Tag Archives: Uummannaq

Saturday 16th April 2022 – IT WAS SUCH …

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… a nice afternoon that the crowds were out in droves when I went out for my post-prandial perambulation.

The tide was well out so there was plenty of beach for everyone to be on, and that was just as well because there were plenty of people on it.

It’s been a good while since we’ve seen so many people down there. It looks as if the holiday season has really taken off this weekend and I bet that they are regretting not having the Jersey ferries up and running to cater for all of the trade. This would have been just the weather to go for a ride out to St Helier.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Iwasn’t just on the beach that we had the crowds either.

The paths around the headland were heaving with people as you can see in this photo and the car park was overflowing with vehicles parked on the grass.

Brain of Britain forgot to take his face mask with him too. I bet that I’ll regret that before too long, the way things are. We’re still in 6 figures of daily infections and a couple of hundred deaths each day, and it’s no surprise when you see crowds like this taking no precautions whatsoever.

f-gcum Robin DR400-180 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And it was quite busy in the air today too.

Apart from the commercial flights that were passing by too far out in the bay for me to see them properly we had a couple of light aircraft going by too.

None of the little ones that we see quite often though. This one here is F-GCUM, a Robin DR400/180 that belongs to the Aero Club here.

She took off at 16:21, went down the coast, came back, did a lap around the Ile de Chausey and landed again at 17:03. It’s probably just a flight for someone to keep up his hours

While we’re on the subject of hours … “well, one of us is” – ed … I spent hours in bed last night.

All about seven of them because I was, as usual, late going to bed. Just as I was on the point of going, something interesting (and I can’t remember what now) came up on the playlist so I stayed up to listen.

It might have been ONE OF THE SONGS that my Inuit friend HEIDINNGUAQ sent me for a radio show a while back. Any mention these days of Greenland and the High Arctic is enough to stop me in my tracks. I’ve walked those streets in Uummannaq and STRAWBERRY MOOSE and I are in a hurry to go back.

Anyway, I digress … “again” – ed.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment, I finally managed to drop off to sleep and that was where I stayed until the alarm went off at 07:30. And I was still there when it went off again at 07:45.

Mind you, I did managed to beat the third and final call at 08:00 and that is some doing, seeing the way that things have been around here just recently.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I went for a shower to tidy myself up. And since Wednesday I’ve lost another 600 grammes of weight. For some reason or other I must have been having water retention issues and doubling the dose seems to have had some effect.

But that of course reminds me of when I was in Liège a few years ago with my German friend from Munich. We were in a restaurant, surrounded by pretty young girls, talking about … our medication.

That’s when I realised that I was getting old. We would have been talking about something quite different five years ago.

Considering that I didn’t need all that much today, I spent quite a lot of money. And all of it was on food.

Noz came up trumps yet again – more of those little breaded quorn burgers that I like. Two packets of those are now in the freezer.

As for LeClerc, I can’t think what I bought that contributed to the fortune that I spent in there today. And I nearly spent more than that as well because someone disappeared with my trolley and when I caught up with it, a couple of packets of sausages had been added.

car leclerc yquelon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But this in the car park intrigued me. I’ve never seen a car like this before.

Its small size suggests to me that it’s a Japanese town-car model but the steering wheel is on the left and it has a built-in rear fog light so it’s not a “grey import”. But it’s bizarre all the same.

These days though I’m quite out of the loop when it comes to new cars. I don’t have a clue as to what’s on the market and what isn’t

Back here I put the frozen food and the cool stuff away and then made myself a coffee. Eagerly clutching a slice of my fruit bread in my sweaty little mitt as well, I came in here to listen to the dictaphone.

We’d been on holiday to a hotel or some place like that. We’d been picked up by a coach in Manchester and driven to this place. When we arrived we had to all sign a paper for our drinking chits etc. We had been out for the day for a drive. I don’t know what happened but I missed the bus and I hadn’t a clue where I was going to go back because I didn’t even know the name of the town, never mind the name of the hotel. Of course I was on foot in the North-East of England. I thought that the only solution was to walk back and follow the route that we’d taken and hope that I would get it right. Following a route in reverse is not as easy as following it going forward. I set off and I’d been walking for about 10 minutes when I bumped into 2 other people, 2 girls who had also missed the bus. I thought that at least I’m on the right road here. We ended up crossing this enormous suspension bridge with a central stay, the highest central stay I’d ever seen. I remembered coming over this. We’d turned left onto it so I thought that we’d have to turn right. We prepared to cross over it but one of these girls fancied a cup of coffee. I had no money with me so she had to buy it. By now we were on this bridge so we had to cling on to the side rail while she went to fetch this coffee. Then she had to find a place to put it which was on something soft like the mattress of a bed. We were clinging on to the side of this bridge with our arms, she’d put this coffee down and we had to unhitch one of our arms to drink this coffee. This was becoming confusing. I asked her the name of the hotel but she didn’t know it or know the town either. The 3rd one hadn’t anything to say at all so there we were with this coffee hanging onto this bridge by our arms trying to drink this coffee with the mugs on a soft surface on probably the highest bridge in the UK

It ended up being quite a late lunch, what with one thing and another (and once you make a start, you’ll be surprised just how many other things there are).

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And that led to an even later walk around the headland. Wherever did the time go to today?

As I mentioned earlier, there were hordes of people out there on the beach this afternoon. Not just out at the water’s edge either but settling down in the shelter of the cliffs ready for the long stay until the tide comes in.

Gone are the days unfortunately when there would be the beach-side café and the “pot of tea for six” that people my age will remember. And I have a special reason for remembering it too because apparently the people who cared for my mother as a small child had a beach-side café at Epple Bay on the Isle of Thanet between the wars

But, of course, not that I would remember it. I’m not that old, even if I feel like it and look like it as well.

Cirrus SR22 n549cd baie de Mont St Michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And back in the air again we had another visitor. And I DO mean visitor.

This is apparently N-549CD, a Cirrus SR22, and its claim to fame is that apart from THE AIRBUS A400M that we saw a couple of months ago, this has to be about the noisiest plane that I’ve ever heard.

She hasn’t filed a flight plan and she kept below civilian radar so I can’t tell you where she went, but she arrived at the airfield here on the 13th of April after a 3-hour flight from Schwabish Hall in Germany.

She’s owned by the Plane Fun Inc Trustee Corporation from Snellville, Georgia, USA

le loup yacht cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There might have been plenty of things going on on land and in the air this afternoon but there was almost nothing at all going on out at sea.

In the immediate vicinity of the port, loitering around by Le Loup waiting for the tide to come in were a couple of boats, a yacht and a cabin cruiser.

And that was about your lot. There wasn’t anything at all out at sea as far as I could see, and that was a real surprise given the weather and the crowds.

And so with nothing at all to watch, there wasn’t anyone down on the bench at the cabanon vauban either so I cleared off rather rapidly down the path on the other side of the headland towards the harbour.

le roc a la mauve 3 anakena chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there has been yet another change of occupant at the chantier naval today too.

We still have the little Roc A La Mauve III down there and the much bigger Anakena, but where’s Le Styx? She put in an appearance yesterday afternoon but it must only have been a flying visit because this afternoon, she’s gone!

And never called me “mother”!

But if you want to know where Chausiaise went to, she’s over there at the ferry terminal not doing very much at all.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There is something else that won’t, regrettably, be doing very much at all later in the summer. In fact, it won’t be doing anything at all.

Never mind all of the fishing boats tied up in the inner harbour, we’re much more interested in what isn’t there, and won’t be there in the summer.

Regular readers of this rubbish are used to seeing during the months of July and August the big wheel that comes along and sets itself up down there behind the warehouse. But it won’t be back again.

Apparently the inhabitants of one of the blocks of flats there petitioned the Maire to ban it because, apparently, it makes too much noise and they have to spend all summer with their windows closed. And surprisingly, the Maire has acquiesced.

Firstly, I don’t know why people do this kind of thing. Much as I hate tourists, this is a seaside resort and the crowds come here and expect to be entertained. And if you want to live by the seaside, you expect the inconvenience of the tourist attractions – unless of course you are a NIMBY.

Secondly, there are acres of empty space all the way down the far side of the harbour round by where the Channel Island ferries tie up. Why not stick the wheel there? It’ll be far enough away not to disturb the NIMBY residents with what little amount of noise that it really does make.

With all of this, I can’t help thinking that there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

interlink a changing canada Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back here I had another task to perform.

Yesterday, I forgot to mention that I had a strange delivery in the Post. This glossy booklet about “A Changing Canada” in the 21st Century suddenly turned up. It’s not anything that I’ve ordered or requested so I’ve no idea what it is about.

So what I have done is to photograph the front cover, post it on my Social Network, and see if any of my Canadian contacts can throw any light on the aforementioned.

And having done that (with no replies to date) I went and had a really good session on the guitar.

Now that I have some more of those breaded quorn fillets I had a couple of them with potato and veg. They really are nice and if I’m going to fill up the freezer with something, it may as well be them.

But the freezer is now filled up and there’s no more room for anything else. I had to buy a few loose carrots as there wasn’t any space to do any freezing. Just when I think that I have the freezer under control, I fill it up again.

And I daren’t sort through it because it’s so well packed that I would never be able to re-pack it again. At least, if World War III breaks out, I won’t starve for a while.

Friday 12th November 2021 – TORA TORA TORA!

tora tora tora sunlight through clouds pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021One of the many things that I like about this time of year is the effects tha the sun can produce when it’s low in the sky.

Particularly on days when there is heavy cloud and there are these small gaps through which the sun, low in the sky, can send its beams radiating out into the sea.

Here on the edge of the cliffs we have no obstruction to our view and can see for miles, so it’s really a grandtand seat here to see the sort of effect that so inspired the Japanese naval Air Force when they set out that morning to attack Pearl Harbour

spotlight of the gods brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And sometimes we have an effect that is even more spectacular, like this one seen from the other side of the headland.

This one really is a spotlight of the Gods and I’d love to know what it was illuminating over there on the Brittany coast. it must have been just like on the stage of a theatre during a performance.

It isn’t every day that a photo opportunity such as this presents itself and strangely, I was the only person who seemed to be interested in watching it. These days most people seem to be oblivious of the free shows that Nature puts on for them.

leoma mediatheque Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021If you had read these pages earlier, you might have been wondering why the entry was so short last night.

The answer was that I had been out radioing until quite late. I’d been to see a girl called Leoma who was performing at the local Mediatheque.

She was born in Paamiut, in the south of Greenland, and had come here to tell a few native Greenlandic tales for a small audience in order to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the twinning of Granville with the town of Uummannaq in northern Greenland.

For once in my life I must have had a reasonable night because the entry (there was only one) on the dictaphone was at 07:15 – just 15 minutes before the alarm rang. Nothing whatever at 02:00 or 03:30 or whatever like there has been quite recently.

Last night they had doled out the soup on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and it was just sitting there going cold while there was something going on. I heard somehow that there had been a record number of complaints about something so I mentioned it to one or two people. One of my disabled friends from University was there. We were chatting about the company. I said last year that i’d come north with a different company and it wasn’t the same at all hence I’m back. He said that it was the same for him and several other people whom he knew. I said that at least I reached destinations differently last year. Then our ship pulled into a port. I disembarked and so did a lot of other people, took my camera with me and went to photograph it. There was a big aeroplane coming in to land that flew past overhead. There was a church and the hotel. I couldn’t fit the hotel in the frame so i went to photograph the church first but everyone kept getting in my way. Then I couldn’t get the camera to work. When I did, I found that I didn’t have the shot that I wanted so I had to go somewhere else to take the shot. I walked past a shop, a toy shop, and there were a couple of girls dancing, being very happy. I went to take the photo but a couple of other people got in my way so I couldn’t. When finally I could, I pressed the shutter but the camera didn’t click. I was wondering “have I taken this photo or not? How am I going to be able to check?”.

When the alarm did go off I struggled once more out of bed and went for my medication.

Afterwards, having checked my mails and messages and transcribed the dictaphone notes, I set out to perform the task that I had promised yesterday to undertake – to wit find the spare battery and battery chargers for the NIKON 1 J5.

Finding the mains charger was easy – it was plugged into a plugboard in the dining room. But the USB charger and battery was something else completely.

This led to a sorting-out and filing of a pile of papers, making up my suitcase for Belgium next week, photocopying a pile of medical receipts, a discovery of several other missing bits and pieces (which usually happens at these moments) and SHOCK! HORROR! I actually found what I’d been looking for.

Mind you, it had taken long enough but even so, finding something on the day that I set out to do so must be something of a record.

After lunch I had another go at attacking the photos from Greenland 2019. It’s been quite a while since I’ve attacked that, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

It’s not that I’m actually out of the woods with this backlog of arrears, I’ve simply moved into different woods.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Of course there has to be the usual break while I go for my afternoon walk today.

First place to visit is the beach down below the car park – not actually visit the beach of course because I can’t manage the stairs these days – but to look down upon it from above.

There wasn’t anyone down there that I could see today, which was hardly a surprise because after the balmy day that we had yesterday, winter and the wind are back with a vengeance.

There weren’t too many people around on the footpath this afternoon either which was goon news for me. I could walk around in peace and tranquiliity without running much risk of catching some kind of infectious disease.

cabanon vauban people sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There were a few people though braving it out, sitting on the bench down at the end of the Pointe du Roc.

Not that there was very much to see today because the sun, being so low in the sky, was shining right into the surface of the sea and if there was something out there it was impossible to see it.

But take a look at the sea out there. It’s not as rough as it was the other day but even so there’s quite a storm whipping up the waves somewhere further out at sea.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021However, what the storm was producing at the blunt end was something of a damp squib.

Having left behind the ladies on the ledge I set off along the path to see how the waves were doing as they broke on the sea wall around the corner.

However I needn’t have been so impatient because there wasn’t all that much to see. I wasn’t expecting them to go right over the sea wall but I was expecting to see someting rather more lively than this. And this wave was the best of the bunch too.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile, down in the chantier naval there’s something going on at the portable boat lift.

They haven’t just been content to take off the wheels, they have the stub axles off too. This looks as if it’s going to be quite a long job to fix whatever is the problem with it.

Meanwhile, they’ve corralled it off with the blocks that they use for the boats to settle in while they are being worked on. Not that it’s going to be keeping too many people away from the scene, although it might prevent a car driving into it at the dead of night.

yachts baie de mont st michel crane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further along at the ferry terminal, I see that they have once more left the crane to its own devices fully-extended while they have gone off to do something else.

Things like this makes me wonder how long it will be before this is out of service for repair, and who they will end up blaming for the faulty seals.

But it’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good. I mentioned the wind earlier and there are a couple of yachts out there taking full advantage of it.

Back here I had a shower then a coffee and then checked my radio equipment ready for this evening.

leoma mediatheque Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the Mediatheque I found, to my dismay, that the girl running the show on whose behalf I was going there for THE RADIO hadn’t reserved me a place and it was a sell-out.

Nevertheless I managed to blag my way in and listen to her telling a few animated traditional stories from Greenland, stories that I hadn’t heard before, surrounded by her collection of Qulliks

Although I took a few photos from my very cramped and uncomfortable position, it was impossible for me to record it, despite doing my best.

leoma mediatheque Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021At the end of the show I door-stepped her and after a little chat she agreed to be interviewed by the radio.

We agreed to meet at the Archipel Theatre where there was an exhibition of paintings by an American artist who had visited Uummannaq to paint the town and its scenery

There were plenty of people around there because they were having some kind of party – a vernissage, although it’s the first time that I’ve ever heard of a vernissage given by a dead artist – so I had to hunt around for a quiet room and ended up in the refectory.

leoma mediatheque Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Of course, all of these entertainers have their fans and so I had to hang around for her while she disentangled herself from her admirers.

Eventually she came over and we went off for our chat.

Although she was born in Greenland, her family are French. Her grandfather had visited Greenland quite often and ended up settling there. She was born while her parents were visiting him.

She didn’t stay there long after she was born but in Greenland there’s a droit de sol – nationality is accorded to those who were born there but they have to be present at 18 years old to claim it so she returned. Unfortunately, she’d never visited Uummannaq so that mean that most of my questions ended up in the bin. In fact, she’s never been to the north of Greenland.

In the end we chatted about life in Greenland, which was rather difficult seeing as she hadn’t grown up there, so talking about youth and education and the like was clearly going to be difficult.

Having visited Greenland as often as I have (which is three times more than most people on the planet) I had a good idea of where things differ than mainland Europe and what might be of interest

leoma mediatheque Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021One thing that surprised me (well, it didn’t because I know all about this, although I wasn’t expecting it) was that she was subconsciously aware of the differences between the more urban (if anything in Greenland can be said to be urban) southern part of the country and the more rural and traditional north of the country.

It was very much a case of “us and them”.

She didn’t seem to be concerned as much as I would have expected about the environment either. For her it was a case of exploiting the opportunities that the melting ice-cap had given then in the search for new raw materials to make the country economically self-sufficient, rather than the destructive effect that it will have on the traditional Inuit lifestyle in the north.

That was probably the strongest “us and them” part of the interview and, to be honest, it was an attitude that rather dismayed me. Most of the people whom I know in Greenland are Inuit from the North and their response would have been completely different.

For that reason, it wasn’t a very good interview from the point of view of Uummannaq.

he said that she could spare 5 minutes but we were there for half an hour talking about Greenland, and we would have been there longer had she had anything to say about Uummannaq.

By the time that I returned home it was late to to listen to a group whom I’d been invited to see so I just threw a quick tea together – pasta and veg tossed in a garlic, oil and pepper sauce with grated vegan cheese.

Now I’m off to bed and I’ll add the photos in tomorrow. No big shopping tomorrow as I’m off in the middle of next week. I’ll just pop into town for some basic supplies instead.

Friday 29th October 2021 – THAT WAS PROBABLY …

… the worst night of them all so far last night. And four files on the dictaphone tells you what kind of restless night it was.

There was a pile of dirty washing-up that needed doing. Some had already been done so my brother and I cracked on and finished it all. After we’d had something to eat there was washing up to be done and I didn’t bother to wash up but he insisted that we wash up. I refused. I only wash up once per day and that was before going to bed. This argument rolled on so I went outside. I frightened one of the seamen sitting on the steps of our ship who was looking at another ship close by. I asked him what was going on and he said “nothing in particular” and wandered off. There were 3 or 4 ships in the immediate vicinity, one a ship owned by Disney that didn’t have any superstructure like a barge. The people on it were speaking Russian so I spoke to them in Russian – “hello, how are you? My name is Eric” in Russian and they were overwhelmed that someone was speaking Russian to them and they actually came over on board our ship to talk to me. And it’s been a long time since I’ve spoken any Russian. I learnt some basic Russian from a local woman in Nantwich before I started taking coaches behind the Iron Curtain and I’ve probably forgotten most of it now.

3 of us, a guy a girl and I had to check out a disturbance on a common somewhere. There was no-one around but interviewing the locals it appeared that foreigners gathered there later on in the evening. The guy with me who was in charge told the girl to stay there on her own and make a report which I thought was strange. I expected one of the others of us to stay as well and pretend to be a courting couple. A single girl on her own would be rather prominent out there. Anyway, that was what we agreed to do and the 2 or us went away. We ended up being stuck in this huge queue of pedestrians at a roundabout. It seemed that it was Derby County’s birthday and there was some kind of celebration. We ended up in this charity shop and they had some Derby County ski suits that were really nice. I was tempted to buy one but I didn’t like the idea of carrying something with “Derby County” on it so I didn’t. We had a good look around but couldn’t see anything else. We went out and decided to go for a meal. I reminded him about this woman and said “when we go to pick her up we’d better take her a cup of coffee”. He replied “yes. hang on here while I go and fetch one”. I said “it won’t be much use now. She’ll need it at 8 o’clock when we finish. She’ll be freezing”. He said “yes” and came out with some other stuff that I can’t remember now.

Later on Liz had bought some furniture for her new house, a bed. The people in IKEA were showing up how it went together to demonstrate what it looked like. She quite liked it and said that she’d take it but it turned out that there was a 6-month delay for delivery. I said “stick it in Caliburn and we’ll take it round in Caliburn”. She said that there was no-one there to assemble it, Terry had gone to work. I replied “I’ll assemble it”. She said “you have other things to do, haven’t you?”. I replied “I can spare an hour or two to do this bed”. They couldn’t find the right nails or screws ro go with this package. I pointed out various piles of screws and nails on the floor by the bed and this was starting to become really complicated. it turned out that she had gone in to buy a bed for one of her grandchildren because the two of them were sharing a bed and it was most uncomfortable for them. She wanted to get them separate beds and saw this while she was there.

Finally, I’d made myself some muesli and was looking for a container to put it in now that I’d come back from being away. I had plenty of flower pots but couldn’t find them all. Eventually I found a large one so I took a bucket of water and washed it out and had it looking fairly clean. Then I don’t know why I did this but I tipped the bucket of water into the flower pot. Of course the water went everywhere, all over the table, all over the carpet so I had to pour the water back into the bucket quickly. My brother said that we ought to find a mop. As we were going through into the back room to fetch a mop the police were in there. They’d been looking for someone for ages who had disappeared and were wondering where he’d got to. It turned out that he was in the next room. He’d killed himself. They were puzzled because the electrode that he had used to earth himself when he gave himself an electric shock wasn’t actually attached to anything metal, just to a wooden chair leg so that wouldn’t in theory have killed him so they began to wonder about his wife’s involvement with this.

But seriously, how come my brother has been playing such a large part in my voyages for the last few days or so? What’s been bringing him into the equation?

As a consequence of all of this it was a weary crawl out from under the covers this morning when the alarm went off. Mind you, I don’t suppose that it helped very much

After the medication and checking my mails I made a start on continuing with the blog entries but I didn’t get very far.

Not long after I’d started I had a message – do I have any Greenlandic music?

Of course, I have a couple of rock albums from Greenlandic rock groups who sing in Inuktitut but that wasn’t what was required. Did I have any Greenlandic music that would do as the background for a radio programme?

“Not to hand at this very moment” was the obvious answer but I do have two Greenlandic friends, one of Danish extraction and the other a young Inuit girl who are musicians so most of the morning was spent talking to them.

Nive told me that I could help myself to anything of hers (of which there is quite a lot) that I could find in the public media and Heidinnguaq, the young girl whom I met in Uummannaq sent me a couple of songs that she wrote which she plays guitar and sings.

And so what was left of the morning was spent chasing down the various files, editing them and remixing them suitably for the radio shows.

While I was on a roll, as the saying goes, I contacted the son of the guy (now unfortunately no longer with us) who wrote “Grasshopper” – the song that I mentioned yesterday – to see whether his father ever left his notes about his song construction. We had quite a chat for a while but to no avail – there were no notes left behind.

And so, there’s no time like the present and I contacted my musical friend who lives in Germany and sent him the link to the song. He’s going to score it for me. I’ve worked out the melody on the bass guitar but many of the chords bear absolutely no resemblance to the root notes, so they must all be derivatives and that’s way beyong my capabilities.

To take me up to lunch, the nurse came round and injected me with my third vaccination for Covid. Now I’m completely up-to-date with my injections and I have a very sore right arm.

After lunch I had a ‘phone call from the guy who co-ordinates the radio. What am I doing on the 12th November?

Apparently there’s a big meeting taking place to formally open the “Greenland Week” here but the girl who has chosen to make up a radio programme of the event can’t make it. Seeing as I know Uummannaq and the people there so well, could I replace her?

Well, of course I will actually, but really I can’t find the time to do my own stuff, never mind anyone else’s.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021After all of that I went out for my afternoon walk.

Quite a few people down on the beach this afternoon, although nobody brave enough to tackle the water.

And that’s not really a surprise because the weather has now turned and there’s a strong with blowing in its usual direction from the North-West. So the fact that it’s reasonably warm for the time of year counts for nothing really in this.

storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As usual while I’m out looking down on the beach, I have one eye roving about offshore to see what I can catch.

And what caught my eye was this storm raging away out in the bay. Somewhere out there is the island of Jersey but you can’t hope to see it because of the intense rainstorm that is falling down right now.

It’s not any surprise that you can’t see any boats out there in that direction. having seen that huge storm approaching, they have presumably run for cover and I for one don’t blame them.

storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A little further along the coast I came to where I could see over the Ile de Chausey.

In actual fact, where I couldn’t see over the Ile de Chausey very much because there was a massive rainstorm over there too.

This one was far more ominous because the wind was blowing it in my direction and I began to regret that I had come out without a jacket because I had a feeling that in a couple of minutes time I would be right underneath all of that.

people in zodiacs baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021as I walked further on along the path, I did eventually come across some maritime activity.

It looks to me as if it’s a couple of zodiacs in which these people are standing, and the marker buoy behind them is not one that would relate to a lobster pot or anything like that.

The conclusion that I drew from this is that they are frogmen – or maybe I should be saying “frogpersons” these days – going for a practice over the side. We’ve seen quite a few of them in the past just offshore.

yacht rainstorm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I walked down across the carpark to the end of the headland the storm arrived and I got the lot, just as I predicted.

And as it happens, I wasn’t the only one who was having a great deal of difficulty with the weather. There was a yacht out here in the bay battling had to overcome the elements and making rather … errr … heavy weather of it.

The rainstorm was absolutely wicked so I had no intention whatever of hanging around in it seeing how things would develop.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021By now, the wind had increased considerably in speed and velocity and I was expecting to see the results of it on the sea wall.

I’d seen a large wave crash into the wall and sent spray high into the air so I prepared for another.

However it’s usually every seventh wave that is the most powerful but by the time that I’d seen the second or third I was drenched to the skin and the camera was soaking wet so I took a photo of whatever I could get and cleared off.

It reminded me of the time that Kenneth Williams appeared in Bamber Gascoigne’s farce “Share My Lettuce”. He came on stage and described how he disguised himself as a tree in order to study more closely the birds that might nest in it. And he finished his description with “and then I unfurl an umbrella and hold it up over my head”
The narrator said “but the birds will see through your disguise, won’t they, and stay away?”
“Maybe they will” replied Kenneth Williams “but I’m not getting wet for a load of bleeding birds!”.

crane unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Had the weather been any better I would almost certainly have gone for a closer look at this.

There’s a large lorry with something heavy on the trailer, and a very large mobile crane either lifting it off or putting it back on. It’s a shame that right now it’s raining so heavily that I can’t see anything at all. Not even after enhancing the image.

Back at home I made myself a coffee and then dashed through the photographs. I needed a quick, early tea because there’s football on this evening. I ended up with baked potatoes, baked beans and a vegan burger.

You have to feel sorry for Aberystwyth Town though. Second from bottom in the JD Cymru League but against the team that was second in the table, Y Fflint, nothing seemed to go right.

When they remembered to keep the ball on the ground instead of long, aimless punts upfield, they played some really nice, attractive football that kept them going forward despite all of the pressure that they were under.

They did however ahve to misfortune to find Y Flint’s goalkeeper Jon Rushton in excellent form and he made half a dozen top-drawer saves to keep his team out of danger.

Y Fflint scored twice through one of my favourite players, Jack Kenny, who would be a top-class player if he would just learn to control his temper, booked yet again for yet another off-the-ball incident when there was really no need except his own misplaced pride.

Aberystwyth did score a goal – a marvellous goal worthy of any “goal of the month” competition when Rushton punched a ball out upfield and Louis Bradford lobbed it back into goal right over everyone else’s head. have a look at about ABOUT 1:41:25 ONWARDS OF THIS VIDEO

Not long after the football finished and I was writing up my notes, I fell asleep at my desk. I hauled myself off to bed instead, reckoning that I’ll finish my notes tomorrow.


Tuesday 15th June 2021 – SUMER IS ACUMEN IN.

big wheel place albert godal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLhude sing cucu and all of that stuff.

You can always tell when summer is about to arrive in Granville because the Big Wheel puts in an appearance. It must have sneaked in under the cover of darkness and there they are on the Place Albert Godal sticking it up. By the time that I come back from Leuven on Saturday afternoon (God willing) it might even be working.

But I’ve been working today – and working quite hard too, would you believe. Although it was a real struggle, I managed to be out of bed by 06:00 all the same although I would have given all that I own to have been back in bed tucked up in the warmth.

And “back in the warmth” would have been appropriate because there was a cold, clammy mist outside this morning when I awoke. It didn’t look very sunny at all and there would be no chance whatever of seeing TITTAN 1 or any of its siblings.

After the medication I sorted out the dictaphone notes for the last couple of days. They are up to date now and I can turn my attention to last night’s activity. I was out behind the Iron Curtain on a coach tour as a passenger. Everyone was getting ready to go off on an excursion. I hadn’t heard about this so I wondered what was happening. I asked one of the organisers who was rather brusque with me. He told me that they were just going to visit a church and maybe going on to a show or something. I knew where this church was so I said that I’d follow them on. We were told that things were strange in this town because of different rules and regulations. For example, we’d find lots of doors open, or I did when I walked through it, but no-one was there answering it. Films that were going, when you went to watch them they would freeze and when you’d turn your back they would move again. It turned out that because of Covid no-one was allowed to stay in anyone else’s house. They were worried that people meeting each other in a night club or a cinema or somewhere like that would end up pairing off for the night. The authorities wanted to prevent that from happening. It sounded strange to me. All round this city was ringed with these forest ridges where you could go. There would be loads of people about. The place was like a ghost town and there was no-one about at all because of this.

Following that I worked on my Welsh revision and I’m glad that I did because there was a lot that I didn’t know..

And then grabbing my slice of cake and a mug of hot chocolate I went for my lesson. And surprisingly it went quite well although, shame as it is to say it, I fell asleep three times. Not flat out but I could feel myself going off and managed to stop myself just in time.

The results of our exam won’t be known for another 6 weeks, so we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed for longer than I was expecting.

And while we’re on the subject of tests, my Covid test came back negative.

After lunch I had a huge pile of correspondence and printing to do, as well as my tax return. I’ve no idea what i’m supposed to be doing with that. I just date it and sign it, attach a load of papers from various people and let them deal with it. If they need any more info, they can write and ask for it.

gardeners sheltering from the heat rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was stifling hot when I set out for the town.

And I wasn’t the only one who was feeling the heat. There are some gardeners around the town dealing with the vegetation and they clearly decided that the only protection is flight. They’ve pulled their lorry up underneath a tree and they were all sitting on the wall in the shade.

Not for me though. I pushed on to the estate agent’s and gave them the certificate of insurance for my apartment. They didn’t think that it was the correct one but they’ll sort it out.

And I cursed my bad luck as well. They had a storage garage to let that would have been ideal for me to rent and dump all of this stuff out of Caliburn but I’d missed it by a whisker. It was now let.

Next stop is the Post Office. I’m just a whisker away from having a Carte Vitale, the card that opens the dorrs to the French Social Security system. I didn’t think I’d qualify but I applied all the same. And surprisingly, I had the paperwork back asking for my photo, a copy of my carte d’identité and a specimen signature.

So who knows?

Third stop was at the bank. They pay my Belgian pension 6-monthly by cheque and I don’t know why, but anyway the cheques came the other day and I need to pay them in. Now where can I go with €230?

unsafe scaffolding rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way up to the Tax Office (there are 41 steps up to the Eglise St Paul and I felt every one of them) I came across this interesting arrangement.

The scaffolding legs that are on the floor don’t go all the way up to the top. It’s just a few 2-metre lengths and the rest of the height of the scaffolding is somehow wedged up against the lengths on the floor.

No matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t see how it was rendered safe. That’s the kind of thing that looks totally unsafe to me. But there’s probably a very simple answer to this even if I couldn’t see it so don’t take this insecurity for granted. It probably makes perfect sense to those who go up it.

beach Boulevard des Amiraux Granvillais Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving deposited my papers in the letter box, I headed down to the beach. A different one today – the one by the Boulevard des Amiraux Granvillais with its tidal pool.

And there were quite a few people taking in the sun down there today. And I’m not surprised because it was a really scorching afternoon.

One person down there enjoying the weather was our friend the itinerant who used o hang around up here in the past. He was in an expansive mood and we spent a good 45 minutes chatting before, in the words of the News Of The Screws reporter “I made my excuses and left”. I had plenty of things to do right now and standing there talking wasn’t getting them done.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I left I noticed a Bird Man of Alcatraz on his way towards the end of the headland, but rather more likely on a direct collision course with the spire of the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

As I awaited the inevitable calamity, he did a U-turn and steered himself out of the way and headed back from whence he came. And I cursed my bad luck. It’s really not my day, is it?

To console myself, I went off and treated myself to an ice-cream. It was that kind of day. And my favourite ice-cream stall was actually closed, which was a surprise to me. But the one next door wasn’t. And it really did taste delicious. I shall have to go there again.

zero waste shop mademoiselle vrac Rue Georges Clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe old pharmacy in the Rue Georges Clemenceau closed down a while ago and it’s now been reoccupied.

It’s going to be one of those weigh-and-save places, rather like the BULK BARN places that we know from Canada, but I bet that it will be much more upmarket than that and we’ll be hard-pressed to find any bargains.

You would think that with the absence of packaging, the produce would be cheaper but that’s rarely the case.

Back here, my Inuit friend Heidinguaq was on-line so we had a little chat. It’s nice to see her after than nocturnal visit that she paid me the other day. I asked if she would be coming to Europe some time soon. She hoped so so I said that we’d meet up and I’d bring my bass.

STRAWBERRY MOOSE will come too. Those two have a special affinity after their meeting in Uummannaq when we called in there with THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR

The guitar practice was slow but sure, and then I had veggie balls and pasta for tea, followed by apple pie and home made custard.

Now I’m off to bed. I’m going to Leuven tomorrow and I have nothing whatsoever ready. It’s one of those days.

Saturday 4th January 2020 – HERE I AM …

… back home again after my mega-day out on yet another coach outing.

And mega-day out it was too. With a somewhat late night, I was in no mood to leave the bed at … errr … 05:30 this morning, but needs must when the devil drives, although it took me a while to come to terms with the time.

No time for breakfast. Just enough time to throw something in a rucksack to nibble on, to make some butties from lunch, grab my equipment and head out of the door.

us granvillaise football supporters stade louis dior granville manche normandy france eric hallWe had to present ourselves at the Stade Louis Dior at 07:00. I surprised myself by being there at 06:50

There were only a couple of the “Neva” buses – the buses that provide the public transport around the town – at the stadium so I was anticipating a hard ride all the way to Versailles.

But while I was waiting, I buttonholed the guy who beats the big plastic oil drum at the football matches and asked him a few questions about things.

autocars lemare coaches donville les bains us granvillaise football supporters  granville manche normandy fc versailles 78 Stade de Montbauron, Versailles  france eric hallIt seems that my fears about the transport were unnecessary.

About 5 minutes after I arrived, so did the real transport. Autocars Lemare from down the road at Donville-les-Bains had been engaged and sent along three of their Van Hool executive coaches.

For a change, I drew a good number. A seat on the upper deck of an almost-new double decker. It’s been quite a while since I’ve travelled in such luxury, I’ll tell you that.

Even more surprisingly, we set off bang on 07:30 as advertised. It’s the first time that that’s ever happened.

The first part of the journey was in the dark and it wasn’t safe to move about, so I caught up with my beauty sleep for an hour or so. But once the light came up and I could see what I was doing, I set to work.

Having made an executive decision (that is, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, a decision that if it goes wrong, the person doing it is executed) to lead from the front, I took the microphone and dictaphone with me and interviewed the passengers about their support for the club and their reasons for going to the match.

The dictaphone and the mike work passably in “outside broadcast” situations at the budget end of the scale in which we work, and I can make quite presentable “outside broadcast” radio programmes with the computer. So I’m going to make one – not about the match itself because by the time I will have finished it, it will be old news, but about the supporters.

My own personal opinion is that the club ought to do more to encourage supporters to travel to “away” matches and so having a captive audience to work with, I might make something that will knock on a few doors.

us granvillaise football supporters  granville manche normandy fc versailles 78 Stade de Montbauron, Versailles france eric hallHaving stopped on the way up for a coffee, we arrived at the Stade de Montbauron in Versailles at just after 11:30, for a 13:00 kick-off.

We had to loiter around for a while. They were only letting us into the ground a handful at a tme so as not to cause congestion. That gave me an opportunity to chat to a few more passengers off the other buses.

But the real reason for loitering soon became apparent. Where we were to be standing was actually outside the perimeter of the ground and they wanted to have the opportunity of checking our tickets and our baggage without being overwhelmed in a flood of people.

us granvillaise football supporters  granville manche normandy fc versailles 78 Stade de Montbauron, Versailles  france eric hallStill an hour or so before kick-off and that gave me an opportunity to have a walk around and a look at what was going on.

First thing to do was to eye up the “opposition”. There were about four TV cameras (and maybe more) in the ground and they had a Mercedes Vito van that was kitted out as a mobile control centre.

What wouldn’t I give for something like this? Perhaps I ought to convert Caliburn.

As a treat, I found a bag of chips for myself and eventually managed to track down the stadium’s announcer who let me have a minute of his valuable time by telling me something of his club.

us granvillaise football supporters  granville manche normandy fc versailles 78 Stade de Montbauron, Versailles  france eric hallThe Stade de Montbauron is another one of these one-sided wonders.

There’s a large concrete stand that could accommodate several thousand people and a large standing area in front of it. The “town end” and the far side are effectively inaccessible and the fourth end is a row of concrete steps that are quite uncomfortable to sit on, and in the open air.

My instincts were telling me that this wouldn’t be a nice place to be in the middle of January in a freezing cold rainstorm.

us granvillaise football supporters  granville manche normandy fc versailles 78 Stade de Montbauron, Versailles  france eric hallBefore the kick-off, I’d spoken to one of the crowd control people from FC Versailles 78.

He told me that they were expecting a crowd of maybe just over a thousand, of which 300 were from Granville. I’d heard this “300” figure from elsewhere but I suspected this to be somewhat optimistic.

But no matter how many there were, they were making far more noise than the home side and that’s what counts.

us granvillaise football supporters  granville manche normandy fc versailles 78 Stade de Montbauron, Versailles  france eric hallAs for the match itself, I’m left shaking my head about this one.

For the first 25 minutes or so FC Versailles 78 were like a runaway train as they smashed their way into the Granville defence. I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times in that period when Granville had the ball in the Versailles half.

In fact, I was fearing the worst.

And that’s no surprise because after 14 minutes, they were 1-0 ahead.

Yet another break into the Granville penalty area. A Versailles player in a marvellous position to shoot when a desperate last-ditch sliding tackle robs him of the ball.

The ball bobbles up, hits the Versailles player and bounces back into the Granville defender and hits him – on the arm.

No doubt about it – definitely a penalty within the Laws of the Game. But how unlucky can you be?

For the penalty, the Granville goalkeeper dived to the right, only to be outdone by a beautiful “Panenka” penalty right down the middle.

After 25 minutes, a most astonishing thing happened.

Granville, who up to that moment had been totally anonymous and had barely troubled the linesman down at that end, suddenly came to life.

Lambarette picked up a loose ball in his own area and set off at a hell of a pace down the field on one of the mazy runs that he does and which usually lead nowhere.

But this time, he had half a yard on everyone else and was clear down the field. As the Versailles keeper came out to challenge him, he simply tried a delightful lob right over the keeper and the ball went into the Versailles net for the equaliser.

By my reckoning, that was Granville’s first shot on goal.

The second half started as the first half, with Versailles throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Granville’s defence but Granville stood firm.

Granville’s response was just a whole series of aimless hoofs upfield in the general direction of Ibaye but usually going nowhere near him.

One of Granville’s midfielders I had particularly noticed because up until that moment he had done nothing at all and as a substitute was warming up on the touchline, my money was on him coming off.

But right at that moment as I was musing on the subject, one of these aimless hoofs suddenly landed at his feet. A little bit of trickery found him free of two defenders and one-on-one with the keeper. The keeper went down far too early so the Granville midfielder simply rounded him and tapped the ball in the empty net.

Granville in front? I don’t think that anyone could believe it from the way that the match had been going to that point.

Late in the game Ibaye was replaced and William Sea came on to go upfront. He’s an ex-professional from the Premier League but had a lot of time out with injury and came to Granville to try to rehabilitate himself.

He’s not done much to date, which is probably not a surprise given how long he’s been out, but he’s big and strong and knows the game. Within about 30 seconds of his entry onto the field he had left his mark on both the Versailles centre-halves, and I do actually mean that.

Granville’s forward line definitely became much more lively and purposeful with him up front. It’s one thing that the club has been lacking – a big bruiser up front, and if ever he recovers even half his form he’ll be a handful for any defence at this level.

us granvillaise football supporters  granville manche normandy fc versailles 78 Stade de Montbauron, Versailles  france eric hallSo the final whistle went and Granville had surprisingly won it. No-one would have given any sort of odds whatever on that result after 20 minutes.

The players came down to see the supporters afterwards to thank them for turning up. There’s no doubt about it – the noise that the fans had made throughout the game had been impressive.

The FC Versailles 78 fans left the ground shaking their heads in disbelief, and who can blame them?

us granvillaise football supporters  granville manche normandy fc versailles 78 Stade de Montbauron, Versailles  france eric hallMy work was not over though.

With microphone and dictaphone in hand, I went amongst the crowd and asked several of them their thoughts.

One thing that is important is that I like to engage the youth in any activity like this because youth are the future. So I talked to several kids as well as adults. There were three girls aged about 12 or 13 who I’d seen at every Granville match and who usually chatted away to everyone about anyone and anything.

And they were great, until I produced the microphone. They suddenly dried up and you couldn’t get a word out of them. We saw that phenomenon with one of the girls from Uummannaq the other week.

On the other hand, a boy and a girl aged about 9 could have talked all night to me without the slightest air of self-consciousness and that will be some really good radio if it works.

Having had a bad night, I had a sleep for an hour or so on the way back, but a coffee at a motorway service area awoke me.

So now I’m back home. Tea was out of a tin and seeing as I made almost 110% of my daily activity I didn’t go for a walk tonight.

What I’ll do is have a lie in tomorrow and then try my best to finish the Bain des Manchots. I want that out of the way so that I can do this football supporters’ programme.

There’s this feelign in the back of my mind that for the next foreseeable future i’m going to be up against it.

Monday 9th December 2019 – I HAVE NEVER EVER MET …

… so many people so gifted with the art of expanding so little thought into so many words.

It’s true that I have said this before, but here I am saying it again under different circumstances. Like at another one of these volunteer meeting things.

Following my exploits at that meeting with the kids from Greenland the other day, I was invited to take part in this twinning committee because “my mother tongue is English and I speak French pretty well”

And so there in the upstairs room in the Grand Café they were going on about “we could do … (X, Y and Z) … but the stuff is in English so if only we had someone to translate it into French” – and there I was sitting right next to and right opposite the two people having this discussion who both had totally forgotten that I had translated from the English to the French at that meeting the other week. “There’s someone here who could translate it for us” said another person, and pointed to … another (French) woman sitting at the corner of the table.

And in order to introduce myself to the others, I had to make a little speech of introduction to the rest of the gathering, so I began with “there are six people in Greenland who I know really well …” and named them. And a few minutes later someone said to me “surely you know … (Mr X) and (Mrs Y) and (Master Z) and (his pet gibbon)” who were not among the people whose names I had mentioned.

Obviously, people not taking the slightest bit of interest or notice of what I have been doing or saying.

The conversation carried on about not very much for two hours, except for who could speak the longest and say the least. I was effectively shunted off into obscurity, musing to myself that these are the kind of meetings that should be held standing up, outside, in the pouring rain. And then all of the work would be accomplished in probably a tenth of the time, and much more effectively too.

But it’s my own fault. I paid the €15:00 membership fee as soon as I arrived. Had I held out until the end before waving the folding stuff about, I imagine that they might have made more of an effort to engage with me until they had managed to chisel the cabbage out of my sweaty little mitt.

This morning though was just as bad. Apparently I had to go with someone to interview someone in English. I thought that we were doing that a couple of weeks ago but it was merely a telephone call. Today it looked like the real thing but when we arrived, it was simply a case of going for a meal with this British guy with the purpose of arranging a date for the interview.

It’s all complete, total and utter chaos and what made it worse was that when we were outside this restaurant the British guy and I were having a chat and the French guy who was trying to set up this interview said afterwards to me “if only we had the gear hear to record that. It was exactly what I wanted!”

Had I not needed him to drive me home from Avranches, I would have beaten him to death on the spot.

That’s not the worst of it either. The way to do this interview is to prepare a list of questions. I ask them of this English guy and we record the answers. We then superimpose a French person asking the questions into the recording and then I do a translation into French with a nice British accent and it’s overdubbed so you can hear the British guy talking in the background but hear the French (with accent) over the top.

It’s such a simple thing to do and I can do it all in half an hour here at my desk but the guy who thinks that he’s running the show (as distinct from the guy who is supposed to be running it) feels that he needs to be there and to do it in a way that is about 10 times more complicated and gives nothing like the same effect.

As I’ve said before … “and you’ll inevitably say again!” – ed … the lack of professionalism is really annoying me. And these are hours of my life that I won’t ever get back and I don’t have all that many to spare.

The proof of all of this was that I was up until quite late last night working, trying to catch up with the arrears of work (some hope).

And just as I was about to go to bed the gale got up, we were hit by a tempest and as I opened the bedroom door there was an enormous flash of lightning – just by way of a spontaneous greeting to me.

Despite the late night I was off on my travels last night, with Batty Bat (and it’s been YEARS since she’s accompanied me on a nocturnal voyage) and TOTGA. I’ll spare you all of the gory details because you’re probably eating a meal right now and I don’t want to turn your stomachs. But what was surprising about this particular journey is that encompassed several events that have or had a parallel with events that have or had taken place in real life and one event in particular that has been going through my conscious mind for the last week or so. It was quite surprising when I heard it on the dictaphone.

With a Herculean effort I was out of bed before the third alarm and after breakfast I attacked the outstanding project that needed to be done by today.

And ohh me miseram“well, puer amat mensam!” – ed … I miscalculated the timing and ran 5 minutes short of my hour. A frantic search found a piece of music exactly the correct length, and then I needed a vocal explanation to go with it. Which I recorded incorrectly.

strange sunlight effects baie de mont st michel st pair sur mer granville manche normandy franceToo late now for my shower, I shot off for my meeting at the Centre Agora.

One thing about being late for my meeting is that had I been on time five minutes earlier I would have missed this glorious light. I’ve spoken … “at great lengths” – ed … on several previous occasions, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, about the peculiar lighting effects that we can sometimes have around here and we’ve seen a few examples, but there has been nothing quite like this one.

This is one of the best that I have ever seen.

At the Centre Agora I made another suggestion but this one suffered the same fate as the other suggestions that I have made – viz kicked into the long grass. And then this abortive drive to Avranches with people who have nothing better to do with their lives.

Back here again I cracked on and finished the project that needed finishing and then I attacked the following one that I had already prepared. The music was ready and just needed the sound so I dictated that and began to edit it when i discovered that I had forgotten a track.

Down into town for this other meeting and on the way back I had a text message – “your train on Thursday is cancelled due to a strike”. So much for that!

aztec lady omerta spirit of conrad chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOn the way back home after the meeting I went the long way round in order to clock up the kilometres and also to see what was going on in the Chantier Navale.

We stall have our three boats in there – Spirit of Conrad, Omerta and Aztec Lady but never mind them for a moment. Just admire the photograph.

It’s quite true that I’ve taken many photos that have come out far better than this one, but the fact is that this one was taken with the little Nikon 1 and if it could take photos like this all the time I wouldn’t be so reluctant to rely on it.

Whenever I go out on foot for any distance I take that one with me because it fits nicely in the pocket, but its night-time photos have usually been something of a disappointment.

With my train being cancelled, the first task when I reached home was to see what Flixbus had to offer me.

Nothing at all from Avranches, but there is a bus going from Caen at … errr … 08:00 that morning. So it looks as if Caliburn and I will be having an early start. The station car park at Caen is quite expensive but I’ll be badgered if I’m going to leave him in the street for four days.

But something happened to me today. Walking up the hill towards my meeting at the Centre Agora this morning, I suddenly came over all queer. And then tonight, I had another fall. Luckily onto a raised grass surface so I did myself no damage. But what’s happening here?

Tea was the rest of the leftover curry with rice and veg followed by the last of the pineapple with sorbet. Now I’m carrying on working as I listen to a “Traffic Live” concert. A brilliant band, Traffic, especially live.

Tomorrow I have a couple of things to do in town as well as cashing in my rail tickets, but I want to finish this project on which I’m working as well as doing another one at least before I go.

There’s tidying up to do too, so I’m hoping to be on form. But I doubt if I’ll have an early night. Far too much to do!

Thursday 28th November 2019 – I MISSED …

… the second alarm call YET AGAIN – and I’ve no idea why because it’s quite clearly programmed in.

And so when what I thought was the second alarm call went off and I glanced at my fitbit and saw that it was 06:20, no-one was more disappointed than me.

There I was, deep in the arms of Morpheus and I wasn’t alone either, because the Girls from Uummannaq were in there with me.

What was going through my mind was a quote from the report of Vaino Tanner, a Finnish anthropologist who had studied the Inuit in Labrador and reported, in his book “Outlines of the Geography, Life and Customs of Newfoundland-Labrador” of 1944 that inuit girls …

  1. … are the hardest-working of all of the Inuit people (and then goes on to list all of the household tasks that they are expected to do in the home)
  2. … are very keen to marry settlers of European descent
  3. … have an extremely sensual nature

There he was, wondering how he found out all of this, and there I was, about to put Point 3 to the test (and wondering how Tanner discovered that particular point) when, with sitting bolt upright like that, it all immediately disappeared from my mind.

So having had a disappointing medication and breakfast followed by a shower, I attacked the dictaphone notes, totally forgetting that I was supposed to be going to LIDL.

jcb pallet lifter rue st jean granville manche normandy franceEventually, it clicked with me, so I dressed and made a hurried exit.

Stepping out into the street, I was nearly flattened by a JCB pallet lifter that was in something of a hurry going down the street.

And when I expressed the fact that I had almost bee flattened by this thing, al of my friends expressed their regret.

unloading plasterboard battens rue st jean granville manche normandy franceThey’ve been working on another house here in the old town, this time in the rue St Jean, and they’ve had a delivery of metal plasterboard struts.

Our pallet lifter was on his way to lift them into the house, blocking the entire street as he did so, much to the dismay of all of the motorists.

I, however, had a delightful five minutes watching him have all kinds of problems trying to unload the pallet, with part of the metal struts wedged under the load bar of the pick-up.

clouds over granville manche normandy franceThe weather was looking rather miserable today and was on the point of rain.

Over there you can see a nice storm cloud hovering over the town right where I’m heading, and with the rays of the sun shining somewhere else.

There was this feeling that it was not going to be my day today.

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy franceWhile the wind had dropped considerably from the previous few days, you would never have thought so by looking at the waves down there.

The tide is quite a way out still as you can see and yet we already have something crashing down on the loading ramp at the Plat Gousset.

The amount of energy there is in the sea and yet there are some people who don’t want to harvest it.

fibre optic cable laying roadworks place marechal foch granville manche normandy franceDown in the Place marechal Foch I had better luck.

The workmen were there today and they didn’t run off when I approached them like they did yesterday, so I was able to talk to them.

And I was right. It’s more fibre-optic cable trunking going in. And they don’t have a clue as to when the system will be going live. After all, it’s only been about two years now. There’s no hurry

Having said that, I hurried, right up the hill at something of a good pace all the way to LIDL. And I can tell that I’m doing better because I was talking to myself all the way up. if I can do that, I can’t be too out of breath.

At LIDL there was nothing special that I needed so I just bought a few bits of fruit and veg, some drink and some boxes of rice. I’m on my last box of that so I need supplies.

old cars jaguar xj8 granville manche normandy franceBut how about this that I bumped into on the way home? You don’t see too many of these about and I haven’t seen one for ages.

It’s a Jaguar XJ-8 2+2 coupé, and the reference to the “8” in the model name relates to the fact that it’s powered not by the standard 6-cylinder or v-12 engine but by a V8 engine.

These were launched in 1997 as a kind-of replacement for the XJ-S but because of the reputation that the earlier vehicle had, they just never caught on at all and as I have said, I haven’t seen one on the road for years

normandy trader marite port de granville harbour manche normandy franceHaving fought my way through the town and stopping off for my dejeunette, I headed on back home again.

And peering over the wall, I noticed that our old friend Normandy Trader is back in town again. She must have sneaked in on the early morning tide.

Of course she would, wouldn’t she, when I’m running so late that I don’t have time to go down to say “hello”

young cat rue des juifs granville manche normandy franceThat wasn’t all of the excitement in the rue des Juifs either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I encountered a young black cat in the vegetation up on the city walls. Today, it was the turn of this very young tabby and white to make my acquaintance.

We had quite a chat too for a few minutes before it went off to do some more exploring.

There was half an hour or so to go before lunch so I attacked some more dictaphone stuff. And by the time that I knocked off, I was down to just 59 outstanding entries.

Mind you, the ones that I attacked today (and will be doing for the next few days) are the ones when I was slowly reaching a crisis point and they make rather grim, if not gruesome listening.

There was all kinds of turmoil going on in my head round about this time and that much is clearly evident in what was going on during the night.

After lunch, I started to attack the web pages, to carry on with the updating. By the time I was ready to go for my afternoon walk, I had done 13 of those.

That may not sound like much compared to yesterday, but there were plenty of distractions going on while I was trying to do it and I was lucky that I did that many.

By now we were in the middle of a rainstorm but I didn’t let that deter me.

fishing boats english channel granville manche normandy franceOut in the English Channel towards jersey I could make out something moving in the gloom so I tok a speculative shot to work on when I returned to the apartment so that I could see what it might be.

And it’s another bunch of fishing boats out there doing what they do best, and i this weather too!

However, I’m absolutely certain that we haven’t seen this much activity out there in preceding years. It seems to me that things are changing, and changing quite rapidly too, in the fishing industry.

trees pointe du roc light beacon baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceFurther on around the headland and, as Bob Dylan famously sung, “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” around here.

The tide is right out now as you can see. if you look at the beacon there between the trees, that’s almost totally submerged when the tide is fully in.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we have the highest tides in Europe right here on the coast.

But the rain is now closing in again quite quickly and I have a feeling that I’m about to get the lot of it.

storm pointe de carolles baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceLook at that storm brewing up over the Pointe de Carolles.

That triangular lump just there by the way is part of one of the old bunkers that formerly formed the Atlantic Wall.

After the War they tried to demolish the bunkers and so they packed the first one with explosive.

With the force of the explosion they managed to break every window in Normandy, Brittany and the Channel Islands but as far as the bunker went, they managed to move a hatful of concrete about half an inch.

They decided then to give it up as a bad job.

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy franceBy now it was pelting down again so I didn’t hang around for long. I headed for home.

The Chantier Navale had its usual complement of boats so I didn’t stop to take a photo, but Normandy Trader was still at her berth by the crane so I took a quick photo of her.

And then I came back to the apartment, where I spent some time working on my “Girls of Uummannaq” web pages

There was some curry left over from the other day for tea, but not a frightful lot of it so I added a small potato and some spinach. And it was just as delicious.

For pudding, I had realised that I’d had some soya coconut cream stuff open for quite a while so I thought about that with my pineapple. But it looked rather dubious to me so it went don the drain and I had blackcurrant sorbet instead.

storm waves plat gousset place marechal foch granville manche normandy franceOut and about in the dark I thought that I was alone until I was barked at by a dog, with its owner standing in a deep shadow. It’s a good job that I wasn’t doing anything that I wasn’t suposed to be doing.

But it was dark down there tonight. They had switched off the lights on the Plat Gousset so although the waves were beating down on the sea wall, you couldn’t see them.

Nevertheless, I did my best

night rue lecampion granville manche normandy franceNot so much of a problem in the town though.

The upper floors of the buildings on the south side of the rue Lecampion for some reason mooked quite good this evening, very well illuminated by the street lights.

So much so that I couldn’t resist a photo. And I do like the shadow effect on the stone walls.

No-one about tonight so I had a good run, making half the way up the ramp at the end of my little track. One day I’ll measure it and see how far it is. It’s only about 300 metres, I reckon, if that.

Minette the old black cat was there on her windowsill so she let me give her a little stroke. It seems to be my lucky period for cats right now, although i’m not sure why. I probably smell of fish.

So tomorrow I’m having a day at home. For once I don’t have to go anywhere, but nevertheless I still have a lot of work to do.

To do some information files for my projects for a start. And once they are done, I can tell you all about it.

So there are one or two other little things that need to be done tonight and then I’m off to bed. I’m hoping that I can slide back into the arms of Morpheus and carry on my experiments from last night.

Saturday 23rd November 2019 – ANYONE RECOGNISE …

girls from orphanage uummannaq music dancing archipel granville manche normandy france… anyone – or even themselves – in this photo that I took this evening?

Yes, I’ve been out and about again this evening on my travels to see a few of my friends from my High Arctic adventures. They are here in Granville to celebrate the twinning of the town with the town of Uummannaq in the far north of Greenland where I was last September and they are heading off back home at the beginning of next week.

They were giving a concert at the Archipel, the theatre that is burrowed into the rock next to the Casino so I went along to say “goodbye”.

Mind you, I’m not sure that it was a good idea because I wasn’t in much of a state to go there after the night that I had. I had promised that I would submit a handful of good photos from the evening’s meeting to the organisers so by the time that I had finished doing all of that and writing up my notes it was long after 03:30 yet again when I went to bed.

The alarm went off as usual but I ignored it. It was 08:55 when I awoke.

While I was waiting for the medication to work, I went to fetch the dictaphone and download the details of last night’s voyage. I definitely remember being on my travels and I definitely remember dictating something but on the dictaphone there was nothing at all.

But then, this isn’t the first time that this has happened, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. I’ve noted a couple of occasions where I’ve been on the second plane of consciousness – ie I’ve dreamt that I was dreaming, and that it was in my dream I dictated the notes.

When things happen like that, it starts to become exciting.

Once breakfast was over I dashed out to the shops. LIDL, NOZ and LeClerc felth the benefit of my largesse today. And I spent a reasonable amount of monet too, although there wasn’t much to show for it all. But at least I can eat now for the rest of the week.

Back here, having fought my way through the crowds and the inconsiderate van drivers who, not finding a parking space right where they wanted to be and being obviously unable to walk 20 metres from a vacant one nearby simply abandon their vehicles on the highway, I put away the stuff and then had a good shower. I didn’t have time before I went out.

And – SHOCK! HORROR! – a haircut. I needed it too!

It was lunchtime now so I made my butties and then did a pile of tidying up. I even vacuumed the floor. I know that this is getting serious but I was expecting visitors.

Sure enough, bang on time, Liz and Terry turned up. We had a really good chat and then we had food. Liz had brought some carrot and red pepper soup and I made some garlic bread, and we had a meal fit for a king.

It was now time to head off to the concert.

nive neilsen and the deer children archipel granville manche normandy franceIt wasn’t just the kids performing. Their mentor, Nive Neilsen, was there with her group, Nive Neilsen and the Deer Children.

Of course I know Nive. I’d met her fleetingly in Uummannaq last year but this year we’d spent a pleasant two weeks together on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour in the High Arctic and I’d got to know her, her partner Charlie and her delightful little twins.

We had tentatively arranged to meet up before the concert for a chat but it wasn’t to be. She had far too many other things to worry about and, as we all know, folding stuff takes priority over everything.

nive neilsen and the deer children archipel granville manche normandy franceNive and her colleagues entertained us for well over an hour and it was a thoroughly enjoyable show. The sound though was pretty dreadful and the least said about the lighting the better.

As usual on these occasions I took dozens of photos and when I’ve edited and organised them I’ll make up a page with them all on and post the link so that you can all see it.

Most of them could be better but one or two of them are really good.

We came back via the bar up here but that was packed out so we didn’t stop. Liz and Terry went off home and I came in to write up my notes of the day.

But now, with the photos not done, I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted so a good night’s sleep will do me good. There’s no alarm tomorrow as we all know so I can have a really deep and guilt-free lie-in. So just watch someone come along and spoil it.

Friday 22nd November 2019 – WHAT ODDS …

… would you have given on me walking into a social centre here in Granville on the West Normandy coast and bumping into three young girls who I have met before … in a small town called Uummannaq in the far north of Greenland?

Yes, it’s true that it’s “Greenland week” here in Granville, but even so, it’s a pretty long shot, isn’t it?

heidinnguaq jensen girls from orphanage uummannaq music dancing granville manche normandy franceWe’ve all seen this smile before, haven’t we?

It’s the smile that I have as the background to the desktop on my little old laptop and the girl to whom it belongs is my friend Heidinnguaq, she who spent half an hour or so posing for me last year when I was there.

And here she is in Granville too, with a few of her friends.

After my marathon session the other evening, last night I was in bed at something like a realistic time last night. Plenty of time to go on a travel or two. And who should I meet last night was my friend Ric. I’m not sure exactly how it had come round to this but I’d come to the town where he lived. I’d been round to where there were shelves and books and like cupboards and so on and it was some kind of description about what I was going to be doing and what I was going to be. Anyway, I knocked on his door, and he came out and we had a little chat. I told him that I was going out with someone later that evening. In fact I was going out with a lot of people but I was hoping that one particular person would be there. He stepped off his door and came in and said “what’s all this about?” and said something like a tree – an oak or a sycamore or something like that. It turned out that that was an euphemism that I had been using on this piece of paper stuck on this wall about the person that I was hoping to see that evening. So I said “yes, I’m going on a date”. I didn’t tell him too much – just enough to get his appetite interested. And that was when I awoke. It goes without saying that the person whom I was hoping to meet was Castor.

The alarms went off as usual and I leapt out of bed (and I did too!) ready for an early start. And after breakfast I did another magnum opus from the pile on the dictaphone. Only one (and half another) but it was certainly one of the longest.

And having transcribed it, I can see why it was one of the ones that affected me so much. It was very similar to one that I had back in May where the world was coming to an end and I was the last survivor. There I was, all alone on the beach watching the world come to an end just like in Neville Shute’s novel On The Beach, and as the narrator brings the story to a close, his prose breaks, in perfect time and perfect scan, into a speech that runs into a slightly amended version of the final couple of lines of the lyrics (which he speaks) of “The Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”.

Well, the night in early September that I transcribed this morning was just like that, and it was such a surprise not just because of the event, but because of the fact that I’d been there a short while earlier in almost identical circumstances. And the narrator’s hypnotic speech added a certain amount of tension to the whole thing too.

But I couldn’t hang around doing that all morning. There were plenty of other things to do, such as to prepare my speech and select about 25 photos from my visit to Uummannaq.

fishing boats entering port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThat took me up to about 13:00 – usually that’s lunchtime but there’s only frozen bread here so I went down to the boulangerie for another dejeunette down in the town to make my sandwiches.

The tide was well in by now and all of the fishing boats were coming into the harbour to bring their catch to the fish-processing plant.

You can see all of the equipment lined up on the quayside.

fishing boat leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd the turn-round in the port was pretty rapid. I’ll tell you that.

It takes me about 5 minutes or so to walk from the top right down the stairs – the escalier des noires-vaches – to the rue du Port. And by the time that had reached the bottom, the yellow and white boat that we saw arriving was just on its way back out to sea.

They don’t hang about in the harbour when there are other fish to fry, that’s for sure.

la grande ancre leaving fishing boat entering port de granville harbour manche normandy franceIn fact, it was so busy in the inner harbour today that we had something of a traffic jam.

There was La Grande Ancre waiting to leave port, but she was unable to because there was another fishing boat on its way in. La Grande Ancre had to wait a good few minutes for the other boat to make its way through the gates before she could make her way out.

Of course, that’s no reason to complain. A busy fishing port is an important asset to the community.

After lunch I made a decent adapter cable for the new laptop out of a cut-down North American extension lead that was hanging around in Caliburn. I cut it down so that there was about a foot or so on the socket end, and added an old European plug on the bare end.

And it works to perfection too. Nothing wrong with that! And then I uploaded Paint Shop Pro and made a slide show out of the photos that I had chosen.

While I had Pint Shop Pro and the external DVD dive out, I reinstalled it onto the laptop that broke down in North America and which I managed to restart. I’m going to see if I can make it run again, although I’m not sure why I would want to.

drum dancing girls from orphanage uummannaq music dancing granville manche normandy franceAt 15:45 the guy from the Education Department came to pick me up and took me to the Sports Hall at the local High School, and that was where I met Heidinnguaq and her friends.

First thing that I did was to scrounge a huge television and couple up my laptop to it, and then set my slideshow in motion.

It would provide a little ambience to the meeting.

girls from orphanage uummannaq music dancing granville manche normandy franceWe had a little talk, that didn’t last too long, and having done their drum dance, throat singing and polar bear dance (the one that Jena did for me last year in Uummannaq), Heidinnguaq was prevailed upon to produce her guitar.

She’s an excellent guitarist and singer, and has written quite a few songs of her own. She played a couple and then did a number by Amy Winehouse.

Mind you, having English as her third language, I hope that she didn’t understand the significance of what she was singing. The lyrics, to a native-English-speaking person, are full of innuendo that a foreigner will probably not understand.

There was a question and answer session afterwards, which I translated, and then in the best tradition of the News of the Screws, I made my excuses and left.

Back here, it was tea-time. I had a rummage around in the freezer and found some lentil, pepper and potato curry from 24th August … errr … 2018. That was just as nice today as it was back then, especially as it was followed down by more rice pudding.

Later, I took out the rubbish and braving the wind and rain, made a hurried circuit of the headland, including a brief run for a few hundred metres. Short of my target unfortunately but there you go.

When I returned, there was football on the internet. Barry Town v Penybont (Bridgend to the uninitiated) in the Welsh Premier League.

For the first 15 minutes you wouldn’t have believed that Penybont were at the bottom of the table and Barry at the top. From the action up until that point you would have said that it was the other way round.

However, as the match progressed, Barry began to exert themselves and they ran out 3-0 winners. The result was right, but the scoreline was rather unfair. Barry’s goals were

  • a well-worked routine from a corner
  • a screamer from 25 yards that could have gone anywhere
  • a defensive error where the full_back slipped on the wet surface and lost control of the ball, with a Barry Town player the quickest to react to the loose ball
    • But credit to Penybont. They kept on going regardless and even in injury time they were still pushing forward playing some constructive football.

      All they need is to get the run of the green.

      It’s quite late now but I’ve been spending all the evening editing photos. All of the photos that I took of the girls I’ll post on a separate page when I get round to it.

      Just one more special event, and that’s tomorrow evening. And then I ca get back round to the usual busy stae without any of these extra jobs cropping up.

      I could do with a rest.

      la grande ancre waiting to leave port de granville harbour manche normandy france
      la grande ancre waiting to leave port de granville harbour manche normandy france

      fishing boat entering port de granville harbour  manche normandy france
      fishing boat entering port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Thursday 21st November 2019 – I WAS RIGHT …

normandy trader thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france… about the situation down in the harbour.

Thora has indeed moved over to the side out of the loading bay, and there in her place is Normandy Trader who has indeed come into town on the early morning tide.

And as usual, I didn’t really have time to go down for a coffee and a chat because I have a lot of things to do and I’m running terribly late as usual.

In fact I didn’t leave my bed this morning until gone 09:00

Mind you, there is a genuine reason for this and it isn’t a case of idling about or lounging around either.

In fact, after I’d finished my notes for yesterday I did as I mentioned sit down and update a few web pages, 11 in fact. And when I’d finished, not feeling in the least tired despite my very long day, I started to think about what I was going to say for my next project, which will be numbered D001 for reasons that will soon become clear.

Needing to find 3:40 worth of speech, I started to have a good muse about and dropped one or two ideas down on paper and rather than expand them in that format, I began to dictate them using the recording equipment that I have here.

And by the time that I’d finished, with various Umming and Aaahing and a few corrections, I ended up with 5:20 worth of notes – and all in French too.

Next step was to sit down and edit it. Cut out all of the pauses, the Umms and Ahhs, and that brought it down to about 4:15. So then I hacked out a few phrases here and there and after some jiggery and not a little pokery, there I was with my 3:40 or thereabouts.

Next stage was then to merge it onto the front of the music that I’ll be using – or, rather, merge the music onto the end of the speech.

One hour is what I’m allowed, and there I was, came to a dead stop at exactly 1:00:00. And I came to a dead stop too, seeing as it was gone 03:30 and I wasn’t even prepared for bed. But at least that’s one job that’s finished and complete and one less job to worry about.

Surprisingly, I heard the alarms go off at 06:00 etc and I felt that if I exerted myself I could have risen from the grave. But instead I went back to sleep again until the kids going past my window on their way to school awoke me.

A late breakfast, followed by an even later shower and then I headed out to town in the rain.

erecting publicity signboard Avenue du Maréchal Leclerc granville manche normandy franceFirst stop was the Centre Agora to take back the recording kit. Someone else needs it for a task.

So up the hill in the Avenue Leclerc I went, not quite storming up it as I have done recently, and I stopped to see what they were doing with the HIAB.

It looks as if they are either taking away or installing an advertising signboard. I don’t know which because I can’t remember if there was one there before or not

At the Centre Agora the guy in charge of the equipment wasn’t there and no-one wanted to take charge of the recording kit. But I’ll be badgered if I’m going to take it back home with me so in the end we managed to find someone connected with the service, and we persuaded him to take it.

medieval stone building allee des sycomores granville manche normandy franceThe rain had calmed down somewhat now so the walk back wasn’t too difficult.

There was a slight diversion into te Allee des Sycomores. I hadn’t noticed this stone edifice before and I was intrigued to know what it was.

There wasn’t much evidence of any particular function but to me it seemed as if it might have been a well or something similar. If it had been of no use at all it would have been demolished instead of causing an obstruction in the road like this.

Seeing as I was going past LIDL and it was Thursday I called in for some shopping. It’s the ski wear season so I reckoned that I might be able to pick up a woollen hat seeing as mine is in the pocket of my jacket in a hotel in Calgary, but no luck. It seems that everyone wears helmets these days when they are skiing.

Nevertheless I did spend a fair amount of money seeing as supplies are low.

fishing boats entering port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe walk back here wasn’t as lively as it has been just recently, and carrying about 10 kilos of food didn’t make it any easier either.

On the way past the port I stopped and looked over the wall to see what was goign on. It looks as if they have just opened up the harbour gates. There was quite a procession of trawlers coming into port.

And when I had climbed a little further on, I could see that there were one or two that had just left the harbour too. So I reckon that I might be right.

After lunch (I bought another dejeunette too seeing as I was passing the bakery) and a little tidying-up I sat down and thought about the talk that I have to give tomorrow.

Eventually I managed to cobble together some notes and now I’m going through selecting some photos to accompany them. And that’s a hard task because that day that I was there I took 178 photos in all.

brehal Plage in sunlight granville manche normandy franceThere was a brief pause while I went out fior my afternoon walk.

The rain had now stopped falling and there was a shaft of sunlight through the clouds that was illuminating the seafront at Bréhal Plage just like the other day at Jullouville.

And how I wish that it would go for the middle and illluminate me some time soon

site of headstone pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceContinuing on my path around the headland I came to the spot where the headstone or whatever had been.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that they had removed it the other day and taped it off with a couple of bollards and some of that site tape stuff.

But even that has gone now and it looks as if they have filled in the hole. So i’ve no idea what was going on there at all.

cable reel pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceNo idea what is going on here, but it’s fun to speculate.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the past year or two they have been digging up all of the streets in order to lay the trunking for the fibre-optic cable.

But now a huge cable reel has arrived with a load of cable upon it. The optimists among us will be thinking of only one thing.

flowers scattered over ground pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceThe rain might have stopped this afternoon, but the wind hasn’t.

The flowers that I mentioned the other day – most of them have gone. And the trail of flowers all the way up the footpath suggests that they may well have Gone With The WInd too.

That is, unless someone has been really careless about moving them all.

omerta pecheur de lys spirit of conrad aztec lady port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThere was plenty of action in the Chantier Navale today too.

They seem to be quite busy down there. The regular suspects, Spirit of Conrad and Aztec Lady are still there, and so is the fishing boat. But they’ve now been joined by Pecheur de Lys whose stay in the water was remarkably brief, and Omerta.

And I’m rather worried by the latter. Everyone knows that Omerta is used in Italian so signify “silence”, but it’s also the name that is given to the oath that members of the mafia have to take.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceAs regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m well-impressed with the devotion and courage that the local fishermen display on a daily basis, going out in some of the worst storms.

There was another one out there today, a small one, fishing away and you can see by the rigging that he has his nets out.

As I have said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … I could do it once in a while but it would depress me having to go out there every day regardless of the weather.

Carrying on with Uummannaq took me up until tea time. And having been to LIDL I was able to offer myself a stuffed pepper with rice, followed by rice pudding.

fishing boat night donville les bains granville manche normandy franceIt was pouring down with rain while I was making tea but it had stopped later on so I went out for a walk.

Another bright light out there in the direction of Donville-les-Bains, but I was ready for it tonight. And it’s yet another fishing boat trying its luck out on that side.

It seems that a search for a new catch is definitely continuing. Fishermen casting their nets further, you might say.

In the absence of any people loitering around I went for my run. But I only managed about two-thirds of my route tonight. Lost my form completely.

But now I’m off to bed. I’ve had a chat with TOTGA this evening and downloaded tons of digital album tracks, including several that have some very distinct memories from my time living in Chester in 1972-74.

There are web pages that need updating of course and I’ve done no dictaphone notes today either, but I’m in no state to do them.

I’ll just have to catch up with them some other time

Tuesday 19th November 2019 – WHAT A WASTE …

… of a morning that was!

On Sunday night I had just a couple of hours sleep. And while it’s true to say that I dozed off quite a few times on the way home, that is nothing like what I would call a deep, meaningful sleep.

And so I’m totally lost and unable to understand why it was that I was still up and about working (talking to Mike on the internet about my Uummannaq speech) at 03:30.

It’s true to say that I was not anticipating an early start today. I’d disconnected the series that starts at 06:00 and replaced it with the series that starts at 08:00. Nevertheless, although I had heard them, it was about 10:00 when I stuck my head up from under the quilt.

It was … errr … somewhat later when my feet finally hit the floor and that was the morning effectively finished before it had begun.

But I’d managed to go off a-wandering during the night and it was all a bizarre couple of journeys too. The first one was about one of my sisters. I’d been somewhere and she was in another room with a few people. She was getting changed. I went off to do something, review my post figures for the week so I did a couple of hours overtime, something like that in the night to do it. As I was leaving it, all these young girls were going to leave it too, off to the shops for something. They were all wearing these white sheets and black sheets like witches and druids, whatever, and I couldn’t see my sister there. I had to go to the back office to check in. A woman was there, and that was where I’d last seen my sister. We started to talk about things that I had done and things in the road, roadworks and everything. All of a sudden it came to be 04:00 now and everyone else was milling around, and I thought “where’s my sister?” and I couldn’t see her anywhere. I was getting a bit concerned because obviously I wanted to see her but I couldn’t find her at all. The thing is that it wasn’t really my sister at all that I was talking about but Zero, who has accompanied me on my travels on many occasions in the past (although this is her first time for quite a while). She was there and her father was there as well and he figured in it right at the very start for some reason

Some time later, there was a group of us gone camping somewhere supposed to be out in the cold but although it seemed cold it wasn’t that cold to me. We were staying in some kind of weird buildings with open fronts. We had pitched our bedding in there should I say, the whole group of us and I was hanging out with a couple of girls actually and I’m not sure who they were. Everyone else, they were very early to bed and very early risers. (… I can do the latter but not the former…) so they had to keep on going to fetch me to go to bed. On one occasion they came down and got me. We were walking back up past where the kids were sleeping and I made a remark because the courtyard was totally empty but it was to me quite early. “They must be all in bed, the kids”. We walked back to where we were sleeping. Our beds were there and I could see that everyone else was in bed but one or two of them were looking disapprovingly of me coming back. I was getting ready for bed, taking my trousers off, but decided that I had to do something so I started hopping around the room like a kangaroo with my trousers around my ankles and hopped off outside presumably to go to the toilet or something. But ti was totally strange seeing everyone sleeping in woolly hats fully clothed, all this kind of thing. And when I had returned to my room with these girls there was some money on one of the beds. I said to the girl “is it your money or mine?” She replied “it’s your money because my money is down in my car down below. It must be your money” so she gave it to me.

There was the usual medication and breakfast and the first part of what was left of the morning was spent in dealing with the dictaphone entries of the last few days and then catching up with three out of the backlog.

But then I noticed the time. A quick shower and clean up and setting the washing machine on the go, and I went into town. My lettuce was somewhat sad so I needed a new one as well as some bananas and potatoes. A visit to Super U was thus on the cards.

While I was down there I picked up another one of those dejeunettes from the boulangerie. 170gms – that’s about 2/3rds of a baguette and €0:50 a throw. That’s plenty for me for lunch and I may as well take advantage of the bakery while I’m down there.

Back at the apartment, I noticed the time. 13:25 already. So I had my lunch and then a play on the guitar for half an hour.

This afternoon’s projects were many and varied.

  • Find the receipts for the medication that I had been prescribed in Belgium and scan them into the computer. I’m trying to do this straight away rather than letting a pile build up.
  • Carry on with the hunt for digital tracks for the albums that I own
  • Hanging up the washing (which I had forgotten when I returned).
  • Backing up the stuff off the travelling laptop onto the main computer and merging the data. And that wasn’t a two-minute job as I can’t find a European power pack for it so I had to make up a converter out of some stuff in Caliburn.
  • Most importantly, starting work on Project 003.

All of the music for that project is now done and I’m halfway through preparing the notes. I want to finish that off for the weekend and maybe even finish Project 004 by then too.

And I don’t know quite what happened, but I fell asleep at some point too. Only 10 minutes or so, but asleep all the same.

In between all of this, I managed to take myself off out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

gravestone missing pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceBut here’s a surprise. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that ages ago we’d discovered something that looked like the headstone of a grave stuck in the ground close to one of the old bunkers of the Atlantic Wall

But when I got there this afternoon, I noticed that it seems to have been removed. There’s a hole in the ground where it used to be and that’s all closed off with bollards and tapes.

That’s a surprise because it’s something that seems to have been ignored for I don’t know quite how many years.

sailors memorial pointe du rock granville manche normandy franceAnd when I was out for my walk during the evening yesterday, I sensed that while I was round by the lifeboatmen’s memorial I was walking on something that didn’t feel quite right to me.

In the daylight today though, I could see what was the issue. It seems that they have planted flowers all around the memorial without telling me. And with not having seen them, I’d been trampling upon them.

Ahh well! Someone should have said something. I can hardly be blamed if they go cluttering up the footpath, can I?

aztec lady spirit of conrad chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd so my walk continued. Along the top of the cliff and past the chantier navale.

The two ships that were in there the other day – Aztec Lady and Spirit of Conrad – they are still in there today. Aztec Lady seems however to have grown a pair of masts since the last time that I looked.

There’s a new boat in there too. One of the little fishing boats is over there on ramps too, presumably having some work done upon her.

Back in the comfort, warmth and safety of my apartment I carried on with my work until tea time. There was a slice of vegan pasty left over from March so I heated it up in the oven with some potatoes and, seeing as I had the oven on, a large rice pudding for afters.

Peas and carrots and gravy with the pie and potatoes went down really well. And I’m running low on carrots too. I’ll have to make some more if there are any going cheap at LIDL on Thursday.

donville les bains granville manche normandy franceAfter tea I went for my evening walk around the walls.

There was some kind of searchlight shining over Donville-les-Bains so I went to take a photo of it. And just as I had finished setting up the equipment, they switched off the light.

That’s just typical, isn’t it? So I just took a photo of it normally in the dark instead.

avenue de la liberation granville manche normandy franceThere wasn’t a soul out there tonight, which was not a surprise because it was freezing cold out there and there was a high wind blowing.

For that reason I hadn’t taken the tripod with me, so I took a photo of the chicane in the Avenue de la Liberation by hand instead. It’s not come out too badly despite that.

And I was disappointed with my run. Very disappointed in fact. I could only manage about half of it and that’s no good if I intend to keep up this fitness regime. I have to take it seriously.

Just now I’ve had a mug of hot chocolate and now I intend to do a couple of web site amendments before going to bed. I must push on with this despite all of the other work and do a few each day just to whittle down the backlog.

No time like the present.

Tuesday 12th November 2019 – I USED TO BE A WEREWOLF

full moon granville manche normandy franceBut I’m all right noooooooooooooooooooow!

What a beautiful full moon we are having tonight. And to be on the safe side, when I had my morning shower today, I shaved the palms of my hands just in case.

And there was plenty of garlic in my evening meal too – ready for when I go to Castle Anthrax on Thursday

Last night wasn’t as late as it might have been. I was actually in bed at some time round about 01:30. Furthermore, much to my own surprise as well as doubtless to yours, I was up and about long before the third alarm went off, sometime between 06:07 and 06:19.

There was time enough to go on a nocturnal ramble, but I’ll spare you the gory details. After all, you’re probably eating your evening meal or something. Needless to say, a member of my family put in an appearance during the night. And that’s enough to put the willies up anyone, especially me.

An early start and early breakfast meant plenty of time to deal with the dictaphone notes and by about 08:30 I’d done 6 or 7. And I’m glad that I stopped where I did because I’ve reached what might be called a turbulent period in my life when I fell into the pit.

A shower next and a general clean-up and then I was off up to the Centre Agora for a meeting. And the net result is that tomorrow I’m off to interview a rock musician. And on the way home, I was buttonholed by someone else and invited to do another chat to some different people about Uummaannaaq.

weird garage residence le manege granville manche normandy franceThe walk up to the Centre Agora was very pleasant and interesting, especially as I stormed once more up the bank as if I was on my way to invade Poland.

But I came to a dead stop when I was this garage or car port or whatever just here. I wonder what the architect had in mind when he designed this. It certainly can’t have been anything that any normal person might have been imagining.

Probably some Cossack’s daughter. After all she must know the Steppes.

On the way back from the Centre Agora I called in at LIDL for some shopping. Not too much because I’ll be away for a few days starting Thursday and there’s no point in stocking up with supplies that won’t be eaten.

But there were grapes on special offer again and I love grapes, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. Which reminds me – just excuse me a moment …

After lunch I bashed on with the web site amendments and I have run aground there. I’ve reached the L’Anse aux Meadows pages now and I’m having a serious think about them.

When I wrote them back in 2010 I didn’t know anything like half as much about the Norse voyages to North America as I do now since I’ve been able to lay my hands on books by people like Carl Rafn, Arthur Middleton Reeves and William Hovgaard.

Rafn is a very interesting author because his Antiquities Americanae, written in 1837, was the first book to take seriously the Norse voyages to North America and the first to actually give scientific study to the Norse Sagas.

It was dismissed, even ridiculed, by many subsequent historians, even such reputable people as Nansen who described the sagas as nothing more than “works of romantic fiction”, but nevertheless inspired a great many people to take his work forward.

It led ultimately to William Nunn’s epic “Wineland voyages;: Location of Helluland, Markland, and Vinland” from 1914. Munn was the first person to pinpoint L’Anse aux Meadows as a Norse site (and as far as I am aware, the first person to pick up on Climate Change too) and which led 50 years ago to the excavations of the Ingstads and their discovery on the Norse ruins.

There was another phone call to be made too. I still haven’t received the paperwork for Caliburn’s insurance despite my conversation of 22nd October, so I rang them again. They told me that they hadn’t received my e-mail with my attachment, something that I find totally bizarre.

So I’ve sent them again. In the meantime they’ve sent me an attestation.

Then I started to pack up all of the rubbish in the living room. Cardboard boxes everywhere that needed moving out and an object that needs packing up ready for returning, as well as taking all of the rubbish out to the bins.

So much involved in the tidying up was I that I missed my afternoon walk. But seeing that I was already at 103% of my daily activity, I shan’t worry too much right now.

But tidying up, hey? What about that?

Tea was a burger on a bap with baked potatoes and veg., followed by fruit salad and blackcurrant sorbet. And it was all absolutely delicious.

trawler night granville manche normandy franceThis evening Iwent out for my evening walk. And straight away I was blasted by a wind the like of which I haven’t felt while I’ve been living here.

Out at sea was a trawler on its way back into harbour and the poor thing was struggling through the waves.

Even at this distance I could see that it wasn’t having a very easy time of it. Like I said, my hat goes off to whoever it is out there in weather like this.

full moon granville manche normandy franceOn and round the corner and into the shelter from the winds.

And here I could eve the spectacular beauty of one of the most perfect full moons that I have ever seen.

The one that I saw at the Phare des Monts on the North Shore of the St Lawrence in Québec in 2012 was certainly spectacular, but for completely different reasons and at a completely different time.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe moonlight was bright enough for me to be able to pick up some detail down at the chantier navale and in the outer harbour.

It’s not as clear as the photos that I took last winter, but that’s because this is a hand-held shot and the other one was on a tripod with a very long exposure.

However, I’m not going to be taking a tripod out in a wind like this. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that it didn’t do the Nikon D3000 very much good at all.

trawler night granville manche normandy franceBy now, the trawler that I had seen out at sea was now close to home. And I bet that the crew members were relieved. And so was I too.

And having seen it safely home I headed for home too. At something of a run too and I managed about 300 or 400 metres before I had to stop for breath.

But I soon found my second wind because I was able to run up the top flight of stairs to my apartment. And that reminded me that coming back from my morning out, despite having come up the hill without stopping, I had run up both flights of stairs with no problem.

Rosemary rang me when I returned and we had a good chat for an hour. And now I’m ready for bed. The fitbit, or what’s left of it, tells me that I’ve walked (or ran) 11.2 kilometres today, or 132% of my daily total.

I really don’t know where all of this energy has come from though. I hope that I’m not going to en up paying for it.

Wednesday 6th November 2019 – I DIDN’T …

… go anywhere special today as I predicted. I spent the day in a gentle orbit around the apartment.

But that’s not to say that it’ll stay like that. Foolish me had to open his mouth on Monday, didn’t he? And say that he’d been to Uumaannaq, had taken plenty of photos and had friends there.

And so someone rang me up. Something to do with the local High School. “It’s Greenland Week here next week and we’ll be discussing Uummaannaq. Are you free on Friday afternoon the 22nd?”

Ahh well! That’ll teach me to open my big mouth, won’t it?

Despite being a little later in bed than I would have liked, there was time to go off for a ramble or two. Again this is another dream that I can only remember a bit of. I was with someone who might have been Castor and we were helping me get myself organised (that’s going to be a long job isnt it? Something like the Augean Stables). There was a cupboard that was open and you could see everything in it. She asked what I was going to do about it and I replied that I wasn’t going to do anything – it was all going to stay in there so she was working out how to close the cupboard. You could see all files and all that kind of things that were on there. I don’t remember very much more about this dream but there was plenty to it. In this cupboard was all kinds of office stuff, files, binders, computer ink and I had a vague recollection that it belonged to something to do with the ship but I don’t know.
And it was certainly vivid because I remember distinctly in my dazed state going to get out of bed to go to tidy it up and close the door
A little later there were four young people playing outside on the deck right in front on the bows of The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour. Don’t ask me what they were doing though because I was only asleep for a second.

There was a mad panic to fall out of bed. I’d vaguely heard the two earlier alarms but I desperately wanted to continue my run of early starts so having almost gone back to sleep, I just about managed to launch myself into consciousness just before the alarm.

After medication and breakfast I attacked the dictaphone notes. And up until lunchtime I had managed to transcribe only three. But when I tell you that the running time of those three is just short of 29 minutes, you’ll understand why.

I told you that there were some mega-files in that lot but that’s nothing to what’s coming up. There’s one of over 4 hours and another of over 3 hours.

And I managed to fit in my three walks today.

seagulls trawler entering port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAt about 12:45 I went out for a walk around a new circuit, down all the steps, along the rue du Port and back up the rue des Juifs.

But a racket coming from down in the harbour disturbed my reverie before I’d gone very far at all. We had a trawler coming into the harbour.

And it was probably fully-laden with fish too. You could tell that by looking at the large flock of gulls all around it. They are presumably waiting for the fish-heads to be thrown overboard.

rainstorm pointe de carolles granville manche normandy franceYesterday, you’ll remember that we had a lovely photo of Carolles all bathed in the most gorgeous and warm sunlight.

The situation today though is completely different. No sunlight at all – in fact it’s bathed in the most enormous raincloud.

And just in case you are wondering, you needn’t. 5 minutes later I got the lot right down the back of my neck, as regular readers of this rubbish may well have anticipated.

A rather dripping wet me came back to the apartment for some lunch.

And afterwards, I sat down to complete Project 002. Yes, I’m anticipating that this might run for more than 99 editions.

And straight away we had a problem – in that the audio mixer couldn’t be picked up by the big computer.

After a great deal of trial and error I managed to make one of the laptops pick it up, and I dictated my notes onto that. And it’s awful. It sounds as if I have my head in a bucket.

But I’m not going to go around like this. My friend Hans modernised his recording studio a while back so I got onto him. And he has an old PC mixing desk that is surplus to requirements. It seems to have every function on it that you could wish for and probably brews the studio tea while it is at it.

We negotiated a democratic price for it and tomorrow it will be winging its way here, I hope. As I said, it’s time for me to organise myself and do things properly.

house renovations rue du nord granville manche normandy franceFor the afternoon walk I changed my route and went for a walk around the walls.

The reason for that was that I wanted to see how they were doing with the house renovations in the rue du Nord.

As you can see, the one on the corner seems to be finished. They’ve extended the garage which is interesting, and the balcony that they have built over the extension does look quite nice.

I wonder what their plans are for it.

house renovations rue du nord granville manche normandy franceThere was another house under construction further down the rue du Nord as regular readers of this rubbish might recall.

That’s all finished now too, and I know what their plans for it are because as I’ve walked past it on many an evening walk, I’ve seen the lights burning in the window.

Someone is already living in it and I wish them luck. The view must be terrific from up top and I’m somewhat jealous.

montmartin sur mer granville manche normandy franceBut never mind the view from the top floor of the house. The view from down here is pretty good today too

For a change, now that the wind has died down somewhat, the atmosphere is a lot cleaner and there was a really good view out and up the coast. The seaside resort of Montmartin-sur-Mer was looking particularly attractive.

At least, I think that it’s Montmartin-sur-Mer. I lose count of which town is which all the way up there.

casino plage plat gousset beach granville manche normandy franceI case you haven’t gathered, the rain had stopped this afternoon and so there were people out and about.

There were even a few of them wandering around up and down the beach at the Plat Gousset by the Casino. But then again it is Wednesday afternoon so the kids are not in school. No reason why they can’t have a run about.

Talking of having a run about, there was no-one around by the time I got to my little running track, so I had a nice little run. Mind you, although I made it to my marker I was pretty much out of breath.

I have a feeling that I’m not going to see much improvement in my distances.

navy patrol vessel bair de mont st michel brittany granville manche normandy franceAnd talking of distances, out there in the distance close to the Brittany coast I noticed a dark speck that seemed to be moving very slowly.

With the big Nikon and the long zoom lens, I took a somewhat speculative shot of it with the intention of cropping it and blowing it up (he image, not the object) to see what it might be.

And it looks like some kind of naval patrol vessel out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel. And I’ve no idea why they would want to patrol out there. It seems strange to me.

Having finished the recording (for now) I could deal with tea. Some stuffing left over from the other night so I had taco rolls with rice and vegetables. Best ones that I’ve made too, although I’m not sure why.

And I finished off the last of the rice pudding too. That was nice as well

For the evening walk I went around the headland, totally alone. And I ended up running another few hundred metres along the footpath. I’m determined to do something about getting fit and keeping the weight off. So even on a quiet day I’ve done 64% of my daily activity and walked 5.0 kms.

So tonight I’ve done some web pages and I’ll listen to some music for a while, and then go to bed. Shopping at LIDL tomorrow, I reckon.

The walk wil ldo me good.

Monday 4th November 2019 – I’M BACK …

… in business!

This morning I took my completed project up to the weekly meeting of this organisation. I mentioned that I didn’t think all that much of what I had done but they were delighted, saying that it’s better than they expected.

And so I have the green light to go.

But go where? I hear you say. And I reply that you’ll find out on Friday evening at about 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK time, 15:00 EST etc etc.

Last night was a pretty late night and I’m not quite sure why because it wasn’t if I had anything special to do. Nevertheless, I still staggered out of bed before the third alarm, for which I am grateful.

Even so, there was plenty of time to go off on a nocturnal ramble. Back on board a ship again last night with two certain people who might (or might not) have been representing Castor and Pollux. We were having some kind of drawing thing, we had to draw something and label it. I was drawing something about the cliffs and the sea, that kind of thing and I was wondering about other people – like these two for example, I was wondering about what what they were doing because theirs didn’t seem to bear any resemblance to what was being asked at all. They had some strange figures that looked like girls and I wondered why they had included those in the drawing when there was no real need to. And it was all in blue too in this dream and I’ve no idea why, everything was in the colour blue (like some of my photos on that trip).

After the medication and breakfast I had a shower and cleaned myself up somewhat, then added yesterday’s photos to the blog and transcribed some dictaphone notes before heading off for my meeting.

On the way back, I called at LIDL and spent a lot of money. Mostly on a thermal ski undershirt seeing as the ski gear is now in the shops. If ever I get back to the Arctic (which is unlikely) it will come in handy.

They had carrots at a give-away price of e0:69 per kilo so I bought a kilo and I’m going to make some more carrot soup. But with less ginger this time.

And I learnt something exciting today too.

Last year in September I was in a town in North Greenland called Uummannaaq and I met a couple of people there. Subsequently I met two others when I was on my travels.

And to my surprise, a couple of them will actually be in Granville in a couple of weeks’ time, playing some music on stage at the local theatre. There were a few tickets left too, so I roped in Liz and Terry and bought some tickets.

It’s been a while since I went out for an evening.

After lunch, I finished off today’s load of dictaphone entries and then went off for a walk.

weird sunlight ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceFirst thing that I noticed was some weird lighting effect on the sea over to the Ile de Chausey.

It’s difficult to know what’s going on with that. It could be just the way that the low autuln sunlight is shining through a few holes in the clouds.

But it gave the whole thing a really surreal vista, as if we are about to be visited by something from Outer Space.

That is, if we haven’t already had visitors therefrom. I’ve no idea where they find THESE people.

At first I thought “you cannot be Sirius”, but on reflection I’m not ruling this out completely. After all, I’ve always said that anyone supporting Brexit must be living on a different planet to the one on which the rest of us are living.

helicopter granville manche normandy franceAnd while I was musing on the foregoing, I really DID think that I was about to be visited by beings from Outer Space

But the noise that I heard coming from the air behind me was in fact from a helicopter. Someone has got their chopper out by the looks of things and they were flying pretty low round the headland.

Whatever they might have been looking for, they didn’t find it. Instead, they flew off down the coast in the direction of Mont St Michel

seagull photobomb baie de mont st michel pointe de carolles granville manche normandy franceBeaten and battered by Storm Amelie, I staggered on around the headland and, for a change just recently, there was a really good view across to the Pointe de Carolles.

Such a nice view in fact that I went to photograph it and was the victim of a delightful photo-bomb from a seagull.

It’s not the first time that I’ve had an intruder in one of my photos, but it’s certainly one of the best and closest encounters that I’ve had. I hope that he doesn’t want royalties.

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAs I said just now, the storm is raging just as violently as it has done these last few days.

The tide is a long way from being right in, but nevertheless you can see what the waves are doing – sending their spray right up and over the sea wall into the tidal harbour.

It’s surely no coincidence that there are no pedestrians out there strolling around on the wall. The wouldn’t need a shower at all.

On that note I went back to the apartment and much to my surprise I actually ran up one of the flights of steps. And I haven’t done that for years. I must be doing a little better than I have been, and I wonder if this new medication might have anything to do with it.

The time until tea was spent working on this project and trying to organise myself (a hopeless task). I have to focus myself much more now that people are expecting things from me and relying on me to do things. They clearly don’t know me very well yet.

Tea was a stuffed pepper (with plenty of stuffing left for taco rolls) and spice rice followed by rice pudding. The pepper was sourced from a different supplier today and was thicker-skinned, so it hadn’t cooked as well as they usually do, which was a shame. But the stuffing was delicious.

This evening I was on my own for my walk around the walls. Hardly surprising seeing as the rain, which had held off for most of the day, decided to let go about 30 seconds after I put my foot outside.

Brigitte was just coming in so we had a little chat.

And as for my run, I fell well short tonight. Like 100 metres short. I blame all the rice myself, but trying to run headlong into a howling gale didn’t help matters much.

Now before going to bed I’m going to listen to some music and do some web page updating before I’m going to bed. I haven’t done any today yet and I really must crack on.

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Friday 19th July 2019 – HAVING SAID …

… last night that I was looking forward to a decent night’s sleep, then once more I found myself being quite disappointed; I was so determined that I didn’t even attempt to watch a film when I went to bed, but even that didn’t help.

In something that is becoming rather too much of a regular occurrence these days, I was awake at 04:00 and needed a trip down the corridor. Back to sleep but I awoke once more at about 05:55. And that’s not the same as saying that I was ready to leave the bed. I did manage to beat the third alarm call – but only just.

After the medication I went up on deck to see what was happening, but I needn’t have bothered. Back in the open sea again and we are shrouded in fog and mist. There are a couple of offshore rocks and islands appearing through the gloom but that’s the best that I can do. I came back downstairs to my cabin in disgust.

Once breakfast was over, it was time to prepare ourselves for our little trip out. We are anchored offshore at the island of Uunartoq Qeqertaq.That’s Greenlandic for “hot place” so as you may expect, there is a hot tub here and many of our fellow passengers wanted a dip.

It’s an exciting place to be too, because it’s one of the world’s most recently discovered islands – dating from September 2005.

And if you are scratching your head wondering about that, let me explain. Until that date, it was “attached” to the mainland by a large ice-sheet and no-one knew for sure what was under the ice. But climate change is so rapid in this part of the world and the effects so devastating that the ice sheet finally receded at that date and we could see that underneath it was nothing but the sea.

What was much more interesting from my point of view was the fact that there was formerly an Inuit village here with many well-defined sod huts and several other features too.

Everyone shot off on the zodiacs to the shore and split up into several parties in order to go our separate ways. Those of us who were interested in archaeology headed off across the island towards the site.

We hadn’t gone far before we came to a grinding halt. There were several clearly-defined rows of pebbles all across the mountainside. These are quite clearly raised beaches and it shows just how depressed the island was under the weight of the ice-cap during the ice age, and how much isostatic rebound there has been.

It was quite noticeable that the Inuit settlement was entirely below the lowest line of raised beach, which shows that the latest major rebound must have been at least more than 600 years ago. It wasn’t until probably well into the 15th Century that the Inuit reached this far south.

There was however quite a cliff – probably about 20 feet – down from the settlements to the beach, and that’s quite possibly an indication that isostatic rebound is still taking place. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in Labrador a couple of years ago we saw evidence of rebound that has taken place within the last 70 years.

As for the site itself, our attention was drawn first of all to a row of single-family sod houses right on the cliff edge. These are unfortunately eroding away as the cliff face crumbles underneath them.

Set farther back was a row of multi-family sod houses, some with a clearly-defined dividing wall and one that even had two entrances. The stone lintels for that one were still present and almost in place.

What was surprising though was that even though we are in the tundra, each site was surrounded by a complete mass of wild flowers that resembled buttercups. All of the sod walls, part of the interiors and areas that were probably refuse pits were covered in them.

This is an indication of how much refuse each of these houses had accumulated during its occupancy and how fertile the soil must be at those spots. The thick and high sod walls would also help to contribute to this too.

There were plenty of other signs of occupancy too. We saw a variety of stone food caches in various states of repair, and several tent rings from Inuit summer camps in this location.

A square low wall only one stone high was there too. speculation was that this was the base of a more modern timber building of some description. There were several such wooden cabins on the island.

What must have been the most interesting find was the presence of several Inuit graves – low stone walls covered with slabs. Most had fallen down but one was still intact and we could see that there were human remains inside that one.

Someone else saw what he reckoned was the remains of a Norse longhouse but when we all went off to look, he could not find it again.

By now it was time to return to the ship so we had to abandon our exploration, which meant that I didn’t have time to visit the more modern graveyard. I would be interested to see what that was all about and who might be in it.

After lunch we had a series of lectures. Our Greenland guide gave us a discussion on farming in Greenland, after which there was a lecture on pre-historical archaeology in the High Arctic which was interesting.

There was then a 15-minute break before a concert given by our musicians Charlie and Nive. I went down to my room where I fell asleep, only to wake myself up by snoring too loudly.

The concert was short but very interesting and I had quite a talk with Nive afterwards She actually came from Uummannaq she was able to identify the girl who had posed for me there last year.

Tea was rather catastrophic. There must have been a problem in the kitchen because the food took an age to come to the table. Almost as if half of the kitchen was out of action. And they kept trying to serve me things that I couldn’t eat. Something of a disaster that all was.

And I had an argument with a fellow passenger – all about the Norse. He had been listening to far too much of the lectures given by our historian and to far too much of the newspaper speculation of 70 years ago. But things have changed dramatically with the discovery of new material and the application of new techniques. What was the current way of thinking back then is no longer appropriate.

Bu now the lights in the public rooms are being turned out. Someone is obviously hinting that it’s time for me to go. And while I’ve been loitering around here ,the ship, having gone up a fjord, reversed back down and has now turned round about 45° to starboard. She’s switched the engines onto tick-over and dropped anchor so it looks as if we are here for the night.

So I’ll go to bed. Tomorrow we will be landing at one of the destinations that is at the top of my wish list. That is, if the weather lets us.