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Friday 10th June 2022 – YES, WELL … !

marité baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While you admire a few photos of Marité and La Granvillaise going out and about for a run around in the bay, let me tell you about yet another miserable day.

Most of the day has been spent asleep, something that comes as a great surprise to me because there was nothing at all on the dictaphone from last night and no-one was more surprised than me to be awoken by the alarm going on at 07:30.

By the looks of things I hadn’t stirred at all during the night so ordinarily you might expect me to be fighting fit today.

But “fighting for breath” and “fit to drop” was the best that I could manage.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Back here I set an alarm for 09:50.

The reason was that I knew that I was tired and that at some point this morning I was going to crash out. With this appointment at 10:00 my logic was that the sooner I went to sleep the sooner I’d awaken and there’s no point in fighting the inevitable.

When the alarm went off I staggered off for my meeting. Thierry hasn’t seen me for several months and he certainly noticed a deterioration in my condition.

We had a coffee and quite a lengthy chat about all kinds of things. The Council is moving out of the building here in the autumn and there is talk that it might be converted into apartments. I made sure that he knew that I might be interested.

la granvillaise marité baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Back here I had a fruit bun and then had a look at my Welsh revision.

This morning I wrote about “My Region” and “Television or Radio”. Seeing as I don’t have a television the second one was quite straightforward and I could churn out a pile of stuff about working at the radio.

After lunch I came back in here for a session on the acoustic guitar, but not for long because I crashed out again. And I was out for a considerable period of time too

When I awoke it was almost time for me to go for my afternoon walk. I can’t believe that I’d been out of it for so long.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And so as usual the first thing that I did was to go across to the car park to have a look at what was happening down on the beach today.

First of all though there wasn’t all that much beach to be on. The tide was well in this afternoon so there wasn’t really all that much room for people to be on.

And that probably explains why there wasn’t anyone down there at all this afternoon.

The weather didn’t help much either. It was cold and overcast and not the kind of weather to entice anyone out to go sunbathing down there. And certainly not in the water either.

cabin cruisers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022On the other hand there was plenty of activity out at sea this afternoon.

While I was looking down onto the beach one of my eyes was roving around out at sea and it was spoilt for choice. There was quite a selection of yachts and cabin cruisers out there in the bay today.

Not so many people up here on the path though. probably no more than half a dozen so I could wander around wuite comfortably on my own.

There wasn’t anyone down on the bench by the cabanon vauban either. And that was surprising because they would have had a grandstand view of Marité and La Granvillaise sailing past.

yellow autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There was a much better view of everything from the air and we had one of our old friends up there enjoying it.

It’s the yello autogyrow on its way back to the airfield. It’s come from down the south of the bay so presumably the pilot has been taking his passenger for a run around the Mont St Michel.

They have arrived back here just in time to have a really good view of Marité and La Granvillaise sailing by underneath.

Right now though I’m off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what’s happening there.

pescadore wavecat express chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And there has been quite a lot of activity in the chantier naval just recently.

There’s the cabin cruiser and the catamaran still there but we have two more boats in there. One of them is the trawler Pescadore who we have seen around and about on several occasions.

The other one is extremely interesting. She seems to be called Wavecat Express and judging by the signwriting that has been removed, she was owned until quite recently bu a Dutch company called “Vletterlieden”.

That’s a company that I actually know, and according to their website “Our core business is the mooring and unmooring of seagoing vessels and the supervision of all ships in and around the ports and locks of IJmuiden”

So I wonder what has brought her here. Are we going to be seeing some kind of new activity in the port in due course?

hauts de france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022She’s not the only new boat in port either today.

Over there is a boat called Hauts de France and according to her signage she’s owned by the Department of Lighthouses and Marker Buoys.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last few weeks we’ve been seeing a few new marker buoys appearing on the quayside so presumably Hauts de France has come into port to pick them up and drop them off in the sea to create some kind of sea lane.

It looks as if there’s a lot of excitement brewing around here right now, and I for one am all in favour of that.

Back here I had a coffee and then I crashed out yet again for quite some time. With all of the things that I planned to do and I’m getting nothing done at all.

But when I awoke I managed to write some notes on “My Home” and “My Last Holiday”.

Tea tonight was vegan sausage, beans and chips (I love my air fryer) and French supermarket beans are appalling. Not even pepper, cheese and chili power could make them taste any better.

But now even though it’s early I’m off to bed. I’m totally fed up and I’ve had enough for now. Shopping tomorrow so I’m hoping to have a much better day than this one. Things can’t get much worse, that’s for sure.

Friday 20th May 2022 – IT WAS ONLY YESTERDAY …

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022… when I said that we hadn’t seen L’Omerta tied up at the Fish Processing Plant and settling down in the silt for a couple of days.

And so of course it goes without saying that this afternoon when I was a-wandering around the headland on my afternoon walk, I should come across her tied up in her usual place, sitting down in the silt waiting for something to happen.

Bang on cue, you might say.

But anyway, let’s leave the subject of my afternoon walk for the moment and start as we mean to go on by turning the clock back to the start of the day when the alarm went off at 07:30 this morning.

And in news that will come as a surprise to everyone, because it certainly came as a surprise to me, I actually fell out of bed when the alarm went off. And how long is it since that has happened?

Mind you, I hope that you aren’t expecting too much because it wasn’t as if it inspired me to do any work. It wasn’t until about 09:30 that I had recovered enough to make a start. But not to worry because that’s better than a 10:30 or a 10:45 start.

The morning was quite a leisurely one. I didn’t actually exert myself too much but even so it ended up being something of a late lunch as I really couldn’t find the energy to pick myself up from my chair and walk into the kitchen. That was expecting far too much.

After lunch I carried on with my rather leisurely day until it was time for me to go off for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And as usual, the first place for me to visit would be the wall at the end of the car park where I could peer down onto the beach to see what was happening down there.

Although it wasn’t quite as warm as it has been just recently, I was still surprised at how few people there were down there this afternoon.

But those who were down there were taking full advantage of it. There were a couple of people down there sunbathing on a couple of towels spread out on the beach, and a couple more people out there having a swim around in the water

It’s been a good few days since we’ve seen anyone swimming around in the water as well.

st helier jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022It was a really nice day as I mentioned earlier, and today I could see for miles out to sea.

It’s been a long time since there has been anything like a clear view of St Helier in Jersey so seeing as we had one of those days today I thought that I would celebrate it by taking a photo of it.

Of course, I don’t really know what it is that I’m seeing out there on Jersey, but now I have no excuse because the ferries to the Channel Islands are up and running at long last. One of these days when I have more time and I’m feeling better, I’ll take myself off out there for a closer look.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But never mind the view out to Jersey for the moment, the view out to the Ile de Chausey was just as spectacular too.

It’s a long time since we’ve seen the island looking as clear as this. We can see all of the colours out there on the island quite clearly today.

What we can’t see though are any water craft. I was amazed at how few boats there were out at sea this afternoon. I don’t think that I counted more than half a dozen all told and this was the kind of weather that had they been there, I certainly would have seen them.

caterpillar pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022I carried on around the path along the headland and across the car park at the far end.

And I wasn’t alone out there this afternoon. I had all kinds of company, like this little fellow who crossed my path as I walked across the car park.

He was certainly brave, taking his like in his hands – or, rather, feet – like this and wandering across the car park where there was all kinds of traffic going by. But he did actually make it to the other side quite safely.

Natural history, and Lepidoptera in particular, is not my strongpoint so I can’t tell you anything about him unfortunately.

f-gbai Robin DR 400-140B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There was also something going on up above this afternoon too.

As I walked down to the end of the headland I was overflown by a light aeroplane on its way back to the airfield. It’s one of our regulars, F-GBAI, a Robin DR 400-140B that belongs to the local aero club.

She took off at 15:32, flew down the bay to Mont St Michel and back again where she came in to land at 16:08. And as my photo is timed at 16:02 (adjusted) that sounds about right to me.

The time is “adjusted” because I don’t alter the time on my digital equipment to reflect summer time.

person reading a book pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But all of this excitement has proved to be far too much for some people.

Here’s someone perched on the rocks right at the end of the headland with her head buried deeply in a book. That’s certainly the right attitude and the correct way to deal with whatever issues life throws at you.

In fact, I had half a mind to go down there and join her.

However, I have other fish to fry so I wandered off down the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was happening over there this afternoon.

kayaker baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Out in the Baie de Mont St Michel I actually managed to find a water craft close enough for me to take a decent photograph.

There’s a kayaker out there looking as if he’s doing a couple of laps of Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour.

But what’s intriguing me is how he’s taken his kayak out there because the tide is quite far out and he would have had to drag it quite a distance.

And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s not advisable to light a fire in a canoe. After all, you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

j158 l'ecume 11 St-Gilles Croix-de Vie chantier naval belle france joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There’s been another change in the chantier naval over the last day or so.

That trawler from Caen, L’Oasis has now gone back into the water and Valeque isn’t there either. The only trawler there for the moment is the Jersey trawler L’Ecume II.

And the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie is still there too. They haven’t sent a lorry to pick her up and take her away just yet.

Over at the ferry terminal we have one of the Joly France boats and the very new Belle France that run out to the Ile de Chausey.

Back here I had a strawberry smoothie and came back in here where I crashed out for a good hour or so. All in all, there wasn’t really much point in getting up so early this morning.

However I did eventually manage to find the time to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I was in Philadelphia last night, walking across a supermarket car park. I thought that someone beckoned me over but they hadn’t. When I reached there everyone was sitting around on these tables and chairs. There was a seat empty so I asked if it was OK if I could sit there. Someone said yes. Some woman with a baby was by it. They asked if I wouldn’t be comfortable somewhere else. I replied “no, I’m quite happy there”. Everyone was watching a baseball game taking place on this supermarket car park. As I watched, a big service bus pulled away from the car park of the supermarket so I started to follow the bus. I had to run pretty quickly but by the time I reached the end of the car park it had disappeared and I couldn’t work out which way it had gone. I imagined that it had turned right so I went right that way but I couldn’t see it so I went back to the car park entrance and tried to think more logically, looking for signs on the road but I still didn’t see anything although someone with a few kids started to cross the road nearby where I was. There was something about American health insurance, why Americans had a lot more money to spend because they aren’t spending it on health insurance like Europeans

I was with a friend of mine from the Open University and it’s been so long since I’ve seen her that I can’t remember her name. We were in Germany talking about World War II battles. We were describing one where some defenders were trapped in the ruins and how they were bombed by air by zeppelins until they surrendered. She was telling me that a friend of hers was coming for Christmas. It was someone with whom she could have a great deal of fun – a German living in Canada and he knew quite a lot about the old border in Germany particularly with regard to the city with which he was concerned. There was something else but I can’t remember what it was but when she started to talk about it my ears really pricked up so I asked if there was any chance that I could wangle an invite to go to see her over the Christmas period so that I could talk to this guy and find out more about all of this. She started to ask me a few questions about this and that, presumably to find out my interest. Just then as we came into this city a German Post Office cyclist came round a corner but slipped on some ice. The bike slid across the road and hit the kerb. I had my friend stop and got out of the car to go to see. This woman was all covered in blood so I asked my friend to call an ambulance. I checked with this woman if she needed an ambulance in my pidgin German as it was to be the case although she was quite distraught and shocked, not easy to communicate with. So I shouted again to my friend to call an ambulance but she seemed to be rather reluctant to do so and I couldn’t understand why because this was a clear case of someone who certainly needed one after what she had just gone through in the accident on her pushbike.

And later I was back in Germany in a conversation class or something or other. I can’t remember very much about this at all except that one student had a very lightweight tight-fitting crash helmet. I asked about this and the another students said that he’d been like this for the whole 6 years of the course and no-one had been able to talk him out of it. Anyone who would try now would be wasting their time as far as that went. But I can’t remember any more of this at all.

Tea was sausage beans and chips which were delicious, and now I’m off to bed. I’m dropping one of the medicaments tonight and seeing if that makes any difference in how I’m feeling. It’ll probably take a week or so to work but we shall see. I can’t go on like this.

Friday 22nd April 2022 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… miserable, depressing day today when nothing seemed to go according to plan and I’ve no idea why not either.

Nothing to do with the fact that I was rather later than intended going to bed last night. I ought to ba able to cope with 7.5 hours of sleep. And even so, I managed to haul myself out of bed before the second alarm went off, so that’s progress of some sort, I suppose.

Not that you might think so because it still took me a good while to bring myself into the land of the living and start work today.

First job was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And I had actually been with TOTGA for part of it, somewhere in the UK. I was as usual trying to get my hands on her … “no surprise there” – ed. We were having a discussion about a few different things and the topic of acting came up. She said that I’d appeared in a play somewhere but I couldn’t remember where it was. She mentioned something about somewhere in the East Midlands. I remembered then that there had been a play but I had a walk-on minor role in it. I was sure that that wasn’t what she had in mind but it was the only thing that I could recall at the time when I’d actually been in a play.

Later on I was going to be doing some building work or woodwork and I needed some tools. I made out a list of what I wanted and asked Terry about it. Of course he’s not here so the list was passed on to someone else but I didn’t hear anything. Nothing ever changed. Someone else turned up who also knew Terry. We were chatting about the job. I was talking about the mix-up and it turned out that this wasn’t the chap to whom Terry had given the information. Of course we had to start all over again as he was there on the spot but I couldn’t remember what it was that I had ordered. I didn’t have a copy of the list. I was really stranded about ordering the stuff that I needed for this job and not knowing what I wanted.

Somewhere in the middle of this was a girl who was a football referee. We’d all had new facilities on board this ship. There were several ships that were fishing boats but they were quite small. However they all had had new facilities and with this woman being our skipper as well we asked her whether she had private facilities or whether she had to kick the crew out of this one and use the communal ones. She said that because she was an official referee she had her own private facilities. That made us wonder about what happened about the other women skippers in this fleet who weren’t football referees. While we were talking she said that she wanted me and would I be free the next afternoon.? I had one or two things to do but I told her that I could fit her in for what it was that she wanted if she would let me know.

And then we were back in the Middle Ages. There was some old man who was living his life quite rough, impolite, rude, and had incurred the King’s displeasure. The King had sent someone down to arrest him and bring him back. It turned out to be this guy’s son. Theyw ere having some kind of emotional struggle – the son had to take him before the king but he wanted his son to let him go. This went on for quite some time with all kinds of recriminations etc

There was also something about my tax return. I had to complete it but I didn’t have all the papers. I had to find the papers but there was a time limit. I had to apply for nationality but I’d been there 11 years so I had to take 11 steps on this stepping-stone footpath but even then I couldn’t apply because the downward path from there was so steep and there was nowhere to hold on to. It was something that was getting out of hand. And that reminds me that I have my own tax return to do sometime when I come back from my travels.

Actually, part of me is looking forward to my next journey at the end of next week, but part of me isn’t. That’s because there is going to be something of a showdown where something on which I’ve been working for 30 years might come to fruition, if I’m extremely lucky.

On the other hand, it could lead to a major disappointment. And knowing how things usually pan out when I’m involved, that’s more likely the case.

Most of the day I’ve been working on the photos from the High Arctic again and I’ve finally made it, after a couple of years of attempts, to land on Beechey Island.

Just now I’ve been to visit THE THREE GRAVES of members of Sir John Franklin’s doomed expedition to discover the North-West Passage and having had an encounter with a gyrfalcon, I’m now picking my way through some mid-19th Century “Goldners” tin cans towards the remains of “Northumberland House”, the wooden shack that Pullen’s expedition erected in 1852-53 in case any of Franklin’s men should struggle back to Lancaster Sound.

It’s probably all of this that’s making me so depressed at the moment.

A few years ago I had an interesting discussion with a couple of Polar explorers about the Arctic, and I recalled a quote from someone called Judge Malone who had gone to search for the last resting place of his friend Leonidas Hubbard “I never had that feeling before on leaving the wilderness, but this country has exerted a peculiar fascination upon me. I understand what it was now that drew you … on and would not let you turn back”.

Yes, I have the bougeotte again, as they say around here, haven’t I? But there’s little prospect of that happening right now, the way everything is.

At the moment, the only way to deal with the bougeotte is to go for a walk around the headland and after the heady excitement of the last couple of days, even that was a disappointment today with nothing whatever out of the ordinary going on.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The tape that was tied across the front of the building had gone today so I headed straight for the wall at the end of the car park to have a look down onto the beach.

And with the weather being so nice today, there were crowds of people down there this afternoon making the most of it. But that was no surprise really because the car park was packed with cars this afternoon.

Everyone was hemmed in pretty much close to the cliffs today because the tide hadn’t gone all that far out when I was out having a prowl around. They’ll have a couple of hours now to spread out before it comes back in.

repointing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But here’s a big surprise!

By the looks of things they have finished all that they intend to do with repairing the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux and they have now moved the scaffolding further along the wall.

But I don’t like the look of that one little bit. There were a couple of mega-cracks in the wall and they don’t look as if they have done that much towards repairing them. I know when I was repointing my house back 10 years ago I wouldn’t have been very happy leaving any cracks like that in the wall.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was there I was also having a good look around out at sea.

Yesterday we saw a couple of fishing boats out on the Baie de Granville and as you can see, there’s one out there this afternoon. And you can tell by his wake that he’s just done a “U-turn” out there in the ocean.

The marker buoys for the lobster pots are still out there too but he’s a long way away from where they are.

And so dodging the crowds this afternoon I headed off down the path towards the lighthouse.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe ru roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The car park by the lighthouse was full to so I was expecting there to be crowds down there as well.

And this afternoon we had a couple more people on the bench by the cabanon vauban enjoying the sun. And that’s all that they were doing because there were no boats out there, and no fishermen on the rocks either.

Plenty of people on the lower path too having a stroll around but I wasn’t intending to join them. I’m having issues with the steps, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Instead, I headed off towards the port.

people on sea wall joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there was quite a crowd over at the ferry terminal as well.

At first I was wondering whether they might have been queuing up to go for a sail on the Joly France ferry that’s over there. But in actual fact I noticed that the crane is working, with a few heavy bags dangling from its hook.

It’s probably a reasonable form of entertainment for the people over there watching the action.

And there will be more action going on over there as of the 5th May (when I am of course away on my travels) because I have it on good authority that the sailings to the Channel Islands are to resume on that date.

We shall see.

cleaning pontoon chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there’s yet another change of occupant over at the chantier naval.

Le Roc A la Mauve III is still there in what must surely be one of the longest-ever stays that I have ever seen, but she’s now been joined by one of the little harbour pontoons that float around in there.

She’s having a good pressure-washing right now and the guy in charge loos as if he’s having an enormous amount of fun doing it too.

It’s the kind of thing that will keep him out of mischief for a while.

ch714399 l'iris de suse port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And the game of musical ships over at the Fish Processing Plant has taken a new twist today.

Neither Briscard nor L’Omerta is there today. The place is occupied by another inshore shell-fishing boat.

And thanks to her registration number being visible and the index of fishing boats that I found a while ago, I can tell you that she’s called L’Iris de Suse, whatever that is supposed to mean.

So what’s the betting for who will be moored there tomorrow? It’s a toss-up, I reckon, between Titanic and the Mary Celeste.

spirit of conrad charles marie anakena la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But at the moment there are croowds of boats over there in the inner harbour.

There are a few that I don’t recognise but those that I do include Spirit of Conrad, Charles Marie, Anakena and la Grande Ancre.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had a few things to do. It had been a miserable day today with having fought off sleep for much of the morning only to have crashed out completely and definitively for an hour or so before going for a walk..

Nothing is ever going to be done if I don’t get a move on.

Tea was my sausage, beans and chips. And the chips were rather hit-and-miss. I think that I’m not shaking them up enough to move them around in the air fryer half-way through so a few are overcooked and a few others are undercooked. But I’ll keep on persevering.

However, generic French baked Beans are awful. I tried a different lot today and they were just as bad as the last lot. I’ll have to buy the bullet and buy full-price branded stuff.

But that’s tomorrow when I go shopping I reckon. Not that I need much because I’m off on my travels next weekend. Judgement Day is approaching rather rapidly.

Tuesday 22nd March 2022 – WHAT A DISASTER …

… that was today.

My Welsh lesson this ùorning is one that I would very much like to forget. It was the first day of a new year and the morning should have been spent on “refreshing” what we had learnt last year and that simply served to remind me of how much I had forgotten.

That’s the problem when you have a teflon brain – nothing sticks to it. And at times I feel like Homer Simpson and “every time I learn something new, it pushes something old out”.

It all actually went wrong last night when I fell into bed having forgotten to clean my teeth, forgotten the pill that I’m supposed to take and probably forgotten several other things too that I can’t remember now.

And whichever one of it was that I had forgotten meant that I didn’t go to sleep for an age.

Even worse, when the alarm went off at 07:30 I turned over and went back to sleep. I was still asleep when the second alarm went off at 08:00 and it was a good 20 minutes later when I eventually struggled to my feet.

No day can function properly when it starts like that.

After the medication I prepared for the lesson this morning. At least, I read the notes and looked up the words that I didn’t know or couldn’t remember. And there are far more of those than there ought to be.

At least the breakfast of coffee and fruit bread was delicious. I seem to have mastered that these days.

After lunch I carried on editing the photos from August 2019 and right now we’re coming into Icy Arm of Buchan Gulf, a fjord in the north of Baffin Island.

And while many of the photos that I took the previous night and that morning are plagued by bad light and moving ships, the odd one or two, such as THIS ONE have brought bck a few pleasant memories.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then, of course, I went off on my afternoon walk around the headland.

As usual I went over to the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach. And there was plenty of beach too. The tide was miles out this afternoon and there were one or two people down there enjoying the beautiful weather.

There were quite a few people walking around on the path up here too on top of the cliffs. I’ve no idea where they came from because it’s not quite holiday time yet so in theory we shouldn’t be having too many tourists right now.

trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual I was also having a look around out to sea to see what was happening there, and for once just recently, the visibility was quite good.

There were two fishing boats right out there in the bay this afternoon and that was rather puzzling. You can tell by the beach in the previous photo that it’s going to be a good couple of hours before they even start thinking about opening the harbour gates.

So what were they doing? The only thing that occurred to me was that they were fishing, but in the shipping lane between the port and the Ile de Chausey is a strange place to put out your nets.

Apart from that, I have no idea.

girl taking photograph pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was a large party of young people strolling along the path and so I followed them.

When they reached the old wrecked gun, most of them clambered aboard the barrel while one of them took a photo. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that taking a photo of people taking a photo is a regular feature of these pages.

In the background is the bunker with the flat top on which I stand to take photos of Jersey and of the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel whenever the weather permits.

And where, on one occasion, my camera came to grief one night as a gust of wind lifted it and the tripod off the top and sent it all crashing to the ground.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With nothing else much happening I wandered off across the car park behind the lighthouse and across the car park to the end of the headland.

There was nothing going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel but there were quite a few people down there at the cabanon vauban watching it. There are two people sitting on the bench, and another two sitting on a rock behind the bush lower down.

There were a few people at the pèche à pied too but they were too far out for a photograph to do any good.

Instead, I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

spirit of conrad notre dame de cap lihou le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There’s been another change in occupancy in the chantier naval today.

Spirit of Conrad and Le Roc à la Mauve III are still in there but the trawler Suzanga has now departed after her brief stay. In her place we have the port’s lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, the green and orange boat, receiving attention.

A little earlier this afternoon I had bumped into Pierre, the captain of Spirit of Conrad. He tells me that he hopes that she will be back in the water quite soon.

He’s in a hurry to start work and I can’t blame me. Things are not so easy after all of the cancellations that they had when Covid was running even more rampant than it is now.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiaise in the loading bay in the inner harbour.

Today, she’s out there, over at the ferry terminal sitting on the silt. And by the looks of things, she may well be taking some freight from there too. At the side of the crane are some of the big gravel bags full of building materials.

None of the ferries are there this afternoon though. There are only two of them in the inner harbour and so I imagine that the third one is over at the Ile de Chausey waiting for the tide to turn so it can bring the day trippers back home again.

pallet lifter baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022But while I was having a good look at Chausiaise, I noticed out of the corner of my eye something moving about in the bay, even though the tide is out.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that a good while back they laid some kind of outflow out of the port de plaisance into the bay, and you can see it here.

And what you can also see is a pallet loader out there driving around in the bay, heading back to dry land. I wonder what he’s been doing today.

But he’s certainly picked the right time of year to be doing it. We’re having one of the lowest tides of the year right now.

digger trailer lorry porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back home I had a look at what was going on at the Porte St Jean.

The trailer and the digger are there again but the lorry that usually pulls them has left the trailer behind and cleared off. There’s a pickup parked over there but he’s not coupled up to the trailer.

Back here I had a coffee and then listened to the dictaphone notes to find out where I’d been during the night. Part of it was difficult to decipher, not because of the dictaphone but because I was in a deep sleep and mumbling into it instead of talking.

I started off last night with my friends in Pittsburgh and their father. I can’t remember how it started with them and where it went to but later on there was an issue about football. The Turkish team had insisted on playing Russia so all the other football clubs had a boycott. Most of the fans were in favour but some of the players weren’t. David Beckham stood up to make a speech. He started off by saying “you know that I have always defended the weak against the strong” to which the whole crowd burst out into fits of laughter. He just turned round and walked off to a whole pile of jeers and catcalls. Gradually the crowd dispersed. I was with a couple of people who asked what I thought. I thought that the only thing on my mind was not to have a repeat of what happened in 1939 and I’d go to any lengths even if it means cancelling football to it. That was pretty much the general opinion of everyone who was there

To think that TOTGA had finally come all this way out here to see me and just as she did so all of the football matches were cancelled which upset me quite a lot but there was some girl advertising a Russian-made mixer for sale so I felt like asking her if some farmer had towed it away from a war zone and that was how she came to have it.

And if TOTGA put in an appearance last night and I can’t remember anything about it, that’s the kind of thing that fills me full of dismay as well. People like her and the others don’t appear so often in my dreams that I can afford to forget all about them.

Finally, I was giving lessons to people last night about First Class on behalf of the students’ union, making sure that they understood the principles but First Class had changed had changed since I used it 20 years ago. There was practically no-one on there any more and the threads were extremely short. The new intake of students didn’t seem to be interested in using it so it never really took off. I was going through a few of the Conferences in there and they were practically dead, nothing like it was in the old days.

While I was at it, I also booked my rail tickets for my next outing. At least, some of the tickets because I need to liaise with someone else about part of my journey. It’s not as straightforward as you might think.

What else I did was to do some more work on that three-column photo layout on which I ran aground a month or two ago. And it took me less than two minutes to see where I’d gone wrong.

What I did was when I was doing some “cut and paste” out of my photo index, I missed off a square bracket. And once I’d discovered it and put it back, it all flowed together quite nicely.

And then I did something else that has upset everything and I need to find out what it is.

That occurred round about tea-time so instead I went off to make food. Air-fried chips with vegan sausage and baked beans. And the tragedy is that I’ve used the last of the tray of baked beans that someone brought back for me from the UK. I’ll have to buy ones from the supermarket here and they don’t taste the same.

At least they aren’t as bad as Canadian baked beans. Over there they add sugar to them and they taste disgusting.

There’s one piece of good news though, and that is that if I put the vegan sausage in the air fryer with 10 minutes to go, they fry perfectly.

Tomorrow I have the nurse coming around to inject me, and the physiotherapist. Then there’s a Welsh revision on Thursday evening and a Welsh weekend course this weekend. I’ll be glad to go on my travels in order to have a little rest.

And as I write this, it is now well over 24 hours since I turned off the heating. Things are warming up, in more ways than one.

Tuesday 15th March 2022 – I HAVE HAD A …

… calamity today.

During the coffee break in our Welsh lesson this morning, I set some coffee on the go in the coffee percolator while I went for a ride on the porcelain horse.

When I came back, I picked up the glass jug from the percolator – and the bottom fell out of it. The coffee went everywhere.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … when I moved here I bought everything new, the cheapest possible, with the idea that I would have at all as quickly as possible and as items give out one by one, I would replace them.

So it was only a question of time before the cheap €9:99 coffee percolator gave out and today it’s been replaced with a high-quality machine with a metal jug that is actually a vacuum flask. I hope that my coffee will be hot enough now instead of barely tepid.

Another disaster was last night’s (lack of) sleep. I went to bed rather later than intended and couldn’t sleep at all for absolutely ages.

Eventually I dropped off to sleep and promptly had a nightmare. and while I’ve had a few that for all kinds of reasons have failed to make these pages, this one didn’t even make the dictaphone. I couldn’t even bring myself to dictate it.

And as a result of this nightmare, I didn’t go back to sleep. Nevertheless it was a struggle for me to leave the bed.

While I was preparing for the Welsh lesson I was drifting in and out of sleep but to my surprise, not only did I manage to end up in advance of where we finished today, it actually passed quite well and was quite a successful lesson.

Unfortunately this was the last session of our second year. Next week will be the first lesson of our third year and to my dismay one of my colleagues whom I happen to quite like has decided not to renew. That’s dismayed me somewhat, to be sure.

After lunch I had a few things to do and then I went to the radiology centre for the x-ray on my knee. It didn’t take too long for the x-ray to be taken- in fact she took 6 – and the wait for the finished photos wasn’t anything like as long as it usually.

LeClerc was next for my new coffee machine and then shopping at Lidl, seeing as I don’t have much in right now. It was quite an expensive shop too, much of which was spent on coffee and brazil nuts.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I returned home I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

With it being later than usual the tide had turned and there were one or two people down there having a wander about. I didn’t stay long watching. I grabbed my stuff and came back in here.

There was quite a fight that I had with the freezer. It’s now full to overflowing, and there’s no room whatever for anything else. But I’m going to have to make a start on emptying it. It’s only the vegetables that seem to run through various cycles. Nothing else much seems to move.

For tea tonight I worked the air fryer again to make some chips. And this time they worked really well. With baked beans and a vegan sausage it was delicious.

And then we had football. Caernarfon v Y Fflint. Caernarfon’s manager and assistant manager are down with Covid right now so it was the Academy manager on the bench and to my surprise his choice of team was certainly different. An attacking Five, something that I haven’t seen since the early ’70s.

A couple of Caernarfon’s players were fairly anonymous tonight for a change but they still had too much in the tank for Y Fflint and ran out 2-1 winners. And had Mike Hayes, their centre-forward, had had more luck with his half-chance efforts, it could have been a cricket score.

Y Fflint have gone right off the boil just recently.

Bedtime now and I need a good sleep. I have a physiotherapy session tomorrow and then in the evening I have the first of my 5 Welsh language revision sessions for my exam in the summer.

It’s all go again around here.

Friday 11th March 2022 – I’VE JUST HAD …

… a lovely meal with Alison at the Greenway restaurant.

She finished work today early so she came into Leuven on the bus and we went off for an evening out. A vegan burger followed by a nice coffee in the Grote Markt and then I walked her back to the bus station.

Now that I’m back in my little room I’m writing out my notes and then I’m off to bed for I have an early start in the morning. My train to Brussels is at 06:33.

And if my night was anything last night, I won’t be having much sleep anyway because it was another highly mobile night with tons of stuff on the dictaphone. I started off in the USA last night. I can’t remember whom I was with but it was a guy. We’d gone to this kind-of students’ bar and there had been some kind of incident between me, this guy and the guy who was running the place. It started out as a kind-of light-hearted thing to which no-one took any offence. There were some people getting up some teams for football and we went to join them. We sat around in this room for over an hour and a half waiting for this particular game to start. Just before it was due to start someone came over to us and said that they were sorry that they couldn’t fit us into a team and we’d have to go, which annoyed me intensely for I’d been sitting around here for an hour and a half as had the guy with me and seeing as there were 2 of us they could have fitted us into a team quite easily, one on each side but for some reason they didn’t want us. We went back into another bar and someone from the administration of this club came in and saw us, and made some kind of comment so I made a few comments back. The situation quickly escalated. Some other woman who had the air of being a manager came over to try to give us a lecture I gave her a lecture back instead. She really wasn’t impressed with what I had to say which was hardly a surprise. In the end my friend and I decided that we would leave as we weren’t going to hand around with this kind of people and this woman who was some kind of student said that she was worth $400,000 to which I replied “that’s pretty small beer alongside my $3,000,000, isn’t it?”. That didn’t go down very well. It all finished with her saying that she was going to be taking her A Levels here starting in the summer. I said “let me give you a word of advice. Don’t take them in this place”. We moved outside and the guy asked “what do you mean by your $3,000,000?” so I explained. We passed some kind of marina full of all of these abandoned and burnt-out boats that looked as if they had belonged to a fairground at one time and had all been laid up, derelict and so on

A young boy had been killed and a young girl had gone missing from her school in the USA. They were going to write some kind of letter to this boy’s family and it was an extremely complicated affair and they were having to hunt for envelopes and paper and so on to write this letter. It took an age to do this and before they had even finished it there was a fight between two small children who were something to do with this disappearance. That was broken up but then there was a third fight between two similar children. This was all getting completely out of hand. Then a hurricane came to the area and everyone had to shelter in some kind of hurricane shelter at the school This missing girl turned up, accompanied by a boy called Darcy, someone who had had some kind of issue with his motorbike earlier in the school year and another boy who was there who was the leader of the gang who supposedly this boy and girl were with. Everyone was saying things like “how brave she is to come out of hiding because she’s bound to be questioned about the death of this boy”. It carried on a bit like this, I suppose.

There had been a huge civil engineering disaster and this whole building site had collapsed. There were all kinds of people on this site, not rescuing because no-one had been killed or lost but investigating it. I was involved because I’d been on there doing some kind of work and I had to re-excavate a trench that had collapsed with a pipe in it. It turned out that the person in charge was a young girl whom I knew very well. Basically she’d been surrounded by lots of friends but most of them had been there to ee how much money they could make out of her and out of this particular contract and they had all almost exclusively let her down with this particular work. She was called up before this inquisition/tribunal to investigate what was the final straw on this site. I unfortunately had to give evidence about what I had been doing, which was basically trying to put right a lot of this stuff that had been going wrong. This girl was practically in tears about everyone who had let her down. I was having to tell her the bitter truth about what was going on and about how one or two other people and I had been covering up as best we could to make sure that this project went ahead And even as this tribunal was taking place a cement mixer on another site overturned and on the site somewhere else overturned There were all kinds of incidents like this. Basically all this girl’s friends had come along to offer help to get this building off the ground but they had all taken out of it as much as they could and disappeared one by one until she was on her own to carry the can for the consequences

I was with a few people from school last night but we were probably in our 20s, something like that. One was a girl whom I knew quite well and she had a sister. Her sister (although it wasn’t her sister in real life) was another girl whom I knew from school and whom I’d actually dated at one time and whom I liked very much but her parents hated me. We’d been a group of us doing something and we’d finished it. It had been an extremely emotional thing, something to do with the war and something to do with the military, all this kind of thing and civilians caught up with it and fighting it, very disjointed, and included this woman driving this really old ERF or Foden articulated tanker about. When it finished and it was all over and we were walking back, I caught up with her. She was on her own now. Slowly this group of people reassembled and I managed to get her on her own and told her “I’m going to write a book about all of this”. She asked me what it was going to be called. “Oh I’m carrying a heavy load” I replied, from the song by “Free”. As we walked back to the village where she lived I asked about her sister. I said that I felt like asking her if she wanted to come to the cinema”. The girl said “yes, why don’t you?”. We went into the office where she was working. She was on her own so I said “do you fancy coming to the cinem0 at some time over the weekend?”. She replied that she had to do something on some night but she was free and asked “what did you want to see?”. I mentioned this spy thriller but she pulled a face so I asked “is there anything that you want to see? We’ll go and see that. I’m not bothered”. Just then a crowd of people burst into the office. Her parents, and a couple of people who ran the office where she was working. She was trying to hold a conversation with me. She asked me where I was working but before I could reply she was swept up in all of this commotion. I ended up sitting here talking to a guy about football. He asked if I was watching the football that night. The World Cup was on. I said “no. They never came to see me when I was bad”. I mentioned that if my team were playing in it I would watch it but he couldn’t work out what I was trying to say. He asked “do you watch any football around here?”. I replied “no. I go over the border to Wales to watch it. I go over the border to watch it but he still didn’t twig In the meantime I was trying to work out which car I was going to take. Jackie had asked me what I was doing for work . I told her that I’d sold the taxis but she said that she knew. There was all this commotion going on that no sensible conversation could take place and I felt that this was going to be another one of those occasions where I was going to have victory snatched from my grasp at the last minute.

But the opening part was extremely emotional and powerful about this war thing and I don’t know why this song fitted in but it seemed to be so apt – so appropriate.

After breakfast I made a start on collecting together the music for the next batch of radio programmes.

You will recall from just now that I mentioned a song by “Free” that contained the lyrics “Oh I’m carrying a heavy load”. And GUESS WHICH SONG came round first on the playlist to be featured on my next series of radio programmes?

After lunch I finished off the music and then wandered off to the shops.

dismantling market stall herbert hooverplein Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I walked across the Herbert Hooverplein. It’s where the big market is held every Friday morning but being somewhat later today, almost everyone had gone. There was just the one guy here folding up his stall “like the Arabs and as silently steal away”, as Longfellow would have said.

There was nothing of any interest whatever in FNAC yet again. I’m beginning to despair of ever finding anything useful in there these days.

For a change I didn’t go and look in the cheap shops. I headed across town to the Origin’O or whatever it’s called to see if the low stocks that they had yesterday had been replenished.

And the answer to that is “no” – so it looks as if that’s the end of that shop from my point of view too.

house new building zongang Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that I need is a big bag of cumin. They don’t sell it in the size that I would like in Granville.

And so on my way down to the big “Exotic World” ethnic supermarket I nipped down the Zongang to have a look at the house that I mentioned yesterday.

It’s not actually as dark as I was thinking right now. But it’s mid-afternoon and I imagine that it’s a completely different proposition in the morning and evening when the sun is low in the sky.

Clutching my big bag of cumin (and also a small bag of cumin seeds) I headed back towards town.

medieval tower demolition site brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022Another place that I wanted to see today was the demolition site at the old Sint Pieter’s Hospital.

Although there seems to be a lot of traffic around there just now, nothing much seems to have changed. The old medieval tower is still standing, which is just as well, still sheathed in its protective coat of scaffolding and net.

They have some floodlights there, I notice, which seems to indicate that they work here after dark. I wonder what it is that they do because there isn’t anything evident, even if the pile of rubble on the left seems to be larger than last time.

demolition site brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022But the old block of buildings on the right that they started to knock down a few months ago – that’s still standing too.

It looks as if they have demolished all that they intend to demolish of that right now and they are going to leave it at that.

And so, as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … if they are going to be building luxury apartments here, they are going to have to improve the view that the people will have from their windows. It’s not what I would call “very inspiring”.

demolition site rear of velodrome oude lievevrouwstraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022The site at the back of the little velodrome looks quite clear now.

Last month, I mentioned that it’s possible to pass through now into the Oude Lievevrouwstraat and they seem to have done some more tidying up at the back of where they erect the marquee when they have a function here.

That’s progress of a sort anyway.

On the way back to my little room I popped into Delhaize. Now I have more banana drink, vegan garlic mayonnaise and also a few vegan sausages.

But no grated vegan cheese anywhere, so I hope that the cheese that I bought from LIDL the other day will melt over my pizza.

Back here I tidied up the place for a while ready to leave early tomorrow and then wandered off to meet Alison when she told me that she was on her way.

We met as usual at the “Tiger” although as she was early, she came some way in my direction to meet me. We went to the “Greenway” vegan restaurant for a burger, and then for a coffee and a good chat in the Grote Markt.

night diestsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022late in the evening the buses for Alison to return home are quite irregular so she stands more chance of catching a bus at a more convenient time at the bus station.

It’s “sort-of” on my way back home I suppose so I accompanied her. The Diestsestraat was for a change quite deserted but the lights of the shops gave some kind of weird, eerie effect as we walked back.

Only 10 minutes to wait for a bus at the bus station so I hung around with her until it came. And it was just as well that I waited because it was running late.

Had it not turned up, there would have been quite a long wait for the next one and a cold draughty bus station is not the place to be hanging around.

fair martelarenplein Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022The other day I posted a photo of the shiny new Martelarenplein with most of its fencing removed.

It hasn’t taken long for it to be reoccupied, has it? It must be fairground time right now and all of the attractions have now moved in and occupied the square. That should keep the town busy for a while.

The walk back home was quiet and uneventful. I wrote my notes, finished off the tidying up and crawled into bed.

An early night and an early start tomorrow.

Wednesday 23rd February 2022 – NOW THAT THE WIND …

woman sitting on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… has calmed down to just “high speed” instead of LUDICROUS SPEED, people are slowly returning to their old habits.

For the first time for a while, there was someone this afternoon sitting down on the bench at the end of the headland at the Pointe du Roc admiring the view.

At least, I imagined that they were admiring the view, because it was one of these days when admiring the view required quite an effort because there was some kind of hazy mist out there which meant that you couldn’t see all that far this afternoon.

contrasting water pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There was however something for me to see, that certainly isn’t to anyone else’s taste.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that every now and again we see something strange happening in the water where there are a couple of distinct colours and a distinct line between them.

Today was one of those occasions, as you can see in the image just here. I’ve no idea what causes this effect – it’s certainly nothing to do with the underlying nature of the sea bed and nothing to do with the clouds in the sky either because we have 10/10ths cloud today.

As for me, I also had another few hours of uninterrupted sleep. In bed at 23:50 and the first file on the dictaphone was timed at 03:41, so that’s almost 4 hours and that’s pretty good going for the last few weeks.

Nevertheless it was a struggle to leave the bed at 07:30. In fact it was more like 07:50 when I finally showed a leg and then I staggered off to take my medicine.

The morning was a very slow start but eventually I managed to summon up the strength to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I’d been injured in some fighting that had taken place and been taken to hospital but the opposing army was closing in so I put on a disguise to modify my appearance. I thought that it looked OK but someone else there thought that it was quite obvious that it was a disguise and spoilt the effect. This led to a bitter argument between the two of us and it ended up by me striking out at this person because I thought that everything was perfect and I was bound to escape detection if the enemy came into this town.

Later on I was out with Paul Temple and his mate, Sexton Smith or whatever his name was, except that in the radio programmes his assistant was a woman called Steve. We were going to do something that involved a trip down the coast of South-West England and North-West France. It meant getting a few things ready but my bedroom was a tip with dismantled Cortina parts all over the place. it took me ages to sort out what things that I needed. We got everything together and the two of us, Paul Temple and me and a third guy who was some kind of French person, we set off from the house in a car down this very long drive. When we reached the main road we got out and got into Paul Temple’s car which was a left-hand drive French registered Austin Cambridge. I asked “what about the food and the things we need to take?”. They replied “you’re in charge of that” so we had to get out the food that we need for the journey. It came to the case of hiring an aeroplane and that was my job too apparently. We then had to pick up his friend and that meant going back up the drive to this house again. Halfway up the drive we encountered another vehicle travelling slowly so we overtook it on this muddy drive but there was an electricity post in the way so we had to swerve back and almost cut up this car. In the meantime he said to the guy who was with us “you fancy a Honda, don’t you? There’s one for sale on the front here” so they talked about this Honda for a while. When we returned to the courtyard in front of this house one of the people there was a schoolteacher – there were several outside – but his friend Sexton Smith or whatever his name was still hadn’t turned up

One thing that I forgot to mention about Paul Temple was the tomcat, a long-haired ginger cat, which had the ability to blend in with whatever boundary it was against and was a valuable member of this expedition, and whatever that is supposed to mean, I really don’t know.

Ingrid telephoned me too, which was very nice because I’ve not heard from her for ages. We had the kind of chat that would rival any one that I’ve had with Rosemary, but then a lot of things have happened since we last spoke to each other.

While I was rummaging around in the freezer I came across a bag of what looked like pie filling and so that gave me an idea for a cunning plan. I put it out to defrost. However it turned out to be some kind of potato curry, by which time it was too far defrosted to put it back.

After lunch, I sprang into action.

For reasons that will become apparent tomorrow, I decided that I needed to bake a cake. For some reason or other I had a fancy for a coffee cake so yesterday I’d trawled the internet for a suitable recipe for a vegan coffee cake using ingredients that I had to hand.

Having finished my butties and fruit I set about mixing everything together in accordance with the instructions. This time I mixed the dry ingredients separately from the wet ingredients and it all seemed to go really well when I combined both lots.

While it was baking, I made a vegan pie with the mix that had defrosted and some pastry that I knocked together while I was in the mood. There wasn’t enough mix to fill the pie so I lengthened it with a tin of sweetcorn and then a tin of lentils.

The cake took ages to bake – probably double the time that it said in the recipe. I think that my oven is rubbish as everything I bake doesn’t work out properly.

When it was done I took it out to cool and put the pie in to bake.

There was a recipe for some vegan coffee cream cake filling that would go really nicely in between the two layers of cake. And having struggled with the icing for the Christmas cake, I mixed it all in the whizzer and that seemed to work perfectly.

coffee cake vegan pie place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When the cake cooled, I cut it in half, spread the cream on the top of one of the halves and pressed them together, and then iced the cake with the remainder.

Here I found an unexpected problem. I’ve never, in all the time that I’ve been baking, had a cake that has risen as well as this one, and as a result it’s too tall to go in my cake tin. I wish now that I’d brought the giant one with me from the Auvergne.

And one thing that I can say, is that if the finished cake tastes as good as the mix did when I licked the spatula, it will be absolutely delicious.

Much later than usual because of the time that the cooking took, I went out for my afternoon walk. However, on the car park I encountered Pierre, the skipper of Spirit of Conrad, and we spent a good few minutes chatting about his plans for the forthcoming season with his craft.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022After he had wandered off back inside the building I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

There weren’t as many people down there this afternoon as there have been over the past few days. Just one or two ambling aimlessly about and someone on the water’s edge scaving for seafood amongst the rocks.

You can see plenty of shellfish stuck to the rocks down there, but the key, apparently, is to find some that are still living. If they are dead then they are of no use and, of course, many of them will have been pillaged by our feathered friends.

trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was looking down on the beach my eyes were also roving around out at sea to see what was going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we peered through the gloom and saw a trawler working away off the Ile de Chausey in the Baie de Granville.

At this distance, because it has to be about 10-12 miles away from where I’m standing, it’s not possible to identify it and I can’t even be sure that it was the same one that was out there yesterday.

Since Brexit and the issues with the Jersey authorities, we’ve seen more and more fishing boats working away out there rather than being further out in the bay.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was here, I had a different view over the section of the wall that they have been repairing in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

The first thing that I noticed was that I could now see the wall from where they have removed the covering to the scaffolding, and they have totally repointed all of that and rebuilt the part of the wall that is above the level of the street.

The second thing that I noticed was that there was someone down there on the scaffolding pointing away at one of the two very large cracks in the wall. And that’s the kind of crack that will take an awful lot of filling.

It will look lovely when it’s finished, although when that might be is anyone’s guess. And then what bit are they going to do next?

people on beach pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Not very many people about on the path this afternoon so I had a very quiet and comfortable walk down to the lighthouse this afternoon.

We’ve already seen someone down on the rocks at the Rue du Nord looking for shellfish, and further along on the beach there was someone else having a go.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw the marker just of the coast here, most of which was covered by the tide. Today though, the tide is well out and we can see all of the marker and the man having a scratch around will give you an idea of the scale of how high the tides are when they come right in.

new flagpole monument to the resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that the other day we saw that the bolts had been drilled in the new concrete base for the flagpole that will replace the one that was blown down in the storm a while back.

When we saw it I mentioned that I supposed that within the next few days we would see the flagpole back up, and here it is today, properly erected. They did that quicker than I was expecting, especially knowing the pace at which they work around here.

So I wandered off across the car park and down to the end of the headland to see what was happening out at sea and to check on whoever might be sitting on the bench out there. And then I wandered off down the other side of the headland.

yacht tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday down at the chantier naval, we saw some activity with the portable boat lift as it was busy caressing Tiberiade, and I wondered what it was doing.

It’s not possible to see what was going on between the two of them yesterday but today, there’s a new arrival in there. Another yacht is down there receiving attention. And that has an interesting arrangement holding it up in the horizontal.

Back here I had a coffee and, not falling asleep, I made a start on some of the older dictaphone notes that have been hanging around waiting to be dealt with. Just a mere 19 to do now and then I’ll be ready to build up another backlog

Tea tonight was a delicious teamed veg with vegan sausage and vegan cheese sauce. Another delicious meal that I really enjoyed.

Tomorrow I’m having a lie-in, for reasons that will be apparent. I’m not sure that I deserve one after how inactive I’ve been over the last few weeks but I’m going to have one again – if only to see who will be coming with me on a nocturnal ramble or two.

Tuesday 8th October 2019 – I’VE BEEN …

… Mr Computer Repair Man again today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Monday 11th February 2019 – THAT WAS ONE …

… of the nicest cheese sauces that I have ever tasted, never mind ever made.

Tonight, everything went perfectly and my steamed vegetables with vegan sausages and vegan cheese sauce were totally delicious, and I’ll eat that again any day of the week.

Another bit of news is that ever since I came back from the Arctic I’ve been trying to make an appointment to see some people. They finally replied in mid-January to say that there were no appointments just now, and the same e-mail has come every two weeks.

But today, I’ve had a different mail sent by a different person, and this has an air of being somewhat more optimistic.

However, that is just about all of the good news today. The rest of it hasn’t been so good.

It all started to go wrong as early as 06:00 this morning.

This was another one of these days where even though the alarm went off, I took absolutely no notice whatsoever. I turned over and went straight back to sleep. Not out of willingness, I hasten to add, but simply because I couldn’t wake myself up.

07:45 was much more like it, and leaving my bed at 08:30 was even more interesting. It’s not my usual modus operandi for a weekday as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but after the miserable day yesterday when I missed my lie-in, I must have needed it.

I’d been on my travels too during the night. And surprisingly (or maybe not, because it’s the whole point of doing all of this) it was a continuation of a couple of voyages that I had been on several years ago. I was in Brussels working in an office and I’d gone home for lunch. I decided to have a salad but a “fried” salad. So I tossed a lettuce leaf into a frying pan and it singed up around the edges. The rest of the salad I tossed into another frying pan but it was one in which my younger sister had just fried an egg and she’d used lard or dripping to do that. I left my home to head back to work but found myself right outside the city with the high-rise towers away in the distance and I was wondering however I would reach work in time to restart. But there – that weird American company for which I once worked – I was chatting to a former colleague of mine (from another employment) who was terribly upset. She’d received a copy of a bill that someone had sent in, on which she had been described as a “barsteward” – and this offended her deeply. Meantime, there were a pile of magazines lying around in the office. They were entitled “The Flame of Islam”, and although that might sound an inflammatory title, it was actually a Christian publication. Not many people knew that, which probably explains why they looked so astonished when I suggested that we go out and sell them to passing motorists in our lunch breaks.

First thing that I noticed this morning was that I had the kind of thirst that you could photograph. I downed about a litre of my Vitamin B12 juice straight off.

After a rather late breakfast, I settled down to wait for my passport to arrive.

And waited

And waited

And waited.

Meanwhile, I tried to concentrate on the work that I needed to do – such as the photo database and backdating the blog.

After much binding in the marsh I made the blog back to 6th January 2019.

But the photo database was rather slower today. I couldn’t really get going for some reason. But then I have days like this, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

hang gliding pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceAnd that’s not all the bad news either. I’m having camera issues yet again.

And that’s a shame because the bird-men were out in force today.

I’ve noticed for the last couple of months that the camera is having issues focusing, especially at night. And when it is particularly dark, I have to find a distant point of light to use as a focusing object.

hang gliding pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceBut today, the focusing is simply not working most of the time, and especially when the background is neutral, like a large patch of sky.

I can hear the motor in the lens engaging and the focal length changes, but it creeps in to the beginning and blurs out

hang gliding pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceAnd it’s not just with one of the lenses – it’s with all of them.

I’ve tried to adjust the focal settings and that’s not made any difference. I think that the camera is slowly dying.

But that’s not really a surprise. I bought it in Canada in an emergency, back in 2012. It was an end-of-range model then and I paid peanuts for it, so I can’t really complain.

It’s just disappointing.

lifeboat statue baie de mont st michel st pair sur mer granville manche normandy franceThe only way that I can make it work is to focus on a specific object that is sharp enough to register.

So anyway, I pushed on round the corner to see what things were like round by the lifeboat memorial.

It might look cloudy out there, but it was surprisingly warm. And that had brought out the crowds – especially as it seems to be school holidays right now.

river pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceOne thing that I have noticed is that there seems to be a spring of some sort here on the Pointe du Roc.

There would have to be, I suppose, otherwise they would never have put a fortified city up here. They would need a water supply in case of a siege.

But today was the first time that I had noticed the water evacuating out into the sea down below.

And here, I had a message. My passport will be delivered tomorrow.

night beach casino plat gousset granville manche normandy franceAfter tea, I went out for my evening walk around the walls.

There was no-one around even though it was a pleasant evening. There was no storm tonight and the tide was quite far out, so we weren’t treated to the spectacle of the waves smashing on to the sea walls.

And so I didn’t linger long out there. I came back here instead.

And I’ll be trying once again for an early night. And this time, hoping that I can get out of bed at something very close to the correct time.

hang gliding pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
hang gliding pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

hang gliding pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
hang gliding pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

Monday 4th February 2019 – HAVING GONE …

… to bed reasonably early last night, I slept right through until the alarm went off this morning, with just a little interruption here and there. Nothing serious.

And on the subject of “nothing serious”, I was off on my travels last night too. And it concerned my old black cat Tuppence. She had an accident to one of her front paws and pulled her claws right out. All rather gruesome.

I didn’t loiter long in bed, and so we had an early-ish start today.

But not for long.

Round about 09:15 I was overwhelmed with fatigue. Not a desperate tiredness but I just couldn’t concentrate. And so I went to bed for an hour. No point in fighting the fatigue because I wouldn’t get anything done anyway.

I did close my eyes for about 10 minutes or so, but that was about it. And by 10:20 I was back up and fighting fit. Well, sort-of anyway.

This morning I was attacking the photos again. I’d taken quite a pile yesterday and they all needed editing and generally sorting-out. And it took me longer than I expected. No idea why.

There was an interruption too. Rosemary rang me up for a chat and we were on the phone for over an hour putting the world to rights. It meant a rather late lunch but never mind. There’s nothing wrong whatever in spending time chatting to friends.

After lunch, the next project was to resurrect the database that I started to make a couple of years ago. But a good search around the computer and I can’t find it anywhere. It mustn’t have survived the transfer over.

And so I started off another one. But for some reason or other I couldn’t make it work as I wanted. I seem to remember having exactly the same issue with the previous one and it took me ages to solve it. And I can’t remember how I did it now. This is going to take me much longer than I thought.

fishing boat storm ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceThe wind had dropped by the time that I went for my walk. Just blowing at gale-force.

There were a couple of little trawlers out there heading for port, and it was quite amusing fun watching them smashing their way through the waves on their way home.

Many people really don’t appreciate the efforts and the dangers that fishermen go through;

lorry unloading gravel port de granville harbour manche normandy franceBut no sign of Neptune in the harbour though. She’s still offshore somewhere and her latest ETA is 00:00. I won’t be there to see her put in to port at that time of night.

But in the meantime, they are still bringing loads of gravel down from the quarry and dropping it off on the quayside ready for Neptune to take away

Tea was sausages in cheese sauce. Just as delicious as it always is. And followed by the rest of the rice pudding.

casino place marechal foch granville manche normandy franceThere was no-one else about for the evening walk. I was completely on my own. Mind you, the wind had dropped still more and it was now just “strong”.

The Casino at the Place Marechal Foch presented a very interesting photography subject this evening, down there all bathed in blue light. I don’t recall having seen it looking like this before.

So I’ll try to have another early night and a decent sleep tonight. I have things to do tomorrow.

But at least my birth certificate turned up today. It’s destroyed one of my pet theories about my origins, but presented me with several other mysteries.

We shall have to see.

fishing boat storm ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
fishing boat storm ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

fishing boats baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
fishing boats baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france
fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france
fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france

vertical axis wind turbine plat gousset granville manche normandy france
vertical axis wind turbine plat gousset granville manche normandy france

Monday 28th January 2019 – THE ONE PROBLEM …

… with having a really good lie-in is that when you eventually go to bed, it takes a positive age to go off to sleep.

And so it was last night. It was well-gone midnight before I went to bed, and then I was tossing and turning around for quite some considerable time.

Mind you, once the alarm went off I was pretty much wide awake, although it did take some considerable time for me to leave my stinking pit.

After breakfast, I sat down and set to work.

First job was to go through a mountain of photos. The other laptop that I had been using was struggling to cope because the quality of the screen and the graphics card was not up to much and I couldn’t see properly what I was doing. And it’s a whole wide world of difference with the graphics card in this computer and the new IPS screen.

Second thing, that took all of the morning and quite a bit of the afternoon was to download a huge load of *.zip and *.rar files for the accessories for the 3D program that I use.

Luckily, I’d bookmarked most of them so I could track them down fairly quickly. Although downloading them and unpacking them took all of the time. And it’s amazing how much I had forgotten that I had.

Cheese and salad butties for lunch. I’ve finished off the hummus and there’s some cheese opened from when I was in Belgium last week. One of these days I’ll make some more, and have a mega-cook-in too because I have some puff pastry that needs using. I fancy an leek and potato pie, and I might even put some tofu in it too – except that I don’t have any.

storm port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThere was a terrific wind blowing this afternoon. Not as much as yesterday morning though but impressive all the same.

We had a really impressive array of waves smashing onto the harbour wall.

The power of the sea is really astonishing and if only people would put more effort into harnessing it, the world’s energy problem would be solved without any difficulties.

agon coutainville hauteville sur mer granville manche normandy franceIt was a beautiful day for photography too.

The air was quite clear and you could see for miles down the coast. Montmartin-sur-Mer and the Sienne estuary stood out really clearly today so I took a few photos.

I cropped and enlarged a few selections and you can see them below.

Tea tonight was vegan sausages and vegetables, all covered in vegan cheese sauce. It was delicious. Especially when followed by pineapple and coconut-flavoured soya cream.

st helier jersey granville manche normandy franceThis evening’s walk around the walls was really nice.

The wind had dropped, it was warmer than it ought to be this time of the year and the sky on the horizon was quite clear. The lights of Jersey stood out quite clearly.

The way things are going, I’m going to have to buy a better camera with a more responsive ISO as well as a decent attachment for the tripod.

trees night place maurice marland granville manche normandy franceBut even so, the Nikon D5000 can still bring out some really good photographs in the right lighting conditions.

Now that they have installed some illumination in the Place Maurice Marland it’s producing some really nice effects.

I shall have to do some more of this when I have the time.

cable fibre optic granville manche normandy franceThe fibre-optic cable works are continuing.

We saw them the other day digging a hole on the corner of the rue Notre Dame and the rue de l’Auditoire. Now, they have put an inspection hatch in there, ready for the cabling.

While I was out there I nearly flattened another pedestrian, and I also met a new cat, a youngish short-haired black one that I had never seen before. And talking to the cat made me realise that I haven’t spoken to a single person today.

And in other news, there are reports coming in that British travellers arriving at Dusseldorf Airport from the UK were pushed into the “non-EU” lane.

Things are beginning to bite, and we aren’t even at B-Day yet.

agon coutainville granville manche normandy france
agon coutainville granville manche normandy france

hauteville sur mer granville manche normandy france
hauteville sur mer granville manche normandy france

st martin de brehal granville manche normandy france
st martin de brehal granville manche normandy france

storm port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm port de granville harbour manche normandy france

trawlers fishing night granville manche normandy france
trawlers fishing night granville manche normandy france

medieval city walls granville manche normandy france
medieval city walls granville manche normandy france

trees night place maurice marland granville manche normandy france
trees night place maurice marland granville manche normandy france

Monday 19th November 2018 – IT WAS RATHER …

… a late night last night.

Another 01:30 finish as I was pushing on with doing things, and this was reflected in the struggle that I had to leave my stinking pit this morning.

During the night I was off on my travels again and although I can remember almost nothing of what I was doing. But there was one thing that struck me, as it has on many other occasions during the night. And that is the impeccable timing that goes on. There I was and I heard, in my voyage, the ping telling me that the telephone was just about to ring, so I reached out my hand and right on cue, the alarm went off. Absolutely perfect timing, and it’s not the first time that I’ve noticed this.

As soon as I awoke I went to look at the thermometer. 3°C right now, and that’s the lowest that it has been so far this autumn. We’re definitely in Autumn.

Breakfast was quite early too and that left me plenty of time to push onwards with work.

And sure enough, by lunchtime I’d finished all SIX of the web pages for the third day of my voyage to the High Arctic. You can go to this page and then work your way forward, if you have a couple of hours to spare, and admire the photographs.

Dozens and dozens of them.

That took me up to lunchtime so I had my butties in the apartment. It’s definitely out of the question now, this idea of sitting on the wall outside.

This afternoon I had a letter to write. Someone whom I met on my travels had written to me and now that I have a functioning printer I can reply. I’ll have to take it down into town tomorrow morning and post it off.

It was really windy out this afternoon but there was a crowd of people gesticulating wildly out on the peak.

dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceThere had been a couple of dolphins playing around just offshore and they had been giving a really good performance.

At first, I thought that I had missed it all, but on enlarging one of the photos that I took, I found that I had indeed captured one of them on film.

It’s rather blurred because it was way out in the bay and I had to crop and enlarge it, but it’s a dolphin all the same.

marité thora port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWhile I had the camera handy, I wandered round to the harbour.

We have Marité in her usual berth, but also, alongside, at the commercial dock is Thora. She must have sailed in from Jersey on the morning tide.

One of these days I’ll go down there and have a closer look at her.

Back here, I found myself away with the fairies for a while, which is hardly surprising after the night that I had. But once I came back round again, I had a good go at the blog entry for Day Four of my Arctic trip.

It’s been rewritten slightly and I’ve added a couple of dozen photos as a taster, just to keep things going until I can do the web page, which I’ll start tomorrow some time. In the meantime, you can see the blog entry here, with all of the photos.

There was an interruption during the early evening though. Someone telephoned me about my digger. He’s interested in buying it. But I don’t think that he’ll be buying it though. He was talking about “a couple of thousand Euros”, which isn’t even in the same library, never mind on the same page.

He mentioned that he would chat with his partner, but if he couldn’t rustle up the cash that I want he would borrow a digger off his friend. So he can do that then. I might be keen to move on a lot of the stuff that I don’t need these days, but we aren’t having a fire sale.

Tea was steamed veg and vegan sausages with cheese sauce. And using three times as much cornflour as I would normally use, I did get the sauce to thicken.

Freezing cold outside again. 4.5°C outside and getting colder by the minute. I wound up the heating when I came back in.

But I’ve hit a problem right now.

About 6 months ago, Firefox went all commercial and hacked off a lot of add-on utility programs. Presumably the utility developers wouldn’t buy a development licence. One of the utilities that went was the *.ftp program that I used.

There is however a lightweight browser – Waterfox – than runs on the Mozilla platform and the *.ftp utility ran on that. It’s been nagging at me to upgrade it for a while, which I haven’t done. But I’ve had to download it onto this laptpp, and the latest version to boot. And it’s running the new Mozilla platform and all of the utilities have gone.

Now I’m having to upload via my webhost’s control panel, and that is just so painful. Fire.ftp was just like a Windows Explorer platform and so simple to use. In fact it’s the only reason why I ever used Waterfox.

So that’s a waste of time then.

And on this note I’ll go to bed.

dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

fishing trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france
fishing trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Thursday 15th November 2018 – I’M FEELING …

… a little better right now.

After having a couple of really good days, it was odds-on that sooner or later I would have a bad one. And yesterday evening I could feel myself sliding down into the abyss.

By the time that I had finished writing my blog from last night, at about 22:00, I was feeling so miserable that I went straight to bed.

It didn’t take me long to go off to sleep either. And apart from one brief awakening, and I’ve no idea when that was, I slept right the way through to the alarm.

The first time for a while that I have had a decent sleep, and as you might expect, when I awoke, I felt even worse. But that’s not really due to the sleep, but due more to the fact that I was having a health crisis.

It took me a considerable while to tear myself out of bed and an even longer time to force my breakfast down.

Eventually I went into the bathroom for a shower and a shave and a good clean-up for it’s shopping day today. In Caliburn too and for several reasons, not the least reason being the fact that on Saturday we might be having a few blockades on the road so I needed to do a big shop today.

LIDL had nothing special, but the next stop – the Leclerc drive-in – certainly did. I’d had an e-mail on Tuesday to say that my printer had arrived and needed picking up. Today was as good a day as any.

At NOZ I swapped the glasses that were broken, and I bought a few other things. Including a 2-foot high Christmas tree complete with 6 silver balls and a set of fairy lights – all for €3:99. I’m really getting into the Christmas spirit, aren’t I?

Leclerc itself came up with nothing special and I was soon back home again, to find that I’d had a power cut while I was out.

However by now I didn’t even have the strength to put away the shopping. There was some coffee in the pot so I poured one out and came to sit down in here – where I promptly crashed out. And I was gone for an hour or so too and it was very uncomfortable.

This meant that I had a rather late lunch. Inside the apartment of course because it was quite misty outside.

This afternoon I had a very pleasant surprise. The people who had organised our voyage to the Hugh Arctic had sent me a promotional video of our journey. And it brought back many happey memories. There was a beautiful shot of Yours Truly and His Nibs on our way to the Brother John Glacier at Etah in Greenland.

And not only that, one of our party was lucky enough to be filming an iceberg when it suddenly capsized in front of her – and she had a beautiful film of it going over. She sent it to the company and they have sent it to us. It is really phenomenal and when I finally manage to organise myself I shall post a link to it.

This afternoon I started to feel a little better and I made some more progress on my third day in the High Arctic

gathering shellfish in rock pools granville manche normandy franceWe had the usual afternoon interruption for a walk. I have to keep this up as best as I can.

The tide was slowly going out and there were several people down there on the rocks searching in the rock pools for crustaceans and molluscs and so on.

Which, I imagine, they share with their friends because, as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … that one mustn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

fishermen pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceThey weren’t the only people out there interested in the local marine life.

Out there just offshore close to the old diving platform were two men in a boat. One man and a dog short of Jerome K Jerome’s famous story of his trip up the River Thames.

I’ve no idea what it is that they catch just down there. One of these days I’ll catch a friendly fisherman and make suitable enguiries.

triumph thruxton motorbike pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceThere was much more excitement on the car park round by the lighthouse on the end of the Pointe du Roc.

Parked up there was a pretty rare Triumph Thruxton.

I remember very well the original Thruxtons from the late 1960s – a series of Triumph Bonneville motorbikes specially modified for competition. However the modern reincarnation of the company launched a limited range of sports motorcycles with the same name in 2004

Back here and back on the High Arctic pages, and t won’t be long now, I reckon, until Day Three is finished. Always assuming that I can find it because the laptop has now crashed and it won’t restart at the moment. I’m having to type this on the laptop that I use as the media centre.

All of this took me up to teatime and I had a nice plate of steamed vegetables and vegan sausages. But once again, the vegan cheese sauce failed to thicken. I notice that I’m using a different brand of soya milk to the one that I usually use, and that might account for it.

moonlight baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceI went out for my evening walk as usual after tea.

Despite the fact that the moon is a long way from being full, there was plenty of moonlight about. I hadn’t taken the tripod and the zoom/telephone lens with me so I had to make the most of the equipment that I had

Considering that it’s a hand-held shot, it hasn’t come out at all too badly.

Around the corner, I nearly collided with someone lurking away in the darkness. But he was the only person whom I saw, apart from the people loitering around at the bar and the pizza van.

But now I’m off to bed – something of a late night I’m afraid. I’ve managed to get the laptop to fire up but that’s all that it’s doing. Using a technique that I dredged from the back of my mind with good old T223 at the Open University, I’ve been able to force access to the files and I’m now copying them onto a back-up drive.

I can see me having to do this every couple of hours rather than every night. I don’t want to be losing work like this.

fishermen pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
Fishermen in a boat near the old diving platform at the Pointe du Roc

Friday 9th November 2018 – I HAD A SURPRISE …

… lie-in this morning.

Apparently my phone decided to do an upgrade in the middle of the night and it was waiting for me to switch it back on.

It’s twice now that this has happened so I’ll have to think about having some kind of back-up in case it ever becomes a crucial issue, because I can see this one day ending in tears.

So with a late start this morning and a late breakfast I was getting a little behind in my work. And seeing as I’m now getting to some kind of crucial point in my journey in the High Arctic then I’m going to be doing an awful lot of research just now.

And as a result I had only done half of what I intended to do with Day Three of my blog by lunchtime. That’s not going to be back on-line anything like as quickly as I might have hoped.

Lunch was taken indoors today. It looks as if the outdoors eating is over now, especially given the wind.

This afternoon I did some tidying up – not as much as I would have liked of course but I’m finding it difficult right now to keep up with things.

rock pool crustacean fishing granville manche normandy franceThat took me nicely up to my afternoon walk, when I braved the hurricane and set off around the headland.

And despite the wind, I wasn’t the only person out there.

We had some more pool-dippers down on the beach looking for crustaceans and the like in the tidal rock-pools. And whatever they find, they share with their friends because, as I have told you … “and on many occasions too” – ed … you mustn’t be selfish with your shellfish.

new stone crazy paving granville manche normandy franceRemember a couple of weeks ago when I showed you a photo of the workmen digging away at the side of the car park at the Pointe du Roc?

It’s quite clear now what they have done, but even though I’m now better-informed, I’m still none-the-wiser because I can’t understand why they have done it.

I suppose that all will be revealed in due course.

With the wind pushing me one step forward and two steps back, I eventually made it back here.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch …
Cold telephone canvasser – “I would like to introduce you to Madame Klara, astrologist …”
Our Hero – “Well she’s not much good, is she?”
CTC – “How do you mean?”
OH – “Well, if she had been any good at foretelling the future, she would have known that I would tell you to !*à# off!”

Once I’d dealt with that, then back on with updating the blog entry.

Not very far though because Rosemary rang up. And we had a good chat for all of, would you believe, one hour and forty minutes. We had a lot to talk about.

Tea was a delicious steamed vegetable mix with vegan sausages and cheese sauce. That really was nice too.

The evening walk was round the walls, but even though it wasn’t too far off high tide, the sea round by the Plat Gousset was in the lee of the old town so that the sea wasn’t all that rough. No waves crashing up over onto the promenade.

But once round by the Place Maurice Marland I got the whole lot again, with rain and plagues of locusts too. If anything, the hurricane is blowing even stronger.

Gribouille had been rather stand-offish this afternoon but this evening Minette was sitting on her windowsill and being quite friendly.

There’s a little bit of a problem too. The dashcam was full so While I was out for a walk I set it to download all of the films onto the storage device. But for some reason or other the dashcam has reset its date so all of the films are out of order.

Not much that I can do about that, but at least I can reset the date. And this proves that the stand-by battery that will power the dashcam when the ignition is switched off works perfectly.

So now I’ll go for an early night again.

And hope that I get up at the right time tomorrow morning.

Monday 15th October 2018 – BACK INTO …

… the routine again. I don’t think!

Certainly the alarms went off – at 06:00, 06:10 and 06:20 as usual. But to say that I was eager to leave the comfort and safety of my stinking pit would be somewhat economical with the truth too.

I’d also been back in the High Arctic again. There were 50 of us leaving the voyage, trying to get into three zodiacs arriving one after the other, each one with a capacity of 12 persons. So that’s going to work, isn’t it? But it seemed that no-one was too eager to go in the first boat, and neither in the last one. So everyone was more interested in clambering into the middle boat. You can see immediately why this might cause a problem.

After breakfast, I did some tidying up so that this place looks more like a home, and then sat down and had a look at last night’s photos.

They have all been edited and reworked as appropriate and uploaded them to yesterday’s journal entry where they can be seen in all their glory.

That took most of the morning, which might come as a surprise to many people, but not when you consider that for some part of the morning I was … errr … away with the fairies.

It was my intention to go and sit on the wall and eat my butties but at that moment it was overcast so I ended up eating in here.

This afternoon I re-reviewed the photos from the Ile de Chausey on Saturday, chose a few as good samples and then started to rewrite the entry and add some photos. I didn’t get anything like as far into this as I was hoping, but you can see where I’m up to right now and this may well yet change.

But once again, I was somewhat overwhelmed. The effects of the last few days have caught up with me yet again.

There was a nice afternoon walk around the headland, and seeing that I’m in a photography mood right now, I took the camera with me.

demolished bunker atlantic wall granville manche normandy franceI’m not sure it I’ve previously taken a photo of the blown-up bunker and so I took one this afternoon.

I’ve told you previously … “at great length” – ed … about the Atlantic Wall that the Germans built here in the early 1940s. And after the war the French set about trying to remove the casemates and bunkers.

But they were built much more substantially than anyone realised, and all that they succeeded in doing was moving half a dozen enormous lumps of concrete a couple of yards away from their original position.

And so they gave up any further attempt and left the rest of the bunkers here.

council workmen car par pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceWhile I was there, I noticed some of the local council workmen carrying out a bit of work on the car park round the corner on the Pointe du Roc, so I went over to have a quick look to see what they were doing.

It seems that they are laying some paving stones as if there’s going to be some hard-standing for some purpose.

I’ll have to have a wander over there in a couple of days time to see how it’s evolving and what the purpose of it all will be.

port de granville harbour manche normandy franceHaving taken my photo I carried on a-wandering around the headland to the little spot where I can overlook the harbour.

The tide is well on its way out of the tidal harbour right now and it was interesting to watch some of the larger ships settle down on the silt as the sea disappears.

The yellow one seems to have settled in the wrong direction so I hope that it won’t flood when the tide comes back in. It should really be careened over onto the landward side

trawler repairs shipyard port de granville harbour manche normandy franceBut my reverie was interrupted by something of a racket coming from the shipyard.

It seems that they are carrying out some kind of major work on a fishing trawler that’s been hauled out of the water onto the top of the quay just there.

I’m not sure if they are in the process of dismantling it or whether they are renovating it. This is another thing to go back and check on in a couple of days’ time.

Tea tonight was steamed vegetables, sausages and vegan cheese sauce, and it was totally delicious too. I really enjoyed it and I shall make some more of that in due course. My frozen sprouts are working well.

vieille ville granville manche normandy franceLater on, I was back out in the evening for my walk around the walls. I took plenty of photos too with the new Nikon lens.

I went through them later and added them to the blog so that you can see them.

And I’m sure that you’ll be as dismayed as I am with the quality of the photos that I took in the Arctic when you see what this new low-light lens can produce under these kind of conditions.

fishing boat lights english channel granville manche normandy franceIn the previous photo you saw the lights of Donville les Bains in the background.

In this photo you can even see that the new lens was even able to pick up the fleet of ships out there to see – presumably a fleet of fishing boats.

The little Nikon J1 would never even have made the attempt, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

I can see that this time next year I shall have to go back to the High Arctic, won’t I?

On my way round, Minette was there waiting for her stroke – and a pick-up – as well. She’s clearly missed me.

So now I’m going to have a reasonably early night. I need to get myself back on track as I have plenty of things to do.

foyer des jeunes travailleurs granville manche normandy france
The Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs

the moon granville manche normandy france
The Moon

breville sur mer st martin de brehal granville manche normandy france
Bréville sur Mer and St Martin de Bréhal.

place d'armes granville manche normandy france
Place d’Armes

plat gousset granville manche normandy france
Plat Gousset

rue general patton granville manche normandy france
rue General Patton

place marechal foch granville manche normandy france
Place Marechal Foch

plat gousset granville manche normandy france
Plat Gousset

rue georges clemenceau granville manche normandy france
Rue Georges Clemenceau

rue paul poirier granville manche normandy france
rue Paul Poirier

place maurice marland granville manche normandy france
Place Maurice Marland

place maurice marland granville manche normandy france
Place Maurice Marland

port de granville harbour manche normandy france
Port de Granville

port de granville harbour manche normandy france
Port de Granville

place maurice marland granville manche normandy france
Place Maurice Marland

rue du Colombier granville manche normandy france
rue du Colombier

rue notre dame granville manche normandy france
rue Notre Dame

place cambernon granville manche normandy france
Place Cambernon

place cambernon granville manche normandy france
rue St Jean

rue St Jean granville manche normandy france
rue St Jean