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Saturday 12th June 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… good and productive morning today which was nice. And which was just as well because I had a pretty lousy afternoon.

But more of the afternoon anon. Let’s talk about the morning first.

As the alarm started to ring I leapt out of bed and wandered off for my medication. And then I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone.

And there was nothing on it from the night, which was a surprise because I had all sorts of vague ideas and images going around the margins of my mind when I awoke but they had all flown away as I had tried to grab hold of them.

There was however some stuff on the dictaphone from 30th and 31st May that needed transcribing and so I dealt with that and brought their pages in the journal up-to-date.

While I’d been doing that I’d been listening to music. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, a week’s radio programmes was lost in some king of confusion and my records ended up being out of order for a week. And rearranging it meant that I had a blank week.

Without confusing things any more, I was rather stuck for what to do. But then yesterday I had an idea. I have a load of music that is waiting to be digitalised and even more than hasn’t yet been sorted. So I went through and sought out the groups who are debuting in my playlist.

The CDs that needed digitalising were then digitalised and I made up a playlist of albums where the groups and musicians were debuting in my lists.

And so today while all of this updating of the journal was going on, I was listening to music. I’d already been listening it last night and I’d selected a few tracks from it but by the time I’d finished the updating this morning I ended up with a nice collection.

And so I selected my tracks, edited them to cut out bits I didn’t want and to regulate the volume and then I combined them in pairs. So that’s the music sorted for that programme. On Monday I need to start by writing the music which is good because I have an appointment at lunchtime and I need to have the programme done by then.

When I’d finished what I’d been doing I grabbed a Louis de Funes sound file and chopped that up for more soundbites and I’m now accumulating a nice bunch of soundbites. And there are plenty more to go.

When I’d finished it, that was when it all started to go wrong, because I almost immediately crashed out. And a good and proper crashing out it was too. It was a very late lunch today because I didn’t come round until about 14:20. And then I was staggering around like a drunkard for a few minutes until I grabbed hold of my equilibrium.

The rest of the day has been spent cutting up albums (and there are still plenty to go at) and editing photos from August 2019. And I’m now actually at South Pass – at least where Highway 28 goes through it.

It didn’t look like the description that I had though and while things can change since 1845 they don’t change that much so what I did then was to go back to find a hotel and make further plans and do further research. So unless I am distracted tomorrow you might get to hear a little of my adventures.

In between all of this I went out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I did, as you might expect, is to interest myself in what is happening down on the beach today.

And so girding up my loins I headed for the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down from my viewpoint. And as we can see, there’s plenty of beach again today because the tide is well out again today. As I go out most days at roughly the same time, it’s interesting to see how the tide evolves over a complete cycle.

And while the weather is better today than it has been, warm with hardly any wind, there weren’t as many people down there as I was expecting to see. After all, it’s the holiday season and the place is swarming with Parisians right now bringing their viruses with them.

marite english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut while I was admiring the people on the beach my attention was caught by some kind of movement away on the horizon.

It was a ship – I was pretty sure of that. It couldn’t be anything else at that spot but with the naked eye it was far too far away for me to make out exactly what kind of ship. I was intrigued to see what it might be so I took a photo with the aim of cropping it out and blowing it up (which I can still do despite modern anti-terrorist legislation).

And so there you are. It’s a large sailing ship with at least two masts. And according to my shipping radar, Marité, the old fishing schooner that lives in the port, slipped her moorings at 07:53 this morning and headed off towards Bordeaux. And I can’t say any more than that about the ship out there.

microlight aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd its not just people on the beach and ships at sea that is attracting our attention right now. Try to do something serious and concentrate and your reverie is immediately interrupted by a buzzing noise overhead.

It’s not a mosquito or an insect like that, but it’s one of these microlight ULM powered hang-glider things. These kinds of things have their origins in the pou de ciel or “flying flea” microlights designed in the 1930s by the Frenchman Henri Mignet and popularised in many magazines, with plans being produced for home-builders.

Ever since then the French have had quite a reputation for building light aircraft of all shapes and sizes and regular readers will recall that we have seen quite a few different types of light aircraft flying over our heads when we’ve been out and about.

Cessna F182P Skylane F-GBTS pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis on the other hand, is a real aeroplane and it makes a change to see one that not only was picked up on radar but is entered in the books of the airport at Granville.

She’s a Cessna F182P Skylane, a model that was introduced in October 1971 and powered by a Continental O-470 piston engine fitted with a carburettor and producing 230 HP, or 72 kW. With a range of over 1,000 miles, the models for the European market are quite often flown over from Wichita, crossing the Atlantic via Newfoundland, Baffin island, Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

This one though was noted as being at Toulouse Airport this morning at 11:59 and was picked up by the radar near Balma at 13:21. And I could follow her route from there all the way to Granville where she landed at 16:15.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut right now I haven’t finished with the air yet because there were other things going on too.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have a local bird of prey that we have seen quite regularly. I’ve forgotten what breed he might be because the birdwatching lectures that I had from Nerina weren’t about this type of bird, but it hovers about the edge of the cliffs because there are many small animals, including a colony of rabbits, that have made their home there.

And to my surprise, I noticed today that it had a mate. Or, at least, there was a second one working the cliff edge farther along. It will be nice if we can have our own colony of vultures or whatever they are.

men fishing from zodiacs baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLet’s turn our attention back to the sea now because there was still plenty going on out there too.

With it being Saturday,, then of course we can expect the local fishermen to be out in their droves this afternoon trying their luck from their boats just offshore at the foot of the cliffs. But doing my best not to make any tart remarks about their success rate, I pushed off along the path.

And the path was crowded with people today too. And despite the Préfet‘s instructions about masks being compulsory until the end of the month, many people were walking around maskless or with their mask tucked under their chin.

And seeing that many of them are holidaymakers from Paris, that will tell you all that you need to know about why the disease is so rampant in those places. And here they are, bringing their disease to us.

trawler beached port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I pushed my way along the path all the way around the headland until I reached the viewpoint that overlooks the harbour from where I could see what was going on in the port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have talked … “at great length” – ed … about trawlers left in the outer harbour to go aground when the tide goes out.

So here’s another one of them – one of the bigger ones too, tied up in a NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) position to the harbour wall underneath the red marker light for the harbour entrance.

There’s definitely something fishy about this, and I’m not talking about the contents of Baldrick’s apple crumble either.

gerlean l'omerta fishing boat port de Granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut to put your minds at rest L’Omerta and its friend, which is called Gerlean, are still tied up at the fish processing plant and are sitting on the mud.

But it beats me why they are there because it can’t be very popular with the other little fishing boats. With those tow moored there, there’s less space for the others to tie up to unload and so they’ll have to queue for longer.

But anyway, that’s not my problem. There’s a hot coffee and some ginger cake waiting for me back at home so I headed that way, and ended up having quite a lengthy chat with one of my neighbours on the stairs. That’s not like me at all, is it?

Tea tonight was interesting. There was some stuffing left over so I lengthened it with stuff that needed using in the fridge, added some tomato sauce and had it with some pasta. And as an ad-hoc meal it was surprisingly good.

But now I’ve finished and I can hardly keep my eyes open, and so I’m off to bed. A nice Sunday lie-in tomorrow and won’t that do me the world of good?

Saturday 17th April 2021 – REGULAR READERS …

fisherman throwing fish back into sea beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… of this rubbish will recall that we have watched fisherman after fisherman standing on the rocks, or in boats, or on the beach, day after day after week after week and never ever catching anything at all.

And here we are today, watching a fisherman with a fish in his hand, and what is he doing except throwing it back into the sea. The first one that we’ve ever seen caught around here.

Mind you, this is a bit of a cheat. It looks as if he’s had a fishing net out on the beach while the tide has been in and while it’s on its way out, he’s gone out there to retrieve his catch. But as for why he would want to thrown one of his catch back into the sea is totally beyond me. I don’t understand this at all.

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s not the only thing that’s been puzzling me this afternoon. We’ve had another one of these aerial afternoons today, with an endless stream of aircraft going by overhead.

Not any big stuff unfortunately – that is to say, nothing that I could see, and that is no surprise given the thick 10/10ths clouds that we’ve had today. We probably couldn’t see a thing about two or three thousand feet. Instead we’ve had a procession of all kinds of light aircraft going past me while I was on my afternoon walk.

This is just one of the machines that flew by me. It’s a helicopter of course but it’s of a type that I don’t immediately recognise with its twin outriggers at the rear. The make will probably occur to me once I’ve pressed “send” and published these notes, as this sort of thing usually does.

This morning I was up with the lark and the first alarm yet again, and then after my medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I had actually been in Vienna. It was something to do with the cathedral. It was a huge place and there were all kinds of things happening to it so they had set up a team to keep watch on there. Some of the watching was discreet and some of the watching was public. There was a theatre there and a couple of people who were involved in this, at the end of the night when everyone had gone would audition acts who would act out in the theatre. There would be actors, dancers, that kind of thing and I’m often stay up at night and watch. I really couldn’t tell the difference between a good actor and a bad actor from the standard at which they were dealing because they weren’t dealing with the ordinary run-of-the-mill stuff and some of the acerbic comments that they were making about some people I didn’t understand at all because it was way over my head. But it was extremely interesting. The cathedral authorities were receiving notes or finding notes such as “what about the damage to such-and-such cathedral over 11 years that went un-noticed and they were spending all of their time examining what was happening here?” These were generally dismissed as being to work of ineffective or weak people whereas some notes they were taking far more seriously because of the style in which they had been written. This dream went on for ages and ages and there was much more to it than this. I just wish that I could remember it all.

First task this morning after the dictaphone was to deal with the photos from August 2019. And I’ve found to my dismay that I’ve made a rather serious error. While I was in North America I visited the site of Fort CF Smith in Montana and although the remains have been described as “difficult to see”, I couldn’t see them at all.

With everything that I’ve been through, I would have thought that I would have been able to discern something so I was disappointed.

But examining a few aerial and satellite photographs I’ve discovered that the Lady Who Lives In The Satellite has some how made an error of about 200 metres because while the GPS co-ordinates on the Satnav gave me one reading, the same co-ordinates typed into a satellite viewer come up with a place on the other side of the road.

And to make things even worse, from the satellite, the outline of the fort is clearer than anything similar that I have ever seen.

Ahh well. You can’t win a coconut every time. I shall just have to go back there again.

There was a break in the middle of all of this for a shower, and then later on I went for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread. No shopping today as I’m off on my travels on Wednesday at … gulp … 05:55.

There have been a few things that I needed to do this morning too. Like emptying out the mailbox, claiming a refund for my delayed train the other week before the time period runs out, and then trying to make a recalcitrant shipping company reply to a message that I’ve sent them four times now.

After lunch I came back in here to carry on with some work but unfortunately I crashed out yet again. I was away for over an hour as well and I’m not very happy about that. But at least I’ve managed to catch up with some outstanding work that I’ve been meaning to do, and that’s another task completed.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a break for my afternoon walk of course and so I went out with the NIKON D500 and peered over the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

This afternoon I wasn’t expecting to see very much because the weather was totally depressing. Dark, overcast and miserable. There were a few people walking around down there but not too many actually making themselves comfortable.

The members of the little group in this photograph were just about the only people standing around, although I suspect that they were more interested in the little kiddy that was running around

And of course, there was the fisherman with his net …

Nothing else was going on around here and I had the footpath on the top of the cliffs to myself

boat le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour, was swathed in darkness today in the miserable weather.

So much so that in fact I was surprised to note that it wasn’t illuminated, especially as the tide was well out today and the rock was exposed. There was a fisherman around there too, in his rubber boat, having a go at the sea bass and being singularly unsuccessful.

There wasn’t anything else going on out there this afternoon. For a change, there were no fishing boats in the Baie de Mont St Michel either. They must be having the weekend off.

So in the absence of anything else exciting, I carried on along the path and across the main road where a Mercedes actually stopped to let me cross. Wonders will never cease.

cherie d'amour chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe yellow fishing boat was down there in the chantier navale and once again the ladder was propped up against the hull so I couldn’t see the name on it.

With nothing better to do, I went for a walk down there for a closer look and I can now tell you that she’s called Cherie d’Amour. She’s up there on her chocks and blocks, but I couldn’t actually see any signs of work that was being undertaken on her.

They aren’t very big, these fishing boats. But all they do is to go back and to to the shellfish beds and lay the odd lobster pot. And as I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … they have a cover over the boat to stop the seabirds diving down to steal the catch.

aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was down there, I took the opportunity to have a look at the other more longer-term occupants of the Chantier Navale, like Aztec Lady over there.

She’s actually the longest inhabitant of the Chantier Navale and she’s been there longer than I can remember, and longer than I ever thought she would when she first arrived here all that time ago.

And despite all of the time that she’s been in here, she looks as if she has a long way to go yet. Her hull is looking rather shabby and in need of a coat of paint. I would have thought that they would have given the paintwork a good going over to freshen her up while she’s been here.

anakena chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe other boat that has been in here for a good length of time is this one, Anakena.

And seen from this angle, out of the water and up on blocks, you can see that she’s a very serious piece of kit, well beyond what you’d expect to see in a port like this. The carrying capacity of the portable boat lift is 95 tonnes and I bet that she’s pretty near the maximum.

What I do know is that she’s 23 metres long and 5 metres wide and she would have been the kind of boat that I would have considered for a trip up to the far North except that she’s only single-hulled.

Nothing else of any note in the Chantier Navale so I wandered off back towards the apartment.

f-brnq Piper PA-28R-200 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHalfway home, I started to encounter the aerial flotilla that I mentioned earlier.

This particular one is a Piper PA-28R-200, serial number F-BRNQ. I’ve no idea where she had come from but she was picked up on the radar just to the west of Chartres. She then disappeared off the radar somewhere to the south-west of St Hilaire du Harcouet about 15 minutes before I saw her.

Apparently she had taken off from Lognes at the south-east of Paris at 14:47 and landed at Granville at 16:22. And at 17:18 the took off again and flew back to Lognes. She spends a lot of time at Lognes, so it seems, so it’s a fair bet that Lognes is her home airfield.

light aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe saw the helicopter earlier on. That was the next thing to fly past, but then it was followed by this machine.

This is a type of machine that I’ve seen before. I recognise the shape, but it’s another thing to which I cannot put a name. It’s something else that I’ll probably discover quite soon after I’ve posted this on-line.

But I really don’t understand why it is that there would be so many aircraft, one after the other, flying past over my head this afternoon as I was walking home for my hot coffee. It did make me wonder what I’d be encountering next before I reached my own front door.

modern morgan v twin rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it goes without saying that after all of this I was going to encounter something unusual before my journey finished.

This machine roared past me as I crossed over the Rue des Juifs and at first glance I thought that it might have been the Holy Grail of road vehicles – a V-twin three-wheeler Morgan. That’s probably what it might be, although it’s not what I was hoping for. A lose look at the engine and the front of the chassis shows that it’s a modern reproduction.

What I was hoping to see was a 3-wheeler Morgan from the 1920s and 30s fitted with the old V-twin JAP engine, something that I would sell my soul to own if ever one became available. But I doubt whether one will ever come up for sale in the near future.

Back here there was football. TNS v Penybont on the internet. As expected, TNS ran out winners 1-0, but they were made to work hard for it.

Penybont defended really well but like most Welsh Premier League clubs, were devoid of very much firepower. Sam Snaith is the one player whom they have who can pull something out of nothing but taking him off the field after an hour because he hasn’t doe anything much as yet and replacing him with a player who doesn’t have the same flashes of inspiration and who needs much more service was a tactic that was never going to pay off.

And that’s a surprise considering that Penybont’s manager Rhys Griffiths was one of the greatest strikers that the WPL has ever produced.

While I was doing that I was copying the CDs that I had received from the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival. I’m going to be doing a radio programme in the near future that features music from the Festivals.

Tea was out of a tin tonight, followed by one of the desserts that I made the other day. And now I’ve done my notes, I’m off to bed and hopefully having a lie-in tomorrow. And about time too. I’m ready for this.

Thursday 15th April 2021 – THERE’S BEEN SOME …

hermes 1 going back into the water with the portable boat lift aztec lady nyx 3 anakena notre dame de cap lihou chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… excitement this morning over at the chantier navale.

If you look closely at this photo that I took this morning of the place, you’ll notice that Hermes I has now disappeared from its blocks in between Anakena and the pleasure craft Nys III and left them all on their own with Aztec Lady at the back and with the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou over there on the far right.

And if you look even closer still, you’ll see the portable boat lift poised over the drop into the water over on the left-hand side, with Hermes I suspended in its cradle.

So it’s goodbye to Hermes I after all of this time.

anakena nyx 3 aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not all of the excitement over there either.

When I was out there for my afternoon walk and went past the chantier navale, I noticed that there had been yet another change of occupant. The lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou has also gone back into the water, presumably on the same tide that took Hermes I away earlier.

Things are really moving over there right now. And here’s hoping that they will have a few replacements over there to keep the yard busy.

Talking of things being busy, I’ve been quite busy today too. And I started quite early too, having leapt out of bed just after the first alarm went off at 06:00.

After the medication I attacked the photos from North America from August 2019. And by the time that I knocked off for my shower I’d dealt with another big pile of them. I’ve now left the site of the Battle of Little Big Horn and I’m actually at a coal mine at Decker in Montana on my way to the site of the Battle of the Rosebud.

After the shower I headed off into town for my weekly shopping excursion, having a glance at what was going on at the chantier navale on my way.

roadworks rue general patton Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown in the Rue General Patton I had to step pretty smartly to avoid being squidged by a mini-digger.

It looks like it’s the local water board that are doing all of the work here, judging by the fittings and pipes that they had all lying around, so there’s probably been a water leak that has required fixing.

First port of call this morning was the railway station to pick up my rail tickets for my trip to Leuven next week.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I like to collect my tickets a few days before I travel because the printing machine at the station isn’t all that reliable. The ticket office doesn’t open until long after my train departs and if there’s a fault with the machine and it doesn’t print off my ticket when I arrive for my train, I’m snookered.

emptying tarmacadam for road surface rue du rocher Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way from the station to LIDL there was more excitement going on.

There’s a little narrow street close to the railway station and it looks as if they are replacing the tarmac on the street. They can’t get the lorry down there so they are tipping the tarmac into a small dumper that it taking the tarmac down to the end.

In LIDL there wasn’t much that I wanted so it was just the usual same old bits and pieces with a few extra things that I need sometimes, like yeast, oats, flour and suchlike, just to make up the weight. There’s no point in going all that way and back again and coming back with almost nothing.

Back here I sorted out the shopping, put the frozen food away and came in here to do some work but ended up going to sleep – a proper, deep, exhausting sleep for quite a while too.

As a result my lunch was quite late and then afterwards I made the desserts for the rest of the week. I had some of this powder stuff that when heated an mixed with milk, sets into a kind of mousse. With a few spoonfuls of desiccated coconut and a tin of apricots I made four desserts for the next few days.

And then I had a totally new experience. I attended a virtual funeral.

This was one to which I had been invited but due to the virus the number of attendees was quite restricted. There is a service offered by some of the larger crematoria where there’s a webcam and people can subscribe to the service. I’d been sent the log-in details and so I used them to watch the funeral

It was actually a quite moving experience

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the service it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk. Of course the first port of call was to see what was going on on the beach so I took myself across the car park to the wall at the end so I could look down there.

Despite the reasonable weather and the fact that the schools are still out for now, there were very few people down there on the beach. I had to look long and hard before I actually saw anyone. There were no bright yellow ones today to give the game away.

There was also the bird of prey flying around, and at one point it stopped to hover around. And just as I focused the camera it swopped down out of my shot.

trawler in english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a great deal of maritime activity out there this afternoon.

From my vantage point I could see out to sea and I noticed a couple more fishing boats out there in the English Channel, performing the same routine as the two yesterday had been, only slightly farther round to the west today.

The sun was really bright over there in that direction, and that made the photography difficult. But it was interesting to see the reflection of the clouds on the sea. That was certainly something different today.

There weren’t very many people wandering around this afternoon so it was pretty comfortable out there this afternoon, avoiding the crowds. Just one or two cars on the car park this afternoon.

trawlers in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last couple of days we’ve seen fishing boats working in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

There were a few more out there today as well. It seems that the offshore fishing grounds must be divided up into areas that they work by rota, and it must be the turn of the bay to be worked at the moment. I wonder how long they’ll be working that area before they move on.

From there I moved on too. Along the footpath on top of the cliffs towards the port.

We’ve already seen what has been going on at the chantier navale so I didn’t spent too much time there. With the tide being well out right now there was no activity of any kind going on in the outer harbour

cherry picker repairing aerial square pelley le pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much going on in the inner harbour either, but the people who were on the cherry picker yesterday working on the aerial in the Square. This seems to be a long, complicated job.

But one thing that I haven’t noticed before, and I don’t know why, is the red and white aerial on the skyline to the right of centre. And when I think of the number of times that I’ve photographed this end of town and the number of times that I’ve walked that way (and anyone who mentions “talcum power” is disqualified) including this morning, I’m surprised.

So instead I walked on back home to my apartment where I had my hot coffee and then came in here to do some work but instead, I fell asleep yet again. That’s something that’s really getting me down. It seems that the slightest effort is making me crash out and I’m fed up of this – fed up completely.

As a result I missed some of my guitar practice and that annoyed me even more. I’m not doing very well at all just recently.

For tea I made a curry with mushrooms, potatoes, a sweet potato and a tin of chick peas. It was delicious. And one of the puddings that I made, with coconut soya stuff and chocolate sauce was delicious.

Now I’m off to bed. later than usual but it can’t be helped. For the next two days I am not planning to go anywhere or do anything so I’m hoping to start on another one of the projects that I shelved a while ago.

There are quite a few of those.

Tuesday 6th April 2021 – JUST IN CASE …

trawler heading out to sea english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… you are wondering what the weather was like this afternoon when I was out for my afternoon walk, this photograph will tell you everything that you will need to know.

You can see the white caps on the waves as this trawler batters its way out to sea. Th wind from the north-east was probably about as strong as it has been for the last few weeks and despite, or maybe even because of the bright blue sky with barely a cloud visible, it was absolutely freezing out there. I was dressed in my winter clothing and I was absolutely perishing out there.

But let us turn to this morning, such as there was of it because having broken the habits of a lifetime and spent a Bank Holiday working, and with no Welsh lesson this morning, I had a lie-in instead.

And it was necessary too because it wasn’t until about 04:30 this morning that I felt myself dropping off to sleep.

Juqt for a change I’m not going to tell you what time I awoke because it’s rather embarrassing. But there was plenty of time to go off on a nocturnal ramble. So first thing after the medication was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from yesterday and today.

Yesterday’s are now on line for those of you who missed them but as for this morning I was at work in a new office somewhere. We were talking about the training and so on that we were getting. Someone was talking about how in a previous job she had to answer the phone and it had taken her 6 months to learn how the switchboard operated. I explained about my job where i worked once and just put at the switchboard and told how to work it out. They all looked astonished and asked why. I explained that in that job you just basically did everything and they wouldn’t wait a minute on saving a penny to make sure that the fewest number of people did the most amount of work there. The work drifted on, talking, and I was watching a video of some people assembling some things. They were using soldering, electric TIG welding and a few other bits and pieces to do these jobs. I was soldering mine and I wasn’t much good at it. I thought that I’d have a go at TIG welding one of these days when I had a moment. This conversation was going on and this guy looked up and saw me soldering. He said “God! Soldering! Did you do that?” I replied “soldering? That’s nothing! Just wait until I bring a plasma cutter in here!”

After that I went for lunch – porridge and toast which was very nice, followed by hot chocolate again. And then I attacked the radio programme from yesterday. Now that’s corrected and all runs together pretty well. In fact it’s even better than it was before.

The rest of the day, such as it was, was spent dealing with the photos of August 2019. I’ve dealt with the photos that I should have done yesterday and half of today’s batch. I’ll hopefully do the other half tomorrow along with tomorrow’s batch.

Right now, I’ve been to the site of the Waggon Box Fight in Story, Wyoming, and I’m now pulling up at the gates of Fort Phil Kearny, the scene of a disaster that befell the US Army that was second only to the humiliation of Little Big Horn.

There was a break for my afternoon walk of course, and I actually made it outside on time too.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing to do was to look over the wall at the end of the car park down onto the beach below and to see what there was going on.

Actually, today there wasn’t all that much beach to look down upon. The tide was quite well in just now. Nevertheless there were a few people down there sitting on the rocks. But pretty soon there will be one person less down there because someone was making for the steps that lead back up to the Rue du Nord. He’s clearly had enough of the weather this afternoon.

And it won’t be long before the other people join him in climbing up to the street because the tide will be there in a very short space of time and they will need to make good their escape.

jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite the bitter, wild wind this afternoon the views out to sea were terrific.

Away in the distance we could see the island of Jersey quite clearly. And it’s been a good few weeks since we’ve seen that. It wasn’t so clear that we could see the buildings of St Helier, something that we can do every now and again. We’ll need a better day than this in order to do that.

Once more, there were very few people around this afternoon on the path so I made my way quite freely along the top of the cliffs without anyone else getting in my way – quite a novelty for just recently.

trawler le coelacanthe english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was going about my business along the path on top of the cliffs, around the corner of the headland another trawler came a-chugging.

From my viewpoint I could see that it was one of he trawlers whom we know very well, and on enlarging the photo when I returned home later I discovered that it’s our old friend Le Coelacanthe

In fact there were several trawlers heading out to sea today, not just the two that we have seen so far. It seems that the Easter break is now over and with the ink now dry on the agreement to prolong access to the Channel Islands fisheries for the local boats, they are all heading out that way to take advantage of the situation.

man sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound on the other side of the headland we were in the shadow of the wind so it was reasonably warn there. This gave one or two people the opportunity to sit down on a bench and admire the view.

Not that there was very much of a view to admire right now because all of the trawlers that had set out from port had passed the headland and were now well out at sea, hidden from view by the headland. There wasn’t anything else going on in the bay and while the Brittany coast and Cancale might look really nice, it’s not exactly riveting over there.

To such an extent that I pushed off along the headland path towards the viewpoint over the port.

anakena hermes 1 lys noir notre dame de cap lihou aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint I had a good look down to the chantier navale to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

And we have a change in occupancy down there today.Hermes I, which I suspected was being prepared to go back into the water is still there up on her blocks along with Anakena, Lys Noir and Aztec Lady but they have now been joined by Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, the local lifeboat.

While I was watching her they were revving up her engine and two guys down there were observing the smoke that was coming out of her exhaust. Another couple of men were spraying her hull with a pressure washer while a couple more were examining a part of her superstructure.

So what’s the matter with her then?

crane ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was even more activity going on over at the ferry port.

Chausiais is over there right up at the end of the quay but there are none of the Joly France boats were there. However the red crane is partially extended so it must be doing something interesting.

Just for a change just recently I wasn’t overflown by any aeroplanes this afternoon. I was able to come home quite tranquilly for my hot coffee and to carry on my work editing the photographs.

That took me up to guitar time where I had an enjoyable time working out the chords to Led Zeppelin’s “The Battle of Evermore”. Of course I don’t have Sandy Denny here to help me, but this would be just the kind of thing that Castor would be able to do were she here.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice followed by a slice of my jam roly-poly and soya coconut dessert. And I’ll tell you something, and that is that the roly-poly is cooked to perfection and it tasted absolutely delicious. That was a good idea for dessert, that was.

Now that my notes are written, I’m off to bed. The alarm is set for the morning and I’m due to restart work properly so I need to have a really good sleep and be on top form.

That’s not going to be easy because if I can crash out like I did today after all of this sleep and a late start to the day, I can certainly do that with a 06:00 start, can’t I?

Friday 2nd April 2021 – IT’S BANK HOLIDAY …

… today. Good Friday – the day that follows Maundy Thursday, which presumably follows Sheffield Wednesday. And so I had a lie-in and didn’t surface until about 10:30.

Mind you, I didn’t go to bed until 02:30 this morning. And that wasn’t a wasted time either because I spent the couple of hours when I couldn’t sleep working on today’s batch of photograph and probably did about 20 of them too before I went to bed.

Plenty of time for me to go off on one of my travels. Abd hello, Rhys. It’s been a while since you’ve been on a nocturnal voyage with me. I was on a holiday with a group of people and part of this holiday involved a train trip across the USA. There was the opportunity to step out from this train ride for 24 hours and catch the train the following day so I made arrangements to meet Rhys. The train pulled into the station and I climbed out. A couple of other people climbed out as well and went their separate ways. I was waiting because I couldn’t see Rhys’s car. In the meantime I had my rucksack and everything so I took a photograph of the train. Then I noticed Rhys sitting in the bar with a pint of beer in front of him. We said “hello” and he got up to go. I said “no, we don’t have to go – get your drink, drink your beer”. he replied that it wasn’t his beer but the beer of a friend of his. He’d bought it though. Anyway so we came out and started to get my stuff. I had the idea that I would follow him in Caliburn because for some reason Caliburn was there. Then I thought that I didn’t have the insurance on Caliburn so it probably wasn’t a very good idea. We got my stuff and threw it into Rhys’s car. He asked “are you staying the night with us?”. I replied “I don’t have any plans at all” which was quite true. The train was a steamer and had a huge load of freight, oil tankers, that kind of thing on the front of it before you reached the passenger accommodation which was at the rear of the train.

After I’d had my medication I came in here and transcribed the dictaphone notes and then finished off today’s photographs. There was a break for breakfast of course.

With it being Easter I’d dragged out a pack of frozen Hot Cross Buns from the freezer. They’ll keep me going for the Easter period. After all, Easter isn’t Easter without Hot Cross Buns. A big thank you to Liz and Terry for bringing them to me from the UK at Christmas.

When I’d finished the photos I had to go back again and amend some of them. For some reason that I have yet to understand, I never synchronised the times on the two cameras that I was using.

With being in the car now, I’m using the NIKON 1 J5 much more than I did before while I was in the Arctic and there’s a one-hour difference between the time on that camera and on the big NIKON D500.

What’s happening is that I’m editing a batch of photos on one camera and suddenly discovering that I’ve missed a batch off the other, so I have to go back and do some renumbering in order to keep everything in sequence.

But anyway, now they are in proper order to date, I’m now heading down a dirt-track road near the border between Montana and Wyoming looking for the site of the Battle (if you can call it that) of Powder River in 1876.

After that I started again on the arrears of my Central European trip last year. By the time that I knocked off there are just another 12 photos for which I need to write the text, and then it’s all done and I can turn my attention to the trip on Spirit of Conrad down the Brittany coast.

There was a break of course while I went off on my afternoon walk around the headland.

man on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis particular guy down there on the beach is very well camouflaged and it’s difficult to pick him out amongst the rocks down there.

But I don’t blame him at all for being wrapped up like that because while the sun was bright and there were very few clouds, we were back with the wicked wind again and the temperature must have dropped 15 degrees since yesterday. There weren’t any people out there sunning themselves on the beach and I wasn’t surprised at all about that.

It might be a Bank Holiday in the UK but it isn’t in France so the schools are still in and there weren’t all that many people wandering around. I had the path on top of the cliffs pretty much to myself this afternoon as I wandered along.

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut while there weren’t so many people walking around on the ground, there was a lot of activity going on in the air.

As I was walking along the path I heard a very familiar noise in the air and, sure enough, a minute or two later an autogyro flew past overhead. I was expecting it to be our old friend the yellow one but in fact it’s one that I’ve never seen before – a bright red one. A different one, unless it’s the yellow one that’s been repainted.

She’s probably on her way to the airport at the back of Donville les Bains, although I’ve no idea where it is that she will have come from. She never seems to file a flight plan and flies so low that she’s underneath the radar.

concrete reinforcement bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAcross the lawn I went, via a different route today that took me across the ruins of a bunker that housed 15 German soldiers during World War II.

What caught my eye was the wire meshing in the roof that reinforced the concrete that they had poured for the roof. It’s a good heavy duty stuff probably about 10mm in diameter and would withstand most things when set in concrete.

The construction of the Atlantic Wall was supposed to be Hitler’s great secret but what he didn’t realise was that he was betrayed by this even right at the very beginning. The company that had the contract for supplying the concrete was a Belgian company that was run by a guy who was actually a Secret Agent for the Russians, so he told the Russians and they told the British.

Of course the British never let on that they knew, because to admit that the Communists had helped them would have been a terrible thing to do, and it wasn’t until the British wartime papers were released in 1994 that the world knew about it.

f-hgsm Robin DR400 160 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs if the autogyro wasn’t enough, while I was there standing on the roof of the bunker an aeroplane flew past overhead.

This one is F-HGSM, Robin Dr400-160. She is owned by the Aero Club Des Grèves de Mont St Michel and took off from Rennes Airport at 11:49 this morning. She disappeared off the flight radar when she was half-way along the route to Granville so I imagine that she’s been doing a little bit of low-flying exercises as well.

Having photographed the plane I walked down to the end of the headland to see what was going on out in the bay. But the answer to that was “nothing at all” so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs down towards the viewpoint overlooking the port.

lorry load of chains unloaded by pallet lifter rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere was something extremely interesting.

There was a lorry parked down there with a pile of chains in the back. And there was this pallet-lifter nearby, and another small pile of chains on the ground at the back of the lorry. It looks as if the new mooring chains for the harbour have arrived at last and the pallet-lifter is taking them out of the back of the lorry.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw at least one of the diggers being taken away by a lorry. Today, it seems that both of them have gone now. I wonder if they will be back after the Easter Holiday.

joly france victor hugo fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe diggers might have gone from the harbour but most of the fishing boats are still here, tied up at the pontoons.

Now idea why they weren’t out working today. There was plenty of wind but the seas weren’t all that rugh so I would have expected them to have been out working.

The two Channel Island ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville are still in there tied up. They won’t be going anywhere for a good while yet, and not at all if the Channel Islanders refuse to put their hands in their pockets and contribute towards the subsidy to keep the ferries running.

And one of the Joly France boats is over there too. There must be nothing going on at the Ile de Chausey either.

Back here there was football on the internet. A really important match in the Welsh Premier League between Penybont and Haverfordwest County. This is the last weekend in the first half of the season. The League splits into 2 after this weekend – the top 6 compete for the four European places and the bottom 6 compete to avoid the two relegation places.

These two clubs were 6th and 7th in the league and whoever won would go into the top half and whoever lost would be in the bottom 6. From the kick-off it was quite clear that Penybont would win this – barring accidents of course. They were fitter, keener, much more organised and played the ball around between themselves with much more skill and confidence.

And I was right too. The final score of 2-0 to Penybont was exactly what I would have expected from the play. The only surprise was that Penybont were as low in the table as 6th because they looked much better than that today.

While I was eating my tea – more of those soya nuggets – I was at a party. My friend Esi was having a Zoom party and I’d been invited. It was nice to see her, even if it was via the computer, because we haven’t met since Christmas.

And while I was washing up, I dropped and broke a storage jar. I’m not having much luck with that.

So now I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow at Noz and Leclerc so I need to be on form. I won’t be having another lie in until Sunday and Monday. Can I survive until then?

Wednesday 31st March 2021 – THIS WAS ANOTHER …

… day when I missed most of the afternoon due to crashing out on the chair in the office. And I’ve no idea why because I had the usual amount of sleep last night and I have to say that I slept quite soundly until the alarm went off.

When the first alarm went off, I leapt out of bed quite rapidly too, so it can’t have been a lack of sleep.

First task today after the medication was to begin the photos for August 2019. The actual preparation took a great deal of time before I could actually start on the editing. And then I couldn’t find the dashcam files for my trip around northern USA.

That actually wasn’t as desperate as it might sound because it led to a sorting out of the files on the big back-up disk. There were plenty of duplicate files and in the end by the time I’d had them properly filed (which took much more time than you might think), the amount of free space on the drive had increased to 1.18TB.

So finally having set up all of the base files and the like and created the directories I set off to start the editing. I was intending to do 30 before I stopped and I stuck at it until it was done, even if it meant a rather late lunch.

There were quite a few photos that would be of interest to various Groups on my Social Network so I had to prepare them for publication, and I also had A LOT OF FUN WITH A FEW OF THEM.

By the time that I knocked off for lunch, I was standing in the Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood, South Dakota. That’s the last resting place of all kinds of famous people such as Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, as well as a few other people whose deaths WERE EXTREMELY INTERESTING.

After lunch I came back into the office to carry on with my work but to my surprise I crashed out. And it was a long, deep crashing out as well, right up to the point where I missed my afternoon walk. I was about an hour late setting out for my trip around the headland.

people swimming in water beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen you see these people here in the water you are probably thinking that we were having a nice warm day.

In fact it was rather warm and there was little wind, but I wouldn’t have said that it was warm enough for people to take to the waters. You wouldn’t catch me going into the water at this time of year, but then again, I’m pretty well-known for being nesh when it comes to things like this.

And so having looked up and down the beach for anything interesting and finding nothing at all going on, I cleared off along the path on the top of the cliffs towards the headland.

marker light english channel ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the previous photo you couldn’t see the mist that was shrouding the area this afternoon, but here it is.

You can just about make out the Ile de Chausey on the horizon over there but you couldn’t see very much further beyond that. There was no chance of seeing any boats or anything else further out there, and the Brittany coast was quite obscured.

In the foreground is a marker light for the rocks at the foot of the cliffs. I say that it’s a marker light but I’ve often been out there at night as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I’ve never seen it lit. It looks as if it might probably be redundant.

From there I passed over the lawn and the car park towards the end of the headland.

peche à pied le loup mechanical diggers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t actually make the end of the headland straight away because the action going on out at Le Loup caught my eye.

There were the people – crowds of them today – at the peche à pied seeing as the tide is so far out this afternoon, but I was much more interested in the two mechanical diggers that had made their way out there to Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the mouth of the harbour.

If you examine the photo closely you’ll see that there is a pipeline that runs between them. That’s the one that we saw them laying the other day. And I know what it is now. I’m told that it’s to “evacuate the waste from the harbour”. What that actually means, I’m really not so sure but it doesn’t look very healthy to me.

Down at the headland there were a few people wandering around but nothing going on out at sea, so I carried on for my walk along the path on top of the headland towards the docks.

hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint overlooking the port, I had a good look down into the chantier navale.

No change in occupancy in there this afternoon but there was a frenzy of work being undertaken on Hermes 1. The top deck is swathed in a tarpaulin and there’s something going on underneath. There’s a compressor going off and making quite a racket and if you look carefully at the photo you’ll see a cloud of either steam or water vapour coming out of a gap in the tarpaulin.

Her hull is masked off in brown paper presumably for a painting spree some time in the near future. There has been a great deal of work being undertaken on her and she’s having a thorough going-over.

komatsu digger port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it’s after 17:00 and it’s knocking-off time for most of the workers right now.

That presumably applies to the workers down in the harbour too. Here’s one of the diggers heading up the ramp at the outer harbour where the diggers park up overnight and at high tide so I reckon that he is knocking off for the night right now.

The guy down there carrying the baguettes seems to be quite interested in whatever is going on down there, because there is plenty of work going on in the outer harbour that we can’t see in this photo

workmen digger laying chains port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe need to look at this photo to see what has caught the eye of the man with the baguettes.

One of the diggers might be knocking off but the other one was working away quite hard this afternoon, along with the two men who are in attendance.

What they are actually doing is to sink into the silt some concrete blocks to which they will be attaching some heavy chains to which the boats will tie up when the tide is in.

And if you look closely at the photo here, you’ll see the heavy chain that they will be using. Having been out on the Spirit of Conrad I have seen them fish for a sunken mooring chain with a boat hook, pull it up onto the deck, tie the mooring rope to it and then drop the chain back overboard.

Having had a good walk I came back and the first thing that I did after making my coffee was to listen to the dictaphone, something that I had forgotten to do this morning. Last night we were talking about the work that I used to do, wandering around the town making notes. I’d been looking at some adverts in the newspaper for cars. I was making notes for cars for sale. It turned out that one of my colleagues owned a few of the cars that were advertised and he turned round and said “come on, what’s your price for these?”. I relied “I don’t really have a clue. I have to see them first for if they are white they are no good for what I want. We started talking about minicabs again, the firms that were based in Smallthorne. I was talking about two that came up, one opposite the camping shop and the other one a bit further down. Someone was saying “yes, they’ve changed a lot of their cars recently. They have a lot of new cars”. I said that I’d have to go out on the prowl like I used to. I told them the story of the time that I brought a coachload of people in to drop off in Hanley and how while I was waiting for them I was wandering around the town making notes of what was going on. I was talking to the guy who had taken over from me after I had left. He was saying “you only seem to be working one of your cases”. I replied “I’m not there any more am I?”. He replied “yes, there’s only one of your cases still working. The others are sitting there and there’s one that seems to be totally abandoned. There again, there was nothing owing in that particular respect. It was going to be a ‘nil’ case anyway”.

After that I did some work on the 2020 trip around Central Europe before knocking off to have my hour on the guitar. That was quite enjoyable and passed quite quickly.

Tea was veggie balls and pasta with vegetables followed by my apple crumble with soya coconut dessert stuff.

But now that my notes are finished I’m off to bed. I’m going shopping in the morning so I expect that I’ll probably be totally exhausted tomorrow as well. But at least I’m making progress, even if it isn’t as quick as I would like.

Tuesday 23rd March 2021 – WE’VE BEEN HAVING …

fisherman english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… something of a nautical day again today instead of the aviation day that we had at the weekend.

This guy out there in the English Channel in his little cabin cruiser with a couple of fishing roads hanging out over the back is just typical of what was going on out there this afternoon.

It’s quite possible that it has something to do with the arrival of the Parisians fleeing confinement at their main address and heading out to their second homes of whatever accommodation they have been able to hire at short notice, but the sea was absolutely heaving with people this afternoon in all kinds of water craft.

man plankboarding english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd when I say “all kinds of water craft” I really do mean that because this is yet another example of what was going on down below me in the English Channel.

Someone has decided to go out for a paddle on his paddle board and if he has paddled like that all the way around the Pointe du Roc from the port de plaisance, then he’s been doing really well because that’s not going to be an easy paddle, even when the weather is calm and the sea is smooth.

Actually the weather was quite calm this afternoon and it was rather warm, although not that warm that taking off your shirt was ever going to be any kind of option as far as I was concerned.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis on the other hand is more like the kind of maritime activity that we are accustomed to see around here these days.

The tide is well in and the harbour gates are open so every now and again a trawler will set sail and head out to the open sea for another bout of fishing activity.

Regardless of the effects of Brexit to date, fishing is still continuing out there in the English Channel and the Bay of Granville although with relations between the UK and the EU deteriorating rapidly as the UK breaches Law after Law and Agreement after Agreement, how long this situation will continue is anyone’s guess.

This morning, I was up once more just after the first alarm went off and after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been but to my surprise there was nothing at all on there. I must have slept soundly all the way through until the alarm.

With nothing to transcribe on the dictaphone I attacked the photos from July 2019. Right now I’m just pulling into the Travel Inn Motel in Lamoure, North Dakota, and there’s only about 90 to do now before the end of the month.

That’s only part of the problem though. For the month of August having made an initial run-through of the photos, there are 2091 of those that survived the first run-through so bearing in mind that many of them will produce two or even more images, we are looking at probably 2500 photos that will be done. And about 20 videos too.

There was the Welsh lesson this morning too. Having completed my day’s supply of photos I did some preparation for my course and then armed with a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of my sourdough fruit bread, I went for my lesson.

In contrast to last week it went rather better although it’s sad that I have forgotten more than I seem to be remembering right now.

For the rest of the day I haven’t stopped for a meal as I started a project that is taking more time than ever I anticipated that it would and I can see the computer being left on all the time while I’m away in Leuven. I have a couple of computer drives that failed a while ago and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall I’ve been trying to get them to fire up.

A few weeks ago I managed to make one of them work and so this afternoon I started to access the sectors manually. It’s probably 20 years since I’ve done anything like this and while computers have speeded up dramatically in that time, using pseudo-DOS hasn’t and hard drives are measured in Terabytes these days not Megabytes.

Having started at about 14:30 this afternoon and it’s now 21:50 and it’s done 2.5%. I thought that it would be a slow, laborious process but not quite as slow as this. And that’s not to say that I’ll be able to salvage anything. If any individual item of the data has spread over a defective sector then that will not be recoverable for a start.

While the computer was doing what it could do on its own I nipped out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlthough there wasn’t all that much beach to be on right now because of the tide, it was proving to be quite popular this afternoon. The weather was really beautiful this afternoon with bright sunshine, bright blue sky and very few clouds in the sky.

There were plenty of people wandering around there on the paths too. Not much respect for social distancing and not as much respect for mask-wearing either. But I’m sure that you are fed up of me going on about all of this. It will become as obsessive as the pathetic parking that features on here when I’m having one of my moments.

Instead, I pushed off along the path down to the end by the lighthouse and across the lawn at the bottom.

police interaction rue du cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I reached the end of the lawn by the car park I bounced into an enormous pile of excitement down there by the roundabout.

From this viewpoint I wasn’t able to understand exactly what was going on but there were a couple of police motorcyclists down there and they seem to have pulled over a motorcyclist and his female pillion passenger.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, while I’m not usually averse to going down and asking what is going on, there are moments when it is clearly inappropriate and this is one of them. I’m sure that they didn’t want me going down there intruding at a moment like this so I left them to it.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallInstead, I concentrated on what else was going on all around me.

The most important thing that is happening right now is the reroofing that’s going on down at the College Malraux. As you can see, they seem to be making some reasonable progress since the last time that I had a good moan about it and they now have ripped off yet another bay on the roof.

They have almost finished putting the laths on there now too so it looks as if the fitting of the slates won’t be too far behind. It’ll be interesting to see where they will have reached when I come back from Leuven on Saturday afternoon, assuming that they let me out of Castle Anthrax.

zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier on I mentioned that there was all kinds of activity going on out at sea this afternoon and all types of water craft out there at sea this afternoon.

From my vantage point at the end of the headland I could see this zodiac roaring away into the bay down below. There didn’t seem to be any fishing rods on display but that isn’t to say that they are or aren’t fishermen. But the lifejacket that the passenger was wearing looked to be rather more substantial than you might expect for someone who would have to wield a fishing rod around.

Anyway they soon cleared off round the corner and out of sight towards the port so whatever it is that they were doing, they seems to have finished it and the tide has still a good while to go before the harbour is inaccessible.

While I was admiring the zodiac out in the bay I was overflown by a light aircraft. We’re having some aerial activity to day too.

f-bukk Wassmer WA54 Atlantic pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis aeroplane is F-BUKK, which tells me that it’s a Wassmer WA54 Atlantic, a design of aeroplane that dates from as far back as 1966. They have a special place in aviation history as they are the first aeroplanes built of composite materials.

They are actually probably the only type of true passenger aeroplanes that we have seen flying out of Granville airport as they have seats for three passengers as well as the pilot.

This one is a WA54 rather that a WA 50-something else because it has the larger 180hp Lycoming “O-360-A1LD” engine rather than the 150 hp Lycoming “O-320-E2A” engine. 55 of this model were built.

She had taken off from Granville and gone for a good flight down the Brittany coast almost as far as lannion where she turned round and came back to Granville again.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir freddy land aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the chantier navale there was a surprise waiting for me.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the mobile boat lift hovering away over Hermes 1 and I speculated that it had come to load up the trawler and drop it back into the water at the following high tide.

Anyway, I don’t know what must have happened but Hermes 1 is still there and the mobile boat lift is back in its parking place. All that I can think of is that they needed to reposition her chocks so that she would sit in a different position so that they could work on another part of her hull.

unloading lorry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were things going on in the inner harbour this afternoon too. A large lorry seemed to be unloading its charge down by the loading bay.

Presumably this means that we are going to be having a visit from one or other or maybe even both of the two Jersey freighters in the course of the next couple of days.

From there I headed back to home and my hot mug of coffee and to see how my manual analysis of the disk was doing. And, as I said, it was very, very slowly. This is going to be a very long job.

While it was doing bits and pieces that I could leave it alone to do, I did a little more of the arrears of my trip to Central Europe and I’m now IN A HOTEL IN FÛRTH in Central Germany.

After the guitar practice I carried on with the disk analysis and then I wrote out my notes for the day. And now I’m off to bed. I have an early start tomorrow as I’m off to Castle Anthrax and there’s a lot to do before I go.

Sunday 21st March 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

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

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

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

So what’s all going on there then?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 23rd January 2021 – IT WAS A …

bernie sanders beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall … really nice afternoon on the beach today.

You had to be well-wrapped up though because there was a biting wind and it was quite cold despite the sun. A decent pair of mittens would be a great help in these conditions so you have to be prepared.

As for me, I wasn’t prepared at all for this morning. I heard the three alarms but that didn’t do me any good at all. It’s a good job that I had decided not to go to the shops today because leaving my bed at … errr … 09:40 is not going to be any good for anything.

In fact I was feeling so dreadful again this morning that after the medication although I did spend some time working out “Tangerine” on the acoustic guitar I didn’t do very much else at all except try to recover myself. I’m really going to have to do so much better than this on Monday morning with an 04:30 start.

It wasn’t until after lunch that I started to feel myself again … “disgusting habit” – ed … and the first task was to organise my voyage on Monday. As well as printing off the rail tickets for Belgium and checking the hotel log-in details, I have to fill out a travel warrant for the Belgian government.

The way things are, I’m not allowed to travel unless I tell them where I’m coming from, how I’m arriving, where I was sitting and where I’ll be staying. And until I receive an SMS from the Government I can’t travel.

But luckily where I live is in a “safe” zone so although there was some wait for the confirmation, it was pretty straightforward.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving received that, I could then go out for my afternoon walk.

As I mentioned earlier there was bright sunlight everywhere but the wind was fierce and it was quite cold. My route took me off along the path around the walls past the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset for I had an errand to run in town.

Not the form for the Sécurité Sociale – I’d missed the Post and in any case I didn’t have a current rental statement. But returning home from the Estate Agent’s on Thursday I found that they had written to me to tell me that I had the payment for the rubbish collection to make.

With being away next week, I couldn’t let it hang about or I’ll probably forget so it seemed to be a good plan for me to take it into town this afternoon for my walk.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith it being such a nice day I decided to go for a little walk along the Plat Gousset and even take a stroll along the beach.

The tide was just on its way out so everywhere was quite wet but nevertheless people were still enjoying themselves. There were quite a few families with kids playing around there too making the most of it.

From there I headed back into town to the Estate Agent’s and slipped the envelope with my cheque in it through their letter box and while I was looking at the window I saw someone pick it up. So that’s another issue resolved without any great effort.

pointing rampe du mont regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back up the hill towards home I went past the end of the Rampe du Mont Regret to see how they were doing with the pointing.

And honestly, if this is the best that they can do with at least four men working for two days, I’m clearly in the wrong job. That’s about 2 days’ work for me, I reckon, from when I was repointing my house. And I was mixing my mortar by hand too, not with a machine.

Back at home I had a coffee and then made a start on the Chateau de Chalus. And I believe that I can see daylight et the end of the tunnel here. And about time too. It’s taken me long enough. Give me another 6 months and it might be done.

Tea tonight was a vegan burger with pasta and veg and vegan cheese sauce. I’m enjoying making this, and it’s working really well. No pudding though – I’m not that hungry tonight. That cheese sauce is quite filling.

Eventually I managed to find the time to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

There was something about being with a woman but I can’t remember who it was. We were out in the wilds of Arizona somewhere in the desert. We came across a little place and started to chat with the proprietor, rather like I did at that motel AT HANKSVILLE IN UTAH IN 2002. He was telling me about his theory of how people’s birth places and the dates affected their future lives. This was something that I had heard before so I listened. he showed me a magazine or something like a newspaper that he had written. I grabbed a copy to read and asked my friend if she wanted a copy. She said no, she’d share mine. I could see that she wasn’t interested. She asked “what does it say about you?”. “I’m a new computer hard drive” something like that. It turned out that I was looking at the classified ads and this one had been placed on my birthday. The talk came round to horse riding and what were we doing around here. Why were we interested in learning to ride horses? I replied that it was one of our plans one day to cross the USA by horse and see all of the sights. Then we ended up back home, 3 of us me, my partner and another young guy. I’d been playing around with my computer and experimenting with a new operating system. It wasn’t particularly brilliant and was making the hard drive run really noisy. My machine was part-dismantled so it was noisier still as there was no soundproofing. When I went to switch it off it went through its close-down procedure but the racket was intense so I said to someone “I don’t think much of this making all this noise. It’s a bit noisy, isn’t it?”. They replied “yes” so I said goodnight and went off to bed.

Tomorrow is a lie-in – as if I haven’t had enough of those just recently. But there’s plenty to do and of course I shan’t be here from Monday onwards.

But that start at 04:30. I’d better get my beauty sleep.

Friday 5th June 2020 – I HAD A …

joly france baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… better day today (not that it could have been much worse of course).

So while you admire the photos of Joly France fighting her way out of harbour into the howling gale and the seagull that photobombed me while I was doing it, I’ll tell you all about it.

First of all, it goes without saying that when I crashed out yesterday evening, I switched off the alarms with the intention of sleeping until I awoke.

And that was until all of about 00:30

seagull photobomb joly france baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour granville manche normandy france eric hallThe first task when I awoke was to deal with the notes and the photos from yesterday.

That took me up until about 03:00 because there was other stuff to deal with too, like the notes of a voyage or two that I’d travelled. And then I went back to bed.

While I was in bed I was off on a couple of mega-voyages, and I dunno why I always seem to have the most interesting trips when I’m not feeling too well.

And some of the stuff I can’t recount because I bet that you are having your tea right now and you certainly wouldn’t thank me for spoiling it for you.

joly france baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour granville manche normandy france eric hallWe were at the radio last night working and I was asking about something or other to be done. They said that they had this new reporter in, which annoyed me rather. We were talking about a live concert that he had done of some singer, which I had dismissed as being nothing. But it turned out that it had had over a million listeners to the podcast and even I was impressed with that. It gave the whole place a new impetus. Everyone seemed to be much more excited and much more energetic. They had started working with a couple of new programs and we had been given some accounts so that we could use these new programs even if we didn’t know what they were all about. I started to think to myself “why the hell did I want to leave when I’m having such a good time with it now?” Even though we were swamped with work it was all going really well. I’d had this habit of getting stuff that I didn’t want to deal with, just putting it away and not even thinking about it. It was the pressure of that that had been getting to me. But I was actually working on a file and a couple of old pieces of post from January fell out. I looked at them and thought “why the hell did I file these anyway? What needs to be done is just so simple” so I sat down and made a start on dealing with these pieces which was only going to take me 5 minutes anyway.

joly france english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was also the question of the MoT servicing book – a big book, narrow and quite long and we wrote in all the details of the cars, what was being done on them and so on. I’d just finished one batch and I wondered if there was another book so I had to go outside to find the guy who was responsible. He told me “there’s plenty of room in there – you just aren’t looking properly”. I had a good look through and found that there was another batch of stuff in there, another batch of forms that I’d managed to miss

I must have awoken to dictate the notes of the above, and when I went back to sleep I went straight back into the dream in more or less the same place, walking to Nantwich past the Cedars and down Millstone (actually Birchin) Lane and ended up back at the place again. It seemed that I’d gone off last night and left all the drawers empty and all the spares open and I couldn’t find half the stuff. I realised that I had left them out lying everywhere. By this time we were very busy with people coming in and someone else was demonstrating a technique that he had used. He’d been looking for something in some other stores and they were going through a pile of this stuff and he’d actually found a modern-day use for a pile of stuff like on one occasion he’d made a stand for the vacuum cleaner using bits that were lying around and he showed us how he’d done it but he couldn’t undo it though because no-one had the correct screwdriver. It was strange just stepping back into that dream where I’d left off
One thing though was that I was smoking at some particular time and I don’t know why I’d started smoking. I’d burnt myself with a cigarette that I was holding so I went to stub it out thinking that this is a crazy thing to be doing anyway.
Later still We were on board a ship and there had been some kind of incident going on between a woman and a man and the man being given a big bill for his services. As a result the girl who ran the accounting office was not very pleased about it and she came to talk to me about it. Just after she finished there was a knock on my door and it was from one of my cabin friends from a nearby cabin wanting to know if I was ready to come down for breakfast. I had to search for my keys as usual then we set off out. He said what about the third guy who usually came with us that i didn’t particularly like. But there was a ribbon pinned to his door which said “lie in”. Obviously he was wanting a lie-in so we went downstairs. We were on about the 8th floor and the breakfast was on the 2nd or something. We got down to the 6th and there was a small breakfast being set out there and the woman seemed to think that we were from the party that was having the breakfast there. She told us to help ourselves. One of the girls with us went over and grabbed a glass of orange juice. I thought “I could always drink orange juice” so I went over to grab one but it turned out to be apple juice and there was only a mouthful in the beaker and there wasn’t any more in any of the jugs.

After all of that, what surprised me was the fact that with not having gone to bed until 03:00 and done all of that, I was wide awake again at 07:30. That was rather astonishing.

Mind you, that isn’t to say that I was out of bed by then. 08:30 was a much more realistic time to be out of bed.

It took a good while to type out all of my notes, as you can imagine. And I wasn’t feeling in the best of form either so it took even longer than it might have done.

No breakfast either – I still wasn’t feeling like eating anything.

For lunch though, I did try some food. While I had been searching around in the freezer the other day I had come across a pot of carrot and coconut soup. Today I defrosted that, warmed it up and ate it with the last of my home-made bread.

And to my surprise, it stayed down too.

What I’ve been doing for most of the day has been to finish off the radio project that i started. I’d dictated the text a couple of days ago but hadn’t edited it so that was the first job.

When that was finished, and the speech for my invited guest was included, I then had to edit into sections, find the pairs of tracks that I had coupled together, join everything up by using the sections of text to make a bridge between the different pairs.

That left some time over, so knock 30 seconds off that for the outro speech and then find a track of the right length that sounds like an outro track.

That track needs to be remixed to match the volume level of the rest of the programme, the speech needs to be written, recorded and edited, and then everything joined together.

It overran the hour by 5 seconds so I had to edit out 5 seconds from somewhere and then it could be saved.

fishing boat storm english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was a break of course, while I went out for my afternoon walk. Just because I’m feeling ill doesn’t mean that things have to stop.

It was a horrible day out there today. It had been raining quite heavily by the looks of things and there was a howling gale blowing too. This poor little fishing boat pulling its dinghy behind it was really struggling to fight its way back through the waves into port.

As I have said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … my hat goes off to all of them out there in weather like this

donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk took me down to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord.

Nothing happening on the beach s you might expect. The wind had driven almost everyone back inside. And there was some kind of miserable grey sky down the coast that was causing a peculiar kind of light down at Donville-les-Bains.

And it hasn’t escaped my notice that they have put out all of the beach cabins down at Donville-les-Bains. They are really getting ready for summer down there.

marker buoys plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallMy attention had been drawn in the previous photo to a series of yellow buoys strectched out across the end of the beach so i went for a closer look.

No clear evidence what they are there for though. The only thing that I can think of is that they are a mark to indicate to people the limit beyond which they are not allowed to swim.

Mind you, I think that it will take more than that to stop anyone swimming further out. Barbed wire and machine guns would probably be more effective.

roofing place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk carried me on around the walls to the viewpoint that overlooks the Place Marechal Foch.

The roofing job down there has been going on for a while so I had another look to see where they were. And they seem to have finished what they were doing and the scaffolding has come down.

But there are still a few piles of slates and it looks as if the scaffolding is going up around the back of the building. So there’s more roofing to come, I reckon.

seagull chick egg rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued around the walls and into the Square Maurice Marland.

There was a young family there leaning on the walls admiring my favourite mummy seagull and I was talking about the babies when mummy suddenly stood up and went for a walk.

We could then see quite clearly that she seems to have one chick and there’s one egg there that has yet to hatch. So whether it will or not, that remains to be seen.

seagull chick rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallHowever my particular mummy seems to be a little behind with her offspring.

On the next roof we had a mummy perched there watching her babies already stagger around taking their first steps.

She had two babies, but one of them had disappeared behind the chimney breast before I could prepare the camera. But the other one put on a little dance for me before flopping down exhausted on the nest, with a very proud mummy looking on.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving watched the seagulls for long enough I wandered off an continued my little walk along the walls.

Down in the harbour I’d noticed a little funnel sticking up from the loading bay in the bocks and it didn’t look like Chausiais so I went to see who it was. And sure enough, Thora has braved the storms and gales to come into port.

And she didn’t hang about long either. Another quick turnround for when I went out later, she had gone off back to Jersey.

fishing boats on tow port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallA little earlier we’d seen a little fishing boat fighing its way through the waves as it pulled its dinghy in towards the port.

By the time that I had completed my circuit I was treated to some kind of exhibition of I’m not really sure what it was. I reckon that that’s the boat down there the front one, that we saw struggling through the storm and it seems to have two dinghies behind it.

But as to what the other boat is doing down there with it, I really don’t know.

Back here at the apartment I carried on with my work. It took until 20:00 to complete it, with no pause for the guitars and no food either. I wasn’t hungry and in any case I wanted to finish this exercise before the weekend and I’m glad that I did.

storm jersey english channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallMy evening walk and runs was something of a disaster this evening.

One look at this photo will tell you why. There was a howling headwind blowing all the way down the Rue du Roc and it was difficult enough to walk, never mind run up there. And down on the clifftop I could see that Jersey, the ile de Chausey and the Brittany coast were taking a right pasting.

The storm was heading my way, and pretty quickly too. I didn’t think that this was the moment to be hanging about.

trawler pleasure boat chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFinally, I managed to break out into a run, the one along the top of the cliffs past the chantier navale.

And there’s been a change of occupant in there yet again. This time, one of the long-term resident trawler-type of fishing boats has gone back into the water, and its place taken by a little pleasure cruiser.

That’s a nice piece of kit, that boat, and I could see myself cruising around in a white cap in one of those. But I haven’t a clue where I could rustle up the dosh for it.

It reminds me of the guy in Crewe who sent his wife to Boots Corner in Crewe to earn some money for a new car. At the end of the first night she came back with £50 and 50p
“Who gave you the 50p?”he asked
“Why, all of them” she replied.
Yes, Crewe was a right dismal place to live and I’ve no idea how I stuck it for all that time.

My run down the Boulevard Vaufleury was interesting as a dog decided to try to have a little bit of fun.

After he limped off with a pain in his rear left leg, I turned on the owner and told him precisely what I thought of him. In good old colloquial French too, and left him in no two minds of what I thought. I didn’t spend 12 years working with a bunch of French-speaking drivers for nothing.

fishing boats pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving stopped for breath at my usual stop, I walked down to the viewpoint over the harbour to see what was happening.

Nothing very much except that the new pontoon is being put to very good use by the fishing boats that are congregating all around it.

From there I ran on back to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord.

There was nothing happening out at sea this evening, apart from the storm, and as the tide was right in there were no picnickers. So I ran back home instead.

Later than I hoped, I’m off to bed. I’ll set an alarm, hope I’ll beat it, and then go to the shops. Not that I need much because I haven’t eaten anything for a few days.

At least, with keeping a note of how I feel, I know that I seem to be on the upward slope again and in a few days I’ll be back to normal – as if I ever was normal.

Last time this happened, in the USA in July, I lost 10kgs in weight. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could lose another 10kgs?

Tuesday 14th January 2020 – I WAS WONDERING …

fallen tree place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hall… how long it was going to be before we had a catastrophe.

The answer is “this afternoon at about 14:00” when this tree came crashing down. It was bound to happen sooner or later because the winds outside are horrific. They aren’t quite the worst that I’ve ever encountered but they are pretty close.

And this tree took the full brunt of it and came crashing down. Lucky that there weren’t any cars parked just there on the car park of the other block of flats.

As for me, I had a really bad day today.

By the time that I finished what I was doing, it was 02:30. Sure enough, the elarms went off at the usual time but it was 07:05 when I finally crawled out of bed.

There was the medication of course and while I was waiting for it to work I attacked some more of this translation. In fact over the course of the day I’ve been nibbling away at it here and there and I’m now at 65%. But even so, my good humour hasn’t returned quite yet.

trawler baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRound about 11:00 I headed out of the apartment for this Press Conference.

And as I was leaving my apartment this fishing boat from Jersey was leaving port and heading out into the wicked wind. I don’t envy him at all heading that way in all of this.

At least the rain wasn’t all that heavy, which was one good thing. But it’s been a long time since I’ve seen horizontal rain.

guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hallAt the Stade Louis Dior I was one of the first to arrive and so I had another good chat with the Vice-president, Guy Lefevre.

We’d met each other ON THE BUS THE OTHER DAY GOING TO VERSAILLES and so we continued the interesting conversation that we’d had back then.

But then everyone else began to arrive and we all settled down.

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hallNone of the players were available today but the team’s chief coach, Johan Gallon, came to talk to us.

He gave us a little talk and we all asked loads of questions. What interested me was that I was the only one there asking questions about tactics and the like. Everyone else was much more interested in the emotional side of the match.

He did his best to answer them but without giving away anything that might be of use to the enemy.

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hallHe’s well aware that the match is going to be difficult, much more difficult than against Bordeaux and much more difficult than when US Granvillais met Olympique de Marseille back in 2016.

There were about a dozen of us all told, and two television cameras too. One or two of them were interested in me too – where did I come from and what was I doing there.

I suppose that I’m really something of a novelty around here, being British, asking tactical questions in French and gatecrashing press conferences like this

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter half an hour or so Johan gallon left us to carry on with his other business.

However the Vice-President Guy Lefevre stayed behind and a couple of us continued our chat.

We also discussed the Carnaval because he has a char that parades there and it’s another idea that I have for the forthcoming.

One thing I learnt, which was of great interest to me, was how they transported the chars from their hidey-holes to the Parade.

Apparently the operators of the chars have to have Public Liability insurance but the road risks are arranged by the municipality. The Police provide an exemption from the Road Traffic Acts to cover journeys to and from the parades and the parades themselves.

Another thing is that there is a limit on the number of chars. Just 47 are permitted to parade. Motorised chars, that is. Push-along chars can turn up in any particular number that they fancy.

By the time that we finished, the rain had stopped so I walked home in something like comfort. On the way back I popped in to la Mie Caline for my dejeunette and then came back here.

By now it was 14:15 so that was it. Lunchtime.

This afternoon I started to listen to the recordings that I had made. The quality isn’t up to much but, rather like Samuel Johnson’s dog, “I’m surprised that it is done at all”. I spent some time enhancing the recordings so at least I could hear what was being said.

The plan is to listen to the recordings to hear parts that are obvious “answers” to questions that haven’t been asked, then to record the questions and edit them into the recording.

It’s an old radio practice that has been done for years – in fact when the Beatles first toured the USA they sent over to each radio station a recording of “answers” so that the reporters there could ask their own questions and have an “exclusive live interview”.

dredging ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn that point I went out into the horrendous gale. There were just four of us out there in total today and I was surprised that there was that many.

The wild wind hadn’t stopped them working down at the ferry terminal. They were digging out the silt, tipping it into the dumpers and taking it off to be dumped.

They can’t be going to be spending too long on it because sooner or later they’ll be wanting to send the ferries back out again and they won’t want to be working all around a ferry timetable as well as a tidal chart.

ripping up abandoned railway port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnother thing that’s cracking on is the work on the car park in the rue du Port.

They’ve devastated that pretty much over the last 24 hours as you can tell if you compare it to THIS PHOTO TAKE 24 HOURS AGO. It won’t be long before that will be finished and they will have all gone.

What’s going on in my mind is what it will look like when it’s finished. I hope that it’s not simply going to be a bare patch of asphalt. And I hope that they plant some trees in there too.

Back here I was intending to start work but I’m afraid that I simply crashed out on the chair. I was gone for a good hour too in a deep sleep, the kind of crashing out that I used to have before that last spell of good health.

It’s something that has depressed me completely and I don’t really want to dwell on it.

Instead, I had tea. The last of the falafel with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce, followed by the last of the Christmas Cake. It was delicious too.

So tomorrow I’ll have to start on the rice pudding that I made on Sunday.

high winds storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIf anything, the wind outside had worsened tonight. It bowled me along the street on the way out and on the way back there were times when it was impossible to make headway, so strong were the gusts of wind.

You can’t see it at all well but the waves were smashing over the sea wall at the Plat Gousset with the most astonishing violence.

It’s a shame that they’ve taken this decision to turn out the lights along there in winter. No-one can see a thing out there now and it’s terrible for photography.

The wind was so powerful across the square Maurice Marland that is was impossible at times to walk, never mind run.

But having anticipated that, I’d done my running (such as it is) in the sheltered spot on the north side of the city walls. The huge puddles there made it difficult but I pushed on for a few hundred metres.

It might not be much but at my age and in my state of health I think that it’s pretty good.

trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere’s a spot on the city walls that is protected from the wind so I went there for a moment.

There was a trawler unloading at the fish-processing plant so I could snap off a quick shot of it through the trees. Winter is my favourite time for photography because there are no leaves to obscure the shot.

On the way back I bumped into a girl walking her dog and smoking a cigarette. We exchanged pleasantries and then I came back.

By now, THE PODCAST OF MY RADIO PROGRAMME WAS ON-LINE so I had a listen.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have a lot of time for kids – sometimes (in fact, quite often) I find them far more interesting than adults – and some of the kids in my radio programme didn’t let me down.

They performed admirably and gave a really good filling to the programme as well as providing some comic relief.

It’s the one thing that I regret – not having a kid of my own and I get quite broody at times. But then if I had a kid I would have to have the partner that went with it and I’m not made for living with other people.

Anyway, it’s later. later than I want to be. Marillion has passed by on the playlist so there’s no reason to stay up any longer. I’m off to bed and tomorrow I’ll crack on and do this radio programme.

Whenever am I going to find time to do my own stuff?

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall
johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall
johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall
johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall

Tuesday 8th October 2019 – I’VE BEEN …

… Mr Computer Repair Man again today.

having revelled in my triumphs a few days ago about getting my old Acer Laptop up and running after it crashed out on me in the USA and being able to salvage all of the data, down at the office today Rachel bunged another old laptop at me to see if I could raise that one from the dead too.

I spent a couple of hours working on it and, as much to my own surprise as anyone else’s, it’s now up and running again with not only all of the data still intact but all of the programs too.

It’s an old 2009 Lenovo with a 1.3ghz processor running Windows 7, but now that it’s working again it’s quite sprightly for its age as long as you don’t try to do anything too ambitious with it, but for taking down to the storeroom to do an inventory (which is why it was here in the first place) it’s just the job.

And talking of the storeroom, I’ve checked again and we do have indeed a large supply of 165/80 x 13 and 185/70 x 13 tyres for Ford Cortinas, as well as several other obsolete sizes too for other makes, so I’ve been posting the info on various North American classic car groups to try to drum up the sales.

All in all, I’ve had quite a busy morning.

A relaxing morning too. Although I heard all of the alarms go off, it was about 07:00 when I finally managed to raise myself from the dead. And with no school run this morning I was able to have a leisurely start to the day.

Not to transcribe the dictaphone notes though. There’s a couple on there from during the night and I’ll have to copy those over as soon as I can.

For once, Cujo the Killer Cat co-operated with me so I was able to leave the house pretty much when I wanted to without having to hunt her down.

This afternoon was more running around. Taking the cheques to be posted (it’s that time of the year) mainly.

But I had another task assigned to me which I managed to accomplish. In the garage is a 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 pick-up with a major electrical problem. With my little home-made testing apparatus I can tell that there’s a live feed reaching the relays at contacts where no live feed should be. This points to a short circuit in the fuse box somewhere and these are impossible to repair.

The easy answer is to replace the fuse box but, to my amazement (or maybe not, because I’ve long-since ceased to be amazed at the antics of modern motor manufacturers) the part is “no longer available” from the manufacturers.

Consequently, with the repaired laptop (and I’m glad now that I repaired it), I’ve been scouring the scrapyards of North America and I’ve eventually tracked down a rear-ended Dodge of the correct year and model in a scrapyard in Colorado.

A photo of the part on that truck looks identical to the one here, and so that’s now winging its way northwards in our direction. And who knows? We might even be able to make this Dodge start properly without having to hot-wire it all the time.

Fighting off waves of fatigue yet again (and I’ve no idea why) I went to pick up Amber from cheerleading practice after school, only to find that our little visitor had stayed behind too. Never mind the crowded cab when we have half-a-million strong therein by the time we get to Woodstock, it was pretty cramped in there with three, but we managed all the same.

Everyone was out this evening so I made myself some potato thins with onions, carrots garlic and assorted herbs with some vegan sausages, and it was delicious. Especially when followed down by one of the vegan muffins from the weekend.

Later this evening after tea I retreated to my room. I’m not feeling myself at the moment … “and quite right too” – ed … so some peace and quiet will do me good. I’m beginning to feel the strain and I really need a couple of days in bed to haul myself up again, but I doubt whether that will happen any time soon.

Looking at my schedule over the past three and a half months, it would have been pretty hectic for a younger person in good health. For an older person who is slowly dying, it’s been taxing to the limit and beyond.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sunday 8th September 2019 – MY PHANTOM READER …

… is back again today (having had a day off yesterday) and at the time of writing has read just over 100 pages – that is, 1500 blog entries.

My hat goes off to you, sir or madam. That shows perseverence and determination that not even I, the author, possess. I wish that you would introduce yourself.

I was right about last night. 04:30 and the party was still going on. They had come in from the pool and were continuing in the basement, keeping us all awake. I managed to drift off into a very intermittent sleep but it wasn’t until the last body crashed out round about 08:00 that I finally went into a deep sleep.

In the meantime, for some reason that I don’t understand, I had been urging myself to rise up from my bed and take photos of the breaking dawn. It was certainly a persistent impulse and I’ve no idea what was going on there.

The noise started up again at about 10:00 as Amber’s friends made ready to leave. And once they had gone, I felt it safe to venture out into the open.

Everyone was getting ready to leave and we hopped into various vehicles and headed for the US border.

Of course, I had already had a valid temporary visa but it had been withdrawn when I left for Greenland, so I had to go through the process yet again. And as regular readers of this rubbish might recall, it was shift change time, all of the electrical equipment was down and they couldn’t find the key for the cash desk All in all, it took us well over 30 minutes for me to be processed.

The border guard gave me a lecture about “surrendering the card unnecessarily” but I didn’t want to prolong the matter by telling him about Greenland otherwise we would still be there now. Instead I replied rather meekly “yes, thanks, I’ll remember” and he let me go.

But it’s a shame when one is on the receiving end of a lecture for having obeyed quite rigorously the letter of the law.

And to my amazement, I noticed that my temporary visa is dated
2nd September 2019, not 8th September as it ought to be.

At the Oriental Pearl in Presque Ile everyone else was straining at the leash to get at the buffet and were quite relieved when we finally arrived. There’s very little on the buffet that I can eat so they made me steamed veg and boiled rice.

I picked up the bill at the end – it’s the least that I can do for being housed so hospitably and then we all went to Mardens for a browse, where I found some gelatine-free licorice.

Darren and the three younger girls went home afterwards but Zoe, Rachel and I went for a coffee. Then we attacked Walmart and then down to Mars Hill for the IGA supermarket, where the vegan ice cream and sorbet were sold out.

Crossing back into Canada was rather painless (I had half-expected the phantom reader to have found enough in what he or she has read already in the blog to have me incarcerated) and we came back. In the IGA I’d found some almond milk with real banana so I gave it a try. And delicious it was too.

Now it’s bed time. I have an early start. Due to various considerations it looks as if I’ve drawn the short straw and am doing the school run tomorrow. I need to be on form.

Wednesday 21st August 2019 – WE GAIN …

… an hour tonight.

Well, we don’t actually. We really gain two hours tomorrow night but seeing as we are not going near any community tomorrow during the day we will put our clocks back one hour tonight and we’ll do the other hour tomorrow night.

And I can’t say that I’m sorry, because I’m exhausted. And for once I had a decent night’s sleep too. Took me a while to drop off but once I was gone I was gone and I remember nothing at all until the alarms went off. I only just beat the third alarm – and by a matter of seconds – too.

It was a late breakfast but I didn’t take advantage because we are now in another fjord hard by Disko Island with the Eqip Sermia glacier at the end of it. Only a small glacier but a very lively one – one of the fastest glaciers in the world apparently.

Too fast in fact, for just as we were unloading the ship a large piece of ice broke away and calved, causing a tidal wave that crashed one of the kayaks against the rocks and damaged it before the crew had time to secure it..

The resultant chaos took ages to sort out and a 09:00 departure was more like 10:30.

We had a good sail around the face of the glacier watching some calving while they prepared a decent landing for us and eventually they were ready for us at the landing site.

An easy landing, and a beautiful environment but due to the earlier mishap not enough time to visit it properly. By the time that I’d had a geology lesson from Marc and a lengthy history chat with Rachel I was struggling to reach the waterfall.

But when I did – drat and double-drat! I’m not sure how many waterfalls I have visited just recently but I don’t recall visiting even one that didn’t have the sun shining directly over the top spoiling the photos. And this one was no different.

For the money that we are paying for this voyage, you would think that the company would have turned the earth around 90 degrees to give us all a sporting chance.

Back on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour we had a barbecue and then I had a shower and washed my expedition clothes. They’ll dry quite quickly. And I … errr … closed my eyes for a second or two (or maybe more.

We had some more lectures (during one of which I fell asleep) and then tea time. I sat with Jerry Kobalenko the explorer and we had a good chat too about all kinds of things, especially diet in the High Arctic.

Another good day for photo editing though. I’m now on 19080785 and just leaving South Pass on my way back to Montana and Winnipeg. So it’s not going as quickly as I would like it. But I’ll get there somehow some day.

Although I’ve a feeling, comparing my screen with a known photo that I took a while ago, that I might have to do all of this editing lark again when I get to a decent screen, whenever that might be.

Only time will tell.

Sunday 11th August 2019 – THERE’S ONLY ONE …

… possible place to stop for the night when you have a travelling companion like mine.

So here I am in the Dreamland Motel in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in Canada. And I hope that His Nibs appreciates the … gulp … 424 miles (most of which was on normal roads) it took to reach here.

Last night was an excellent night’s sleep right the way up to the alarm. I was really comfortable there. My clothes had dried with the air-conditioning so it didn’t take long after the medication and breakfast before I hit the streets.

Just across the road in fact to the IGA supermarket where I bought probably the most expensive lettuce in the whole world, amongst other things.

Then I hit the road on what should have been a quite uneventful drive.

And it would have been too except for a couple of things – namely who in the whole wide, wide world would expect a gap of 160 miles (260 kms) between petrol stations in the USA, particularly when you drive part of the way through a perishing oilfield?

By the time I got to Phoe … errr … Malta I was running on fumes. The notoriously unreliable “mileage remaining” indicator was showing 48 kms left.

I’d stopped a few times on the way too. Firstly to photograph the mighty Missouri, and secondly to chat to a most interesting guy who was unloading from a trailer a pile of scrap metal that turned out to be a 1926 Ford T that he had just found.

He showed me around his yard and there were piles of interesting stuff too. And I now know the difference between a 1925 Ford T and a 1926 Ford T. Easy when you see them next to each other and compare fuel tanks.

He was telling me about his issues with the local authority and I sympathised. We’ve all been there before.

Crossing the border was fun. I had more difficulty crossing into Canada than I did crossing into the USA two weeks ago, although the guy at the border post was very polite about it. And they have a machine that kills your engine for you so that you can’t make good your escape.

The drive onwards was interesting, but not exciting. I found an abandoned railway and an abandoned homestead. And I stopped along the road to work out what it would take to go to Leask – something that brings back memories from my childhood. But that’s far too far.

In Moose jaw I couldn’t find a motel of my style at first. But a free wi-fi connection ( thanks A & W) enabled me to see an internet booking site and I creamed a couple of addresses off there.

It came up trumps too – the first one that I tried. Reasonable price and reasonable accommodation even if you I did need a degree in electrical engineering to plug in the microwave and make it work.

An early night now and I’m having a lie-in tomorrow. I deserve it.