WAS A MUCH BETTER …

… night last night. Even though I had to make a few trips down the corridor I did manage to have something of a decent sleep – right through to when the alarm went off. And I was on my travels last night, although if you are probably eating your lunch right now you don’t want to hear about them.

I had breakfast with Rachel and once I had organised myself, I had a task to perform.

Did I mention that a mouse seems to have found its way into the back of Strider? It hibernated in there over the winter and you can imagine that the mess that it has made is quite considerable. And so I resolved to empty everything out of the back and give it a good clean.

Of course, these days, everything takes me ten times longer to do than it did before, and emptying Strider was no exception.

One of the storage boxes was broken and it was in there that the mouse had lodged, so the box and most of its contents were filed under CS. A pile of other stuff followed it too, and once Strider was empty I gave him a good brush out and all the mess was removed.

I’ve redesigned the bed slightly too so that works better (that aggressive rough-cut saw that I bought last year is an impressive tool) but I can’t finish it off as the batteries for the Ryobi plus One drill are flat (on charge even as we speak).

Once I’d had lunch, I crashed out for an hour or so (can’t stand the pace these days, can I?) and then I went downstairs to start to reassemble everything.

strider ford ranger rear box campîng centreville new brunswick canada september septembre 2016And here’s the finished product, such as I had been able to reach at that particular point. It’s comparatively tidy in there as you can see and we have the Canadian Tire fold-up chair in the background and the little Walmart folding table in the foreground. You’d be surprised at just how comfortable it can be in there.

But the condensation on the aluminium roof is the big issue as you know once the temperature cools down. If I do manage to make it back here another year I’ll have to attend to that issue.

While I was out there organising myself, Darren came back from work. He was stopping off on his way to Woodstock to do one or two things, and so I hitched a ride. By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong, so it was pretty crowded in the truck, but there was enough room for a new tote box from Walmart – a nice colour-coded purple one to go with the light green one, the black one and the blue one.

Back here after tea I loaded up the new tote box with what was left from the damaged one and added a few bits and pieces that were lying around all over the place, and now the tidying is completed.

We have had a minor inconvenience though. I’d been charging up my Canadian mobile phone with the 12-volt car charger, but when I removed it from the socket I left half of it behind. I need to disconnect the battery and pull out the missing bits with a pair of long-nosed pliers, and hope that it will all reassemble. It’s the “good” lighter socket too.

All of this has worn me out considerably today but at least it’s a job well done. I didn’t feel at all guilty about having an early night. And so checking my mails, I found that I had finally received the proposal form for Strider’s insurance. I need to print it out, fill it in and fax it off (and pay for it of course) and as soon as I can do that, I’ll have the insurance card in the next post.

Strider needs his safety check (the equivalent of an MoT or a controle technique) and then his licence tags, and we will then be ready for the off.

I fancy a week or ten days by the seaside.

Wednesday 7th September 2016 – WHAT A GOOD DECISION …

… that was, to book into that hotel at the back of the coach station.

I was stark out as soon as I laid down my weary head. We did have an interruption at about 23:45 when a baby started to cry, but that can happen in the best of places and it was a thing of five minutes. And then I needed to make a trip down to the corridor at about 03:00. I finally came to my senses, such as they are, at 04:45, having had a good night’s sleep in this extremely comfortable bed. The night porter’s call at 05:00 was therefore rather superfluous but it was nice to know that it was available and that it works.

But I’ll tell you this – $30-odd less per night than sleeping out at an airport hotel and while the comfort is rather less, I don’t need most of the difference. For the time and money that I save and for the convenience of being in the city centre, if I do ever make it back to Montreal I’ll be coming here, even if it does involve a 500-metre drag of the suitcase. And remember – when I stayed in Lille the other year I dragged it farther than that – and uphill too!

Let’s face it. It’s seen better days, this hotel, but I had a good shower, a really comfortable sleep, and no-one stole my boots. What more do you need?

I was too early for breakfast of course, but that can’t be helped. My bus was more important. I was at the coach station in no time flat and a friendly security guard unlocked the door to the left-luggage room and took my voucher so that I could recover my suitcase and Strawberry Moose, and we took our place in the queue, chatting to a guy who said he was a scouser, although he sounded more Northern Irish to me.

The trip to Sainte-Foy, on the edge of the city of Quebec, took just under three hours and I spent the time in half-asleep mode. After all, it was quite early in the morning. And it’s a good job that I didn’t go to sleep (or is it?) because this bus apparently goes right out to Sept Iles, somewhere else where we’ve been before and where I can catch a train to Labrador.

But when we reached our destination – Sainte Foy, not Sept Iles – a couple of mugs of coffee and a few rounds of toast and jam revived my spirits somewhat, although I’m not sure that you really need to say more than once that you don’t want butter on your toast.

viagra condom machine st foy coach station quebec canada september septembre 2016But what’s this all about? That chewing gum was disgusting – $2:00 for three slices and it tasted of nothing but rubber. As for the viagra however, I tried that once many years ago whilst in the company of the much – maligned Percy Penguin, who didn’t appear in these pages anything like as often as she deserved to back in those days. And I clearly didn’t swallow the viagra quickly enough – I had a stiff neck for a week.

And you all know that the wish that I have about my departure is to go suddenly while in the arms of a nubile nymphet a third of my age. Were I to be lucky enough to find a willing volunteer, the viagra would come in handy in those circumstances. But it would take them three days before they could put the lid on the coffin.

ship of the day pierre laporte bridge st lawrence river quebec canada september septembre 2016Coming over the Pont Pierre Laporte, which we’ve visited before, there was a ship a-sailing … "a-dieseling, you mean" – ed … by, up the river towards Montreal. It’s too far away to see what it is, but it’s the only likely candidate for today’s Ship of the Day and so we’ll include it in here.

We’ll see if we can identify it at a later date when I can access the record of the Port of Montreal … "he couldn’t" – ed.

But on the subject of Pierre Laporte, the whole world is currently up in arms about what they perceive as brown-skinned terrorism, but never forget that Pierre Laporte, a leading Canadian politician, was kidnapped and brutally murdered in cold blood by white-skinned Catholic terrrorists during a major terrorism in Canada – and some of the perpetrators of the crise d’Octobre were given a free passage to Cuba by the craven Canadian Government.

And not only that, some modern-day Quebec politician proposed to erect a plaque in their honour. Yes, and the Canadians complain about brown-skinned terrorists. You couldn’t make this up, could you?

orleans express bus sainte foy riviere du loup canada september septembre 2016But now the bus is in, and it’s two hours from Sainte-Foy to Riviere du Loup.

So feeling a bit more like it after the coffee, I did a pile of paperwork on the laptop and listened to some good music to pass the time. I’m in Traffic mode right now and I had a good listen to Sometimes I Feel So Uninspired from the magnificent On The Road album, because that’s just how I’m feeling right now. And if he can play a lead guitar solo like the last four minutes of that track when he’s feeling do uninspired, whatever could he do if he were to have some inspiration?

holland hurricane express bus edmundston new brunswick canada september septembre 2016By the time I got to Phoe … errr … Riviere du Loup I wasn’t all that far behind where I wanted to be. But we were late and the connecting bus was already in so I had no chance to buy something to eat and drink. Luckily, I still had a packet of the vegan crisps that Alison had bought for me in Belgium and which had survived the voyage across the Atlantic. They didn’t survive the voyage down to Edmunston anyway.

And our Holland Hurricane has internet available and I can actually configure it to work. All I need now is a few people on line to talk to, but as soon as all of my friends see me come on line, they all clear off rather smartish-like.

We had a 15-minute stop at Edmundston (it’s nice to be back in New Brunswick anyway. Home Sweet Home, an hour in front of Quebec time of course) which was plenty of time to visit the gentleman’s rest room and to pick up a coffee. That’s me organised now for the two hour journey that remains.

Much to my – and everyone else’s – surprise, the bus was bang on time to the minute on its arrival at Florenceville. Rachel, my niece, was already there and waiting and so that was ideal. She had a few errands to perform and then it was off to Centreville and the tyre depot. Rachel went on to do some more errands and I came back here with Darren and Amber.

First task was to sort out Strider. He’s been in his little hidey-hole since last October and needed to see the light of day. Even though the battery had had the odd trickle-charge it was a little flaky so that will need to be replaced, and the tyres were down. And not just that, but some creature or other had made a nest with the soundproofing from underneath the bonnet. But it’s good to be back behind the wheel of Strider again – just like old times and as soon as I can resolve this continuing insurance issue we’ll be in business.

Darren and I had quite a chat but I eventually called it a night. It’s far too much for me these days. It’s amazing just how tired you become doing nothing but sitting around all day on a bus.

And it’s nice to see some friendly faces, but a couple of weeks with me will soon take care of all of that.

Thursday 1st September 2016 – I CRASHED OUT …

… good and proper this afternoon. And I was miles away too. It’s not very often that I can crash out quite like this.

Mind you, I had good reason. I’d had a bad night, being still awake long after 02:30. And although the 07:00 cacophony rattled me into some kind of wakefulness, it was the clatter outside the door at 07:30, caused by a young family preparing to leave, that brought me to my feet.

I staggered off for breakfast, and then I had a few things to do here. I made a good start with the tidying-up and the throwing-away and while there’s tons still to go at, it’s nice to have some of it under my belt.

Once I’d organised that, it was off to town and the shops. At the Delhaize I bought the butty stuff for the next few days and then I wandered off to the Wibra for some more of those plastic boxes that I mentioned the other day. I want to have some new stuff to replace the plastic boxes that I’ve had back home since 2006 and which are falling to bits.

Lunch was next, and I made the usual baguette. And when I’d demolished that, it was next to the launderette to wash all of my clothes. It’s important to bring all of that up-to-date too.

Once I’d organised that, it was down to Caliburn to see if the bank account details of the owner of the garage had appeared. And quite rightly so – there they were. And so I toddled off to the bank around the corner, only to find that it’s only opened in the morning. So that’s another job to do tomorrow.

But it wasn’t ‘arf ‘ot, mum, and with having done all of that at (for me these days) break-neck pace it’s hardly surprising that I crashed out here as soon as I returned.

But that’s not all either. My voyage at the weekend is complicated by a document that I need – it’s not a document that will stop me travelling but it will limit my activities when I arrive. And so I had to go off on a major on-line search and this resulted in my sending out about 15 e-mails.

This seems to be becoming a regular event – sending out a major mail-shot – and you all know the results of these because I’ve complained bitterly about the (lack of) response in the past. But today, I’ve had a response rate of well over 50% – some in the negative (but it was nice all the same), some offering suggestions, and a few being extremely positive. Isn’t that a nice change? And so it looks as if a part of my voyage, which I was planning on abandoning, might well be back on and that’s good news.

So now I’ve had my tea and I’m planning on having an early night. I have much to do tomorrow and not much time to do it either. I’ll have to put my skates on.

Tuesday 15th September – I WAS RIGHT …

… yesterday when I said that this first month of my stay in North America had been one of 30 disappointments. We’ve had another issue raise its ugly head today too.

There’s only one company in Canada that insures vehicles for people with non-Canada driving licences (and they make people suffer financially for that of course) but it seems that since April this year they have ceased that particular line of business. And so the motor insurance for Strider has been rejected, leaving me without insurance cover.

However, the company has said that cover can remain on a temporary basis while I apply of a driving licence in Canada and so that’s what I’ll do. Apply for a Canadian driving licence.

Of course.

How long it might take, and whether it might be granted is of course another thing completely, and then there will always be an appeal process if it’s refused. But by that time of course I’ll be back home in France and it won’t be an issue. And next year is, of course, next year.

And so tomorrow, I’ll get on the case.

But if you think logically about it, it’s all a nonsense. There is without any doubt at all at least one company that insures drivers with foreign driving licences. If there wasn’t a single one, then how would car hire work? I’ve hired dozens of cars in North America and each hire has been with my French driving licence. And I still can do so (because I’ve checked). You aren’t going to tell me that a car hire company is going to let its customers drive around in uninsured vehicles, are you?

And it’s true (or it was true – at least in the UK) that when I worked in the motor insurance business, a company or a person could insure himself against liability. But he had to deposit a bond of £50,000 (and that was in 1972 – I shudder to think what that figure would be today) per vehicle and that money is tied up. I can’t see a hire company going through all of that, having the money tied up, no tax relief, no interest payments and all of this.

No – there is a company somewhere that specialises in this business and I have to find it. I’ve always said that where there’s a will, there are relatives. It’s just one more problem to solve. Now, how do you go about setting up a car hire business in Canada?

But apart from that for the moment, I slept the sleep of the dead last night. I crashed out at 20:28 and that was that until I had to go and ride the porcelain horse. An early(-ish) start and I did a pile of work and then a copious breakfast. I really can’t believe all of this for just $59:40 (including tax).

But while I was eating my breakfast I was watching TV (something that I rarely do of course) and the disclaimers for the adverts (which are often longer than the ads themselves) are quite often funnier than any comedy programme you would care to name. This morning we had a “do not take {this product} if you are allergic to any of its ingredients”. And you can’t make that up, can you?

Back on the road Walmart came up trumps with the big tent pegs that I’m going to need if I use this tarpaulin oversheet idea for the tent, and it also produced a couple of gas canisters for my cooker (they are becoming harder and harder to find as everyone changes over to the bigger sort) and a set of stubby spanners, which cost just $4:49. Ideal for getting into tight corners. But Mardens couldn’t produce a 19mm ring spanner at any cost. Still, I have an open-ended one and a socket and I hope that that will do me if I need anything.

At the border, I was whacked for import duty on the truck cap. $90:00 or something like that, but I don’t suppose that this is excessive really. It’s worked out as 5% of the value (in Canadian dollars), including, would you believe, the sales tax that I had to pay in the USA. That’s a bit near the knuckle.

georgia registered lorry trans canada highway new brunswickI had a race down the Trans-Canada Highway with a lorry – simply because I didn’t recognise his number plate and I wanted to see where he came from.

As it happens, he comes from Georgia (that’s Georgia USA, not the former Soviet republic) and so he was a long way away from home. It seems that the Maritime Provinces are becoming more and more popular.

Af Fredericton I picked up my parking pass for the next three days (foreign visitors can park free in the town centre for three days if they apply to the tourist office for a pass), picked up my media passes for the festival and went to have a chat with the people at Service New Brunswick who gave me a couple of useful tips.

At Value Village, it’s Pensioners Day and I profited to the maximum with a pile of books, a couple of CDs and also (at long last) the Canadian cable that I need for my laptop power pack (which saves having to hump around a pile of adapters. Walmart and Home Depot came up with nothing exciting and so I went for my traditional falafel platter in the Lebanese restaurant and then came back here – “here” being the Mactaquac Provincial Park campsite where I stay when I’m here.

But we did have a very interesting encounter this afternoon. You may remember yesterday that I was talking about big old British single-cylinder motorcycles. Anyway, wandering down the street in Fredericton I noticed a young guy sitting on, of all things, a Triumph T100. 1971 it was, and it looked it too. In original, unrestored condition looking every day as old as it was. We were chatting for hours about old British bikes and of course, AJS and Matchless motorcycles figured heavily. And it turns out that he has a friend who has a fetish about the big AJS and Matchless singles and who, at the last count, has 14 of them, plus numerous crates of bits and pieces. And so he’s taken my e-mail address and says that he’ll pass it over to this guy.

And so that was that. I buried myself in my sleeping bag ready for bed.

Now who is going to come along and spoil my day tomorrow?

Monday 24th August 2015 – I WAS ON MY TRAVELS …

… during the night. Although I wasn’t really.

In fact I was back home again watching this huge crocodile of children stream down the track at the back of my house, all singing and being happy. meantime there was someone who had come to visit me, someone official, and I’d sent him away with a flea in his ear. However he was loitering around on the public pathway between my barn and my house and was urinating up the wall of my well so I dashed out there and gave him a piece of my mind (not that I have much to spare). Meantime, all the kids were streaming back up the other side, on the pathway in front of my house.

From here, I was invited to take part in a very low budget horror film, about being the brother of a young girl who, at full moon, turned into a terrifying flesh-tearing zombie with huge claws. We had to build a rocket and time machine so that we could take her to the future before she transformed again, where treatment would be available Anyway we built it and set off – and there were quite a few others like us in there. We just made it away on time but we were held up at a railway level crossing in Crewe – a real cliff-hanger. The producer/director said that we would have to finish the film next week but one of the actors couldn’t make it so we needed to write him out of the play. We planned to stage a crash at the level crossing and set him on fire so as to write him out, so I had to go off and look for the petrol which had been left behind in a dump at Edleston Road near where Woottons used to be. And it amazed me – here we were in Crewe and we had little dumps of stores all over the place and no-one had given a single thought about them being looted by the inhabitants.

After breakfast we all went up to the shop and – surprise surprise – I started to tidy up the place there a little. As you know, my adventures with tidying up are legendary, mostly o account of when I do ever do any the place always seems to end up worse than it did before. This time however, you could see a difference.

And it also inspired one or two others to do some too, and that always helps. The place could do with it, I reckon. And I would love to give it a total reorganisation too, although that’s never ever likely to happen.

Later on, I went out and about. First stop was to the insurance to have the details of Strider’s new licence plate recorded. That needs to be up to date. And from there I went off to the Dollar Store to see if I could find some headphones for the Samsung phone, but with no luck there.

At Service New Brunswick I had a chat about the postal code for my property. It seems that although Service New Brunswick is responsible for the address, it’s Canada Post that is responsible for the postal codes – a typical Government-organised confusion. And so that was my next port-of-call, althugh not before finding out where I can take these two big fridges around here. Surprise as it might be, there are no Government-organised recycling centres here in this part of the world, no public rubbish dump service other than the weekly waste collection. The only answer is to hire a skip, and that costs $400:00. No wonder there’s all kinds of stuff all over the place.

From there I went off to the Post Office and chatted to them. It seems that I’m also allowed a public mail box too. However the manager of the Post Office wasn’t there so I couldn’t sort that out on the spot.they will call me back

Darren and Hannah came back from Ohio this afternoon and so we unloaded all of the stuff out of the trailer (they had been gone for 12 days) and spent the rest of the day catching up on things.

And the woman from the Post Office didn’t phone me back, but then, I wasn’t really expecting it.

Friday 21st August 2015 – DOESN’T STRIDER LOOK SMART?

strider ford ranger 4x4 pickup centreville new brunswick canadaHe now has his number plates fitted.

And I would like to say that he is totally street legal, but I can’t quite say that until Monday.

In fact he is, but the insurance certificate is made out with his temporary number plate, and this needs to be changed to his permanent number. It’s not desperately important to do that but if I’m going over across to the Great Satan, I can imagine all kinds of complications. I can get into enough trouble over there without actually asking for it.

This morning we had this wheel to refit onto the golf cart, and seeing as how I took it off, I reckon that Amber should put it back on. A girl of 12 has to start somewhere, especially if there is someone there to supervise and give advice, and all in all she was quite good at it

The parts for Strider had come by the time we arrived at the tyre depot so we stuck him up on the lift. Changing the plugs was another task that wasn’t as easy as it might have been. The engine in Strider is a basic “Cologne” V6 of 2.5 litres bored out and enlarged to 4.0, and while those engines were really simple and easy to work on back in 1962, the addition of all kinds of emissions control mechanisms have covered everything up and makes it difficult to reach.

The nearside plugs are a nightmare to reach, but we had the brilliant idea of taking off the wheel. Doing that, the plugs were quite easily accessible. And we soon found the cause of the misfire. The most difficult plug to reach (but easy from through the wheel arch) was cracked. It looks as if someone has had a go at taking it out from up above, cracked the porcelain, and then given up.

After many interruptions, Strider was finished but the number plates STILL hadn’t come. And so I went round to where I bought him from and the boss was out but, sure enough, there were the plates and the registration document sitting on his desk. His mechanic fitted the plates for me and there we were.

The trouble is that now it’s 17:00 and the insurance offices are closed until Monday. Hence I’ll have to wait until then to change things around.

I went off up the Highway to the New Brunswick-Quebec border through a tremendous thunderstorm with the cruise control set at 120 kph all the way. ON the way back, just about to pull off at Grand Sault to pick up the supper (Rachel was Tupperware-ing at Nackawik) and Rhys rang up for a chat. As a result I was home later than intended.

But the good run seems to have cleared out Strider a little. He’s running a little freer than before and it looks (at first glance) if he’s doing better on fuel although I’m not counting my chickens before they have hatched.