Category Archives: st pair sur mer

Thursday 16th March 2023 – DO YOU HAVE …

… any idea just how painful it is to have a needle stuck in your central nervous system in your spinal column?

I do!

And you don’t want to know either. Just sit and hope that it’s something that never ever happens to you.

In fact I must have expected something along these lines because I had another miserable night tossing and turning around in bed not being able to go to sleep. And when the alarm went off at 07:00 this morning I was already up and about.

It didn’t take me long to prepare myself and by 07:30 I was on the road to Avranches. It’s a good job that I was early too because in a daze I missed the by-pass around Sartilly and ended up being stuck in the roadworks in the town centre.

There was plenty of space in the car park at the hospital but there’s quite a long way to walk. It’s uphill too and that’s not ideal for someone on crutches to negotiate.

When I went to check in I found that I had forgotten to bring my wallet with my money and my personal papers with me. However, I’d remembered to bring everything else but surprisingly they didn’t ask me to produce any of it – not even the medication that they had told me to buy for the appointment.

After wandering around the hospital for quite some time trying to find my way I ended up in the Day Hospital where they found me a bed. First thing that they did once I was settled down was to send me off for one of these scans in one of these Stargate time-travelling portals.

It was a Siemens machine so I told them that I’d worked in the past for General Electric but they told me that they had tried those but preferred Siemens.

Back in the ward the nerve specialist came to see me to try to tell me what she was going to do but, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I told her that I wasn’t interested in knowing. I just signed the “consent” forms and told them to get on with it.

They put some kind of numbing plaster on my lower back, brought me a coffee and then left me to it for an hour or so while the numbing liquid did its work. And then they came back for the real business.

They drew off a couple of CCs of clear liquid which they said they would send away for an analysis and then communicate with the specialist in Granville whom I saw a few weeks ago. He’ll be in touch with me and let me know how we’ll proceed.

They wouldn’t let me go home straight away but insisted that I stay for a while to recover. They sent a choice of food to me and I settled for bread and lentils.

Surprisingly, I’m sure that what they did has done me some good because I seem to be moving a little easier and I could climb into Caliburn’s cab a little better. I’m sure that I’m not imagining this.

On the way home I called at Brico Cash in St Pair. I went to look at the showers that were on offer and ended up having a lengthy chat with one of the guys in the warehouse who gave me the phone number of someone he knows who installs showers. I also called somewhere else to look at showers and they gave me a helpful lead too that I shall be following up at the weekend.

By the time that I arrived home I was feeling rather feak and weeble so having fallen asleep on my chair in here, I ended up going to bed where I crashed out for three hours in a really deep sleep. At the hospital they warned me about this.

Once I’d awoken I had a listen to the dictaphone to discover the night’s activities. I was arguing with my family and friends last night. I had a record player that I hadn’t seen for ages because I’d lent it to some member of my family. It turned up at this family party. I noticed the number of LPs that it had played because there was a counter on it that had reached over 2000. I was horrified by this because I’d hardly ever used it. Bt it was borrowed out of my apartment not long after it was new. Then it was food time – burger and chips. Someone pushed my plate into my stomach. I ended up with all these boiling hot chips stuck to my clothes. I was busy trying to sort myself out but everyone just carried on eating and totally ignored it. I picked up the plate again and half the salad fell off the burger. I made some kind of remark about how I was pleased to see how interested my family was in looking after me, taking notice of how things were going on here. Again they all totally ignored me. Someone else passed me a burger but it was an ordinary one not a vegan one so I couldn’t eat it. Generally I was in an absolutely foul mood in this party.

And then there was something else to do with groups and music, about recording 2 extra tracks for some reason but I can’t remember very much about this because I was in the middle of starting to dictate it when I had a bad pain in my right knee again that totaly distracted me.

Finally I’d been away somewhere for a while and was slowly heading home. I called in at a library, a big modern building for a look round and browse through their second-hand books. I ended up with 3 or 4 books. I thought “should I stay or should I go” but was wondering about how long the parking ticket would last on the car. I decided to go anyway but I had to be home as they’d asked me to cover to drive the taxis the following day. When I walked out of the library I found that the car park was probably about 20 feet below where I was standing and it would be quite a jump down to road level. I wasn’t sure whether I could manage it but I couldn’t see any steps anywhere to take me down so I wondered how I was going to manage now to reach the car park with all the stuff that I was carrying and no way down this 20-foot drop.

Tea tonight was a vegan burger with pasta, veg and spicy tomato sauce. And that went down quite nicely too. I was good and ready for that. Rather a banal meal but I have tons of burgers to deal with following the spate of recent offers at LeClerc.

Tomorrow I have nothing much to do so I might have a relaxing day. I can’t have a day off on Sunday because there will be some fruit bread to bake and some carrots to peel dice and freeze because I’m running out.

There’s also the annual Home Renovation Fair in Granville at the weekend and I’m intending to visit because I want to see what else I can do about showers. I’m determined to find a few more quotations for the shower because, much as the work done by that company whose representative came to see me yesterday is of excellent quality, their price is way out of my pocket.

Wednesday 1st June 2022 – MY VISIT TO THE …

… sports doctor person was interesting today.

He had a look at my knee with his ultrasound scan thing and then put his thumb right on a certain spot that as soon as he touched it, it hurt like hell. Right on it with no messing around at all.

And then he gave me this injection right in the spot. And that hurt like hell too because the needle wasn’t long enough and he had to press really hard on my leg to make the needle go in deep enough.

He wants me to send him an e-mail to tell him whether there’s an improvement. And I do have to say that there does actually seem to be an improvement already, but how much of this is due to the placebo effect is anyone’s business.

He’ll write out a prescription for me to give to the physiotherapist to recommend some exercises that will build up my knee, and apparently I’m entitled to one session per week of sports training with him. Would I be interested?

He wants to see a resumé of my medical condition from the hospital at Leuven before he can work out a training programme for me. I’ll have to sort something out.

Anyway, once again I fell out of bed when the alarm went off at 07:30. I’m still not exactly bouncing with health these days and I wish that I could do better than this. But after how I was three or four weeks ago then anything is an improvement than that.

After the medication and doing some paperwork I went and had a shower, and I noticed that my weight is slowly – very slowly – going down. I seem to recall when I lost all that weight in 2019 was a combination of having food poisoning and being without my blood transfusion stuff for three months.

Due to problems on the road I was almost late for my appointment. Just as I was driving along the promenade a tractor pulled out of the port de plaisance towing a large boat on a trailer. And so we inched our way all down the coast at a maximum 25 kph until I could find a place to overtake.

After they threw me out at the clinic I drove back to LIDL to do some shopping. I needed some olive oil but I ended up buying everying except olive oil because they didn’t have any.

In fact I’m surprised that they had anything at all because the woman in front of me in the queue spent €256:00 on groceries. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen anyone buy so much stuff in a supermarket.

It was late when I returned from the shops so it was something of a very late breakfast. And then I ended up having a session on the guitar to keep in shape.

Another thing was to have a look at a couple of songs in this playlist that I was sent but I’m not convinced by their accuracy, especially when I saw a mention of a chord of “H minor” in one of them. That’s enough to make anyone smell a rat.

After lunch, rather regrettably, I crashed out for a while. And as I said yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that as well, it’s getting on my nerves and I’m rather fed up of all of this.

hang gliding cemetery Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Later on, I just about managed to awaken myself in time to go for my afternoon walk around the headland.

Yesterday I mentioned the lack of Birdmen of Alcatraz and their Nazguls but I was going to have better luck today by the look of things.

As I watched, a Birdman rose up from the ground and began to hover over the cemetery ready to shoot off down the coast along the top of the cliffs.

And as he began to move away, another one began to unfurl his equipment ready to take to the air. It’s going to be busy out there today.

man on beach reading book rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022so having dealt with that I went over to the wall to have a look down onto the beach.

With it being half-day closing at school today and a nice day I was expecting to see quite a few people out there today enjoying themselves but to my surprise there was just one person down there on the beach by the Rue du Nord.

Interestingly, he was actually sitting there reading a book, very reminiscent of that girl who was sitting on the rocks at the end of the headland the other day.

It’s actually something of which I approve wholeheartedly. In fact it’s been a long time since I sat down with a really good book.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022for the last couple of days we’ve been admiring the views out to sea.

It’s yet another day where the views were excellent. That white building at St Helier was once again quite clearly visible with the naked eye. But I was more interested today with the little islets down at the end of the Ile de Chausey.

A couple of years ago when we were on the Spirit of Conrad we were out there walking on that beach that you can see and it really is beautiful. And much of its beauty is due to the fact that it’s quite inaccessible.

yellow autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While I was walking along the path on top of the cliffs I was overflown.

It’s our old friend the yellow autogyro. It’s been down the coast with a passenger, presumably for a lap or two around Mont St Michel and is now on its way back to the airfield.

We’ve seen it a few times just recently which is something of a surprise because we went for a couple of months through the winter without seeing it at all. It made me wonder where it had been.

And no, I haven’t forgotten …

people in zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022there weren’t all that many people on the path again so I had it pretty much to myself today

At the end of the car park there was nothing happening so I went down to the end of the headland to see what was happening. No-one sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban but if there had been, they would have seen this zodiac in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And I’ve no idea what they were doing in their zodiac. They don’t seem to be fishing and I can’t see anything else to give me a clue. They might just have gone out for a roar around the bay with the afternoon tide.

cabin cruiser chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022From there I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was happening in the port.

And we can all see why work had ground to a halt on L’Ecume II yesterday after the speed at which they had been working. Here she is! Gone! And never called me “mother”!

She’s actually over in the inner harbour even as we speak, ready to go back to Jersey at some point in the proceedings .

All that we are left with at the moment is the impressive-looking and expensive cabin cruiser that we saw in there yesterday.

crane dismantling dredger chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Well, that isn’t exactly all.

On my way out to the sports therapist person this morning I noticed that there was a rather large mobile crane in the chantier naval. It looks as if they are now making a start on dismantling the dredger.

One of these days in the very near future a lorry will turn up and the crane will pick up the bits of dredger and drop them on the trailer.

In fact I’m surprised that she’s still there now. It’s been several weeks since she was lifted out of the water and she’s just been sitting there waiting for things to happen.

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022On my way back towards home, I was overflown yet again.

Actually, I had to wait for quite a while for it to arrive. I could hear its engine from a long way away and I was surprised that it took so long to reach here. It certainly made a racket when it did.

It’s another helicopter, a different one from the last one that we saw, but I do have the feeling that I’ve seen this one before at some point in the past.

And once it had gone by I could hear it rattling its way towards the airfield for quite some time as well. It was definitely one of the noisiest light aircraft that we have seen.

chausiaise scrap metal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022When I went out this morning I noticed that Thora was in port unloading.

She’s gone back out now but has left a pile of scrap metal on the quayside waiting for someone to come and collect it for taking away.

In her place is Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes out to the Ile de Chausey. I’m not sure why because there’s nothing on the quayside that needs to be loaded up onto her.

Back here I made a coffee and then came back in here to listen to the dictaphone. No nightmares involving Zero this time. Instead, I’d done something extremely silly like lending a scrapman some money and I was having a load of difficulty talking to him, never mind getting it back. We had to go back and I had to take someone with me and have one more go at speaking to him. We had to mountaineer up the side of this house to reach somewhere near where his office was. We couldn’t go in it. This was an awful climb up the bricks and the gutters etc. Finally we arrived within shouting distance of where his office was and we shouted without any hope at all. His wife heard us and said “he’ll be here in a minute” which I didn’t expect but it turned out that he was. We had a chat about the money that he owed me and I had a date by which he would pay me back etc. Of course I didn’t expect him to keep to any of this for a minute but it was even something that he had agreed to see me and talk to me about it. I didn’t think that there was any chance whatever that I’d be getting back this money at all.

Tea tonight was a curry made up out of leftover bits and pieces, and it was just as delicious as normal. And having written up my notes I’m off to bed ready for tomorrow.

But would I be interested in a once-weekly sports training session with a sports therapist? Do bears go to the toilets in the woods?

Thursday 12th May 2022 – HAVING HAD A FEW …

… extremely quiet days just recently, that all changed today. I’ve been rushed off my feet and haven’t stopped all day. I haven’t even had any time for tea.

There’s even some stuff on the dictaphone too but I haven’t had time to transcribe it yet.

It all went wrong earlier this morning when for some reason that I didn’t understand, the alarm went off at 06:15. I was actually up and about by the time that I realised and it didn’t take much for me to crawl back into bed.

When the alarm went off again at 07:30 I did manage to leave the bed something-like on time and after I’d had my medication I went to have a shower and clean myself up

Then I nipped out to go and see this sports therapist at Saint-Pair sur Mer.

My appointment was for 09:30 but he was running horribly late and it was gone 10:00 when he finally saw me. He asked me a few questions and poked and prodded me around, and it didn’t take him long to find out where the bone in my kneecap is broken.

There is a series of special injections that he is proposing for me so he gave me a prescription and an appointment to go back on 1st June.

This weekend I have a Welsh weekend school so I called at LIDL on the way home and stocked up with a big pile of stuff to see me through the next 10 days. It cost a fortune too. But I’ll still nip out for a few things late on Saturday that I couldn’t buy at LIDL.

By the time that I returned home it was almost lunchtime, never mind breakfast, but I had one of my fruit buns all the same with some coffee. And I was right. It really was delicious.

After lunch I was back out again. It was the turn of the physiotherapist to have the pleasure of my company.

trawlers fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022First stop though was the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where you can look down upon the fish processing plant.

It’s quite busy down there this afternoon. This is the moment when all the boats are coming in to unload and they are having to fight their way around L’Omerta who is still tied up to the quayside.

It shows you what a busy little port it is, with all of the boats down there and the people on top of the quayside helping to unload the catch into the fish processing plant. There will be cars and vans on the lower level underneath too, there to take away the load from some of the boats.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There was plenty of activity out in the bay too.

And not just trawlers coming into harbour either. One of the yachting schools was out there this afternoon with the pupils having a sail around the bay, with someone in a zodiac shepherding them around. And I haven’t forgotten that one of these days in the near future I’ll be out there with them.

There were plenty of pleasure craft too like the large yacht in the foreground that has just come out of the port de plaisance. And there were a couple of speedboats loitering around out there too.

chaisiase l'ecume 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022That wasn’t all either.

While I was here I had a look over towards the chantier naval to see how they were getting on with L’Ecume II. They are still bashing away at her but as I watched, something else came around the corner into my field of view.

It’s the little freighter Chausiaise, on her way back from, presumably, a run out to the Ile de Chausey with a load of freight. Someone mentioned to me that if she’s out there with no return load, she’ll bring back a pile of shellfish for the fishermen over there.

marite normandy warrior port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022From the corner here I walked on down the hill towards the town.

As I was on my way I noticed in the distance that there was a shrink-wrapped speedboat on the quayside and as I approached I could see that Normandy Warrior was in port.

At least, I think that it’s she, because the bridge is slightly different and her skipper has moored her differently than her sister Normany Trader is usually moored.

There were also crowds queueing up to board Marité too. It looks as if she’s going off out for an afternoon’s sailing around the bay. The first time this year that we will have seen her.

The walk through town was rather agonising today and I don’t know why. I’ve noticed for the last few days that I’ not moving around as well as I have been.

And the physiotherapist put me through my paces todays. This new one works me a lot harder than any of the others whom I’ve had so far. I think that she’s on a “kill or cure” mission.

On the way home I called at the pharmacy for the prescription that the sports doctor gave me. If I pick it up while I remember, it saves all kinds of unfortunate complications for later.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The walk back up the hill was a struggle today. I really am becoming worse and worse these days.

There were several occasions where I was obliged to stop, including at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour. And “Gone! And never called me ‘Mother’!”. Both Marité and Normandy Warrior have cleared off.

But the shrink-wrapped speedboat is still on the quayside. Normandy Warrior hasn’t taken that away this afternoon. And so it looks as if either she or her sister will be back in port quite quickly to do the necessary. They won’t be leaving that on the quayside for too long.

notre dame de cap lihou port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Something else that was wandering around in the harbour was the local lifeboat, Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

Strange as it may seem, they have been using her to tow the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie around the harbour while she’s been doing her dredging. So by the looks of things, she’s just knocked off for the day and it going home to have a rest.

In actual fact, not that I saw it, but apparently she was back out later. The dredging is finished so she towed the dredger over to the chantier naval where the portable boat lift could winch her out of the water.

marite baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022A little further on along the path we finally caught up with Marité again.

It’s a shame that I only had the NIKON 1 J5 with me. That just has the standard lens and so distance photography is pretty useless and I can’t really pick out anything.

But at least, by the looks of things she’s having a good sail around, even if it is with her diesel engines and not with her sails. I don’t suppose that many people still have the skills for this kind of thing.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Instead of going into my building I went for a look out to see what was happening.

What I was hoping to see was Normandy Warrior disappearing off into the sunset but wherever she was, she was well out of range of any equipment that I had with me.

All that there were that I could see were a couple of local inshore boats with a couple of fishermen therein so I had to content myself with them.

In any case, there was quite a haze out at sea and even the Ile de Chausey was difficult to see in these conditions this afternoon.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But it was actually a nice day so it was no surprise to see a few people down there on the beach this afternoon.

They were enjoying themselves, especially the few people who were brave enough to go into the water.

Having photographed them I came in here and had a strawberry smoothie and (regrettably) crashed out completely for a good half hour or so. This physiotherapist works me really hard.

And then I had to get everything together for my Welsh conversation class this evening. That passed quickly and it could have been much, much worse. But I’ve ended up with no tea and I don’t care either because I’m tired and I’m going to bed.

Tomorrow there are no plans but something will come along to disturb me, I’m sure of that.

But anyway, that’s for another time. Let me finally post up the details of my little nocturnal voyages from last night now that i’ve transcribed them We were in Wales, Hans, Jackie, Alison and me. We had to go to somewhere which meant going south on the train and then heading east and then back north again in the direction towards Shrewsbury. That was basically what we did and that was how we set off to do whatever it was that we were supposed to be doing.

And then there was something happening at the bar in the Rue des Juifs as well. We’d all taken musical instruments there and set them up in the alcove as if we were going to have some kind of performance but that was as far as I went with that.

Wednesday 24th June 2020 – I’VE BEEN …

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hall… out and about on my travels this morning.

So while you admire the photos of the baby seagull, which now seems to be very fit and healthy, I can give you the account of my day.

And just for a change, it got off to a very good start, for I was actually up and out of bed before the third alarm – something that doesn’t happen too often these day. Maybe it was the early night that helped there – if you can call 23:45 an early night.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

Last night there was a group of us working on a new history textbook for schools and this involved rewriting quite a bit of stuff that was already in it including a load of songs and so on. So we noticed that these songs to fit into the new way of things and it was quite difficult for everyone to get into the habit of hearing them in the new way and I remember my brother being particularly surprised at some of the changes made to the songs in order to make the songs fit the times more than anything else
There was something else going on during the night and I’ve forgotten a lot of it but I’d been caught doing something and been punished in some way by having to do something, carry out a few tasks and at the end of that time I was given £30:00 in 2x£15:00 vouchers to spend. Whoever I was with – it might have been Nerina – was really upset about that and demanded to talk to me about it. The guy who was watching me, I held up the two vouchers and waved them about to attract his attention and said that I was going into the building. Nerina came with me and I had to find a quiet room to have a discussion. There were about 6 rooms in this building and there wasn’t really one that was suitable – the walls were flimsy and there were people in adjacent rooms. In the end we found a room where the photocopier was and we were about to go into there. And that was when the alarm went off.

And even though it was Nerina who was with me for part of the evening I do have to say that regardless of any of our issues, I would much rather have her company on my nocturnal rambles than many of the others who have been putting in an appearance just recently.

I’m still not eating breakfast so having done a little work, Caliburn and I headed for the hills – Gavray, in fact.

tacot voie metrique gare de gavray manche normandy france eric hallWhen I arrived in the town I took a wrong turning and I’m glad that I did because I found something that I would otherwise have missed – an old disaffected railway station.

There was a “Light Railway Act” in France similar to that in the UK of 1896, and for a period of about 50 years the whole of France became honeycombed with what they called the tacot or “rattletrap” – a narrow-gauge voie metrique railway network.

It’s the kind of system that was highlighted in the Alec Guinness FATHER BROWN series of films in the 1950s of the books by GK Chesterton

tacot voie metrique gare de gavray manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen plenty of examples of this on our travels, especially in the Auvergne where I used to live and also here in Normandy along the coast.

There was also a voie metrique that went across-country from Granville to Conde-sur-Vire, opened in 1910 and closed in 1936 (and we’ve seen lines closed much quicker than that too). That line passed through Gavray and there would almost certainly have been a railway station here.

That has always been one of the things that I’ve been aiming to do – to track it down – and having taken a wrong turning in Gavray when I was looking for something else, I find myself falling right on it, quite by chance.

kayaker english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire the photos of the kayaker and othe rpeople in various water craft out there fishing today, I was busy tracking down the garage that I had come to visit.

Eventually I tracked it down and the guy had a good look at Caliburn. He reckons that it’s perfectly possible to do something with Caliburn. There’s no rot except in one wheel arch – the rest of it is simply rubbing down, rust-proofing, zinc priming and about a ton of underseal.

He’s not going to end up as he did out of the factory 13 years ago, and it’s not cheap either. But with my lifespan that’s left there’s no point in buying a new vehicle just for three or four years.

Caliburn and I may as well go out together.

buoys speedboat fishing english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallSo I headed on back to Granville and I’ll wait for the estimate to arrive. But I’ve decided that i’m going to have it done anyway.

When I reached the outskirts of Granville I took the by-pass and joined the traffic queue heading south towards St Pair sur Mer.

Brico Cash was where I was heading, to see what they had on offer today as I haven’t been there for a while.

And the answer is “not an awful lot”. There wasn’t anything that caught my eye particularly although I picked up some French plugs. A couple of the appliances that I brought from The Auvergne when I was there just now still have British plugs on them.

fishermen zodiac english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallTraffic queues back here as well. I was stuck behind a grockle in a motor home admiring the blasted seagulls instead of advancing in an orderly fashion.

Back here there was still plenty of time before lunch so I had another look at the web pages that I’ve been amending.

That one is now completed and I’ve made a start on the next. I’ve now crossed over the border into Great Satan and I’m on my way to Bar Harbor in Maine.

cranes ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBy now it was lunchtime.

It was beautiful and warm and bright and sunny so I made my sandwiches (home-made bread, home-made hummus and salad) and went and sat outside on the wall again.

Even though the tide was well out and there were no ships or boats in the harbour, there was still quite a bit of activity going on down there today, despite it being the lunch hour.

joly france cranes ferry terminal port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallThere was a mobile crane down there and as I watched, it was joined by another one – the big mobile crane that comes here every so often.

The big crane extended its jib and they were both performing some kind of activity out there. I couldn’t see what it was, so I shall have to go out that way on my Sunday walk to see what has changed.

It can’t be anything too complicated because all the way through the manoeuvre … “PERSONoeuvre” – ed … one of the Joly France boats – the newer one – was moored right there and with the tide being out, it wasn’t moving anywhere else.

Back at the apartment I tackled the last week of my Accountancy course. I’ve finished it, not very successfully I have to say because I can’t remember all that much about what I just learnt.

That’s one of the penalties of old age. Two things happen to you then.
The first is that you forget absolutely everything that you are supposed to remember.
And as for the second thing – well, I’ve forgotten what that was.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual break for my afternoon walk.

Today, in the gorgeous hot sunlight I went for a walk around the walls of the medieval town. From there I could look down on the beach at the Plat Gousset and watch all of the crowds enjoying themselves.

It’s Wednesday afternoon and the brats aren’t in school so the beach was busier than normal, and that’s not a surprise. Given half a chance, I’d be down there myself.

crowds tidal swimming pool plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago we saw the local council clearing out the old tidal swimming pool with a lorry and a digger – clearing out years of accumulated silt.

They’ve done a really good job by the look of it. It’s actually retaining some water and it’s attracted quite a crowd of people, splashing around in there.

And the people in the flourescent jackets – I’m convinced that they are the lifeguards, although how they are expected to swim while wearing those is anyone’s guess.

roofing place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk went on along the walls and around to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

There’s been a roofing job going on on one of the roofs of one of the buildings down there for as long as I can remember, and they still don’t seem to have finished it.

Not long to go by the looks of things, but I recall having said that before. They were doing really well at one point but seem to have gone off the boil just recently.

lorry fork lift truck fishing nets port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I passed through the Place Maurice Marland to check on my seagull chick, and then walked on to the viewpoint over the harbour.

There’s some activity down there right now. A lorry has turned up and there’s a fork-lift truck that looks as if it might be thinking about unloading the lorry. Does this mean that either Thora or Normandy Trader are going to be paying us a visit some time soon?

And we have another group of fishermen over there wrestling with a rather large fishing net

pointing medieval stone wall granville manche normandy france eric hallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing is the works van that appeared on the city walls near where they did all of that repointing.

The pointing on part of it in the Parvis Notre Dame was pretty poor so i speculated that the work might be something to do with that, and it seems that I was perfectly right. There are two men down there cleaning it all up

You can see how much excess cement that one of the guys has scraped off the wall – it’s all lying on the ground behind the car.

Back here I carried on with the course and, shame as it is to say it, crashed out a couple of times too. This is really getting on my nerves.

But I finished the course in the end and there was time to edit a few more photos. Tomorrow I’m going to start the final part of my music course. I want that out of the way too.

After the guitar I made tea. There was some left-over stuffing so I added some kidney beans and tomato sauce and made taco rolls

yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallSomewhat later than usual, iw ent out for my evening run. It was far too warm to go out at the usual time.

All the way up the hill and down to the cliff without stopping, saying hello to the itinerant sheltering under the tree. Out to the sea there was plenty of activity and we have already seen some of the boats. We haven’t seen this yacht though, sailing back from the Ile de chausey into port, towing its dinghy behind it.

It’s making me all broody again and I’m going to have to do something about all of this before too long.

fisherman picnickers pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallJust for a change there was no family group picnicking in the old gun emplacement.

There were however plenty of people down on the viewpoint by the old watchman’s cabin and they were having a good time by the looks of things

Quite a few fishermen too, down there on the rocks casting their lines out into the water. It seems to be becoming quite a regular thing these days.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy run continued on along the path on top of the clifftop on the south side of the headland

No kids jumping off the sea wall tonight, but instead we seem to have had some activity down at the chantier navale. One of the fishing boats that has been there for quite some considerable time seems to have gone back into the water.

There were a few other people down there taking photos of themselves in the evening sunshine. All in all, it was quite busy.

crowds on port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd not just there either.

Way across the port on the sea wall that protects the port de plaisance – the yacht harbour – there were crowds of people milling around tonight. They were certainly making the most of it.

As for me, I cleared off and ran all the way round down the Boulevard Vaufleury and the rest of my vastly elongated route round to the viewpoint in the rue du Nord.

people sitting on rock plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe tide is right in right now so the chances of finding any picnickers on the beach was extremely remote.

However that little shelf that we noticed a few days ago – that seems to be the place to be these days as there are a couple more people making use of it.

And I’m still trying to work out the optical illusion surrounding the guy on the left. It looks thoroughly weird to me.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe people down there were enjoying another magnificent evening.

There were quite a few people up here enjoying it too, and quite rightly so for although it wasn’t as good as last night’s, it was still something special.

having watched it for a while I headed on home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow, it’s shopping day. There’s not much that I need but it’s stuff that I can’t do without so I shall have to go.

And then i’ll make a start on the last week of my music course. I want to get that out of the way before the weekend. It’ll give me a chance to do some other work that’s been sitting on the back burner for the last month or so.

High time I got a move on.

Saturday 7th March 2020 – I’VE BEEN HAVING …

night square maurice marland granville manche normandy france eric hall… a little fun with the little NIKON 1 J5 camera tonight.

Having a wander around in the dark, I tried a few photos on various settings of Exposure Compensation but none of them came out satisfactorily and they ended up in the bin.

But what I tried next, after having had a good wrack of my brains to remember how the manual settings on the camera worked, was to put it onto fully manual and try my luck with that.

And you can see the result. I’ve had much worse photos than this. That f1.8 18.5mm lens is worth its weight in gold and I’ll be getting much more use out of it in the future once I’ve worked out how to bring out the best in it.

This morning, something surprising happened. I awoke in the middle of a panic attack and I’m not sure why. I was confused and completely disorientated and when the first alarm went off at 06:00 I was totally convinced for some reason that it was the third alarm and that I’d definitely heard the other two.

All of that made me extremely interested to see what was on the dictaphone after the medication, but to my surprise there was nothing at all. So what was going on there, I had no idea.

After breakfast I broke up a couple of digital sound files, one of which was a total mess, then had a shower and hit the streets.

First stop was NOZ and there was nothing there of any great significance except some more of that fruit-flavoured alcohol-free beer that they had a while ago.

There was also some honey on special offer and I’m using quite a bit of that these days in my syrups so I bought a jar of that.

LeClerc was next. Not much there either although I did buy a roll of transparent adhesive film that I need for a project or two.

From there I headed to St Pair sur Mer and Brico Cash. I wanted to have a look in there before I decided whether I ought to go to IKEA. And it was something of a disappointment as they didn’t have what I need at a price that I want to pay.

While I was out that way I went to look in the huge Casino supermarket. And I found another pie dish just the right size, and with a large-ish lip. It’s not very good but it was only €2:80 and it means that I can now cook two pies at once as this one will fit on the oven rack with the other one.

Back at the apartment I had a coffee and then split up a couple more digital sound files, including repairing a couple of the very first ones that I ever split all those years ago. It certainly helps these days now that I know what I’m doing.

After lunch – the last of that delicious potato, leek and mushroom soup, I did some tidying up. I had LPs and cassettes all over the place but now they are tidied up and the LPs are even in correct alphabetical order. And it’s been a good few years since that happened.

Unfortunately I crashed out later on. A proper, deep crash-out curled up on the chair. Well away I was, and I remember thinking to myself that this wasn’t doing me any good at all and that I ought to pull myself together.

yacht english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd so, eventually, I did. I went out for my afternoon walk.

In order to make up my 100% for the day I had to go on a mega-ramble for miles, so the first part of that was to head off around the headland with the crowds. Plenty of activity out there at sea today, like this yacht.

This was just one of about for or five that were in my view at this time in between here and the Ile de Chausey.

canoeing kayak baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallDown the steep steps and around the headland, dodging the massing crowds as I did so. It seemed as if all of the town was out there this afternoon.

And there was yet more activity in the Baie de Mont St Michel. Plenty of yachts of course, but also a couple of intrepid kayakers were taking to the water. I’ve no idea to where they might be going.

One thing is certain though, and that is that you must never light a fire in a canoe. After all, you can’t have your kayak and heat it, as you well know.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere may well have been crowds out there on the headland and also out at sea, but that’s in vast contrast to what’s happening at the chantier navale.

We’ve seen four ships in there, three ships, two ships and, very recently, only one ship. But today, there are no ships at all down there. I’m hoping that this is only temporary because a thriving ship-repair yard is an essential for a maritime town like this.

Something will probably unfold over the course of the next few days so I’ll be keeping an eye open to see what goes on. We could do with something big and exciting down there.

new pontoon support pillars port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw them installing a couple of pontoons up against the pillars that they had pounded into the bed her ein the floating harbour.

That had inspired me to go to have a look down there to see what they had done and, seeing that the harbour gates were open so that I couldn’t go over to the other side of the harbour, I walked down the rue du Port to have a look.

And sure enough, they will be installing pontoons out into the basin, and that’s surely going to upset a few people who use the facilities.

And while you can’t see them, there are more of those pillars lying over on the other side of the harbour. I wonder where they are going to fit those.

light aeroplane ulm granville manche normandy france eric hallMy reverie was interrupted by some kind of noise in the sky.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there are a couple of people here who keep on getting out their choppers so I imagined that it might be one of those, but actually it’s some kind of weird microlight aeroplane.

Microlights, or ULMs as they are called here, are very popular in France. There a re a lot of them about and we’ve seen all kinds of weird designs in the past.

drainage gulley rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will also recall my rather catty remarks about the concreting that’s been going on on the new car park that they are modernising in the rue du Port.

With no-one about to control access, I could sneak onto the site today for a crafty peek and it does indeed seem to be some kind of gully that they are installing.

And the drains are definitely there to take away the excess water. I imagine though that hey will be raised to na appropriate height when they start to install the surface covering layer.

and I do hope that they include some greenery.

fete foraine funfair parking herel granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will also recall that although the fete foraine has cleared off, they have left the candy floss and toffee apple stall behind, and it was doing a roaring trade this afternoon.

But on my way out this morning I had noticed a couple of other things that had yet to leave. So i went for an investigation and sure enough, there’s one of the kiddies’ attractions still here.

Much to the delight of a great many young kids who were taking full advantage of the roundabout here on the Parking Hérel.

After about an hour I came back home and started work on the photos. That’s another pile from Iceland in July 2019 that are edited and will soon be ready for the road.

But I did have 45 minutes where I had a good play with the 5-string bass and the 6-string electric guitar. It’s been years since I’ve had a good go, what with one thing or another. And it was good to be back in harness again.

Tea was a curry out of the freezer – one dated October 2018. And just as delicious as the day it was made. Apple crumble and Soya dessert stuff for pudding too, and there’s enough apple crumble for tomorrow too, just about.

But when I’m cooking my pizza I’ll be making an apple pie. I did buy some more cooking apples especially for this.

night college malraux place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallSo I went out for my evenign walk – and run this evening.

And as I said, I was experimenting with different Exposure Compensation settings on the little NIKON 1 J5 and this photo of the Place d’Armes and the College Malraux was taken with 8 stops down

While the big Nikons actually adjust the image in the viewfinder, the little Nikon doesn’t and you don’t know what you have until after you’ve taken the pic by which time it’s too late.

For this one, maybe 8 stops is a little too much.

night plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallDown on the footpath underneath the city walls my running track was relatively dry and sheltered so I managed a really good run this evening that brought me round to the outlook over the Plat Gousset.

By now, I’m on the manual settings on the camera and there are plenty of lights illuminating everything. This time I tried four stops down and although it’s better, it could have been better still.

There was plenty of leeway to make a few more adjustments to give the image an even better quality.

night mere poulain place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were one or two people loitering around in the place Maurice Marland where I do my second run, but I totally ignored them and carried on regardless, stopping at the end to take the photo that you saw earlier.

But by now I was getting the hang of this camera, but there was still plenty of room to improve.

This photo of the posh creperie in the old medieval walled town could have been much better too. But at least I know where I’m going wrong and I can do something about it.

night place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallThis one of the place Cambernon is better still.

But still not good enough. 1/500th of a second at ISO6400 is rather needless. 1/125 at ISO1600 would have given a much nicer photo than that.

What I’ll do tomorrow is to give it a try on some kind of better setting and see if it makes any kind of improvement.

Back here now and a leisurely evening. But I’m off to bed now for my Sunday lie-in.

And after everything that I’ve done this last couple of weeks, I think that I deserve it too.

Sunday 7th April 2019 – TODAY I HAVE BEEN …

bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc granville manche normandy france… to the bunker.

And for those of you who don’t remember Lenny Henry, David Copperfield and Tracey Ullman, let me explain.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that just down the road from me a mere cockstride away is a huge set of defences that formed part of the Atlantic Wall. They tried to blow them up after the war but with all the dynamite that they used, they just shifted a few lumps of concrete a couple of feet, so they bricked them up and left them.

When I drove past this afternoon, there were a couple of cars and a few people hanging around outside the big one.

With having had a coffee at the football last night, I didn’t get off to sleep anything like as early as I would have liked. I was tossing and turning for what seems like hours.

But I must have gone off at some point because I had a few really interesting voyage or two during the night. Last night I was staying again in the Auvergne in a hotel which was a hotel at the time. There were events and so on taking place in this hotel but the owners announced that they were closing it, so it closed down. I was looking at it and having a look around it wondering how I could make it pay, thinking about having events there but one problem about that was getting people to come there because they would have to travel, and that wouldn’t do that kind of thing in the Auvergne because they would have to go miles. I ended up taking a pile of bottles down and stacking them in some place – I don’t know if I was moving out or whatever so I had to take these bottles out. Some of them were full. I had four milk bottles and another bottle and I was taking them to the bottle bank. This wasn’t in the centre – it was a good walk out of town where I was. So I took these bottles and ended up seeing this farmer, outside his field on the verge on this corner which was covered really thickly in what looked liked cabbages. I walked right over and on them to get to this bottle bank. He came out of his field and he must have recognised me. “Where are you staying now? Marianne’s? Because I have some onions for you”. I replied that I was staying down there permanently now but I don’t know where I’ll be except for the period from the end of June for about three months or so. So he said that he would be in touch with me.
A little later on I was out walking along this track at the side of a road following the traces of a canal. I was taking photos with the Nikon 1. I came to a place where there was a huge waterfall which was actually the water coming down the canal overflow through a sluice. I went to take a photo of it but I didn’t have the camera with me. I thought “God, where have I left this?”. I started to walk back to the last place where I had used it. I came across an elderly woman with a couple of young boys. She had the same camera around her shoulder. So I asked her “you haven’t found my Nikon, have you?”. She said no, that this one was hers. I could see that because it had one or two attachments that mine didn’t have. I told her that I must have put mine down somewhere and left it. So I walked back and they made a couple of comments about me being English. I replied that I wasn’t English really. They followed me and when I reached this place where I had been before and saw this cascade I started to hunt around but couldn’t find it anywhere. They all helped me look. All of a sudden I had to touch my shoulder and I found the camera strap. I’d had it around my shoulder all the time and I don’t know how I hadn’t noticed it. It was probably just a little moment of panic that I had had while I was looking at this sluice

No alarm as I said, so a very pleasant awakening at … errr … 09:25, and it’s been a really long time since I’ve been so lucky as to have had a decent morning like that.

With a late start, it was a late breakfast and then, imitating my namesake the mathematician, I did three fifths of five eights of … errr … nothing.

In fact I was so busy doing nothing that I didn’t have time for lunch. I made my butties and a flask of coffee and headed out for St Pair.

football us st pairaise es haylande stade croissant st pair sur mer manche normandy france At the Stade Croissant while I was eating my sandwiches and drinking my coffee, US St Pairaise were playing the Entente Sportive d’Haylande from La Haye-Pesnil.

Despite it being a District League Second Division match it was really exciting and just for a change at this level, we had a very even aerial contest with two teams who were both excellent in the air.

And Haylande had a guy playing right-back who looked almost as old as me, with a head of whitish greying hair, but he’d clearly been around the block several times and St Pair’s left winger had no change out of him at all.

The score ended 3-1 for ES Haylande, which was rather unfair on St Pair. But the big difference was that Haylande made the most of their chances and St Pair didn’t. They even had a penalty saved by the Haylande keeper.

But at long last – two teams who knew how to play in the air. Back to the 1970s certainly, but it was very interesting to watch. And the referees’ assessor, with whom I was sitting in the stand, enjoyed it as much as I did.

inside bunker work area atlantic wall pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceOn my way back home from the football the people at the bunker were still there when I came back so I went to see what was going on.

As I have said before, if you want to know the answer to a question, you need to ask the question.

I’ve mentioned before that there is some talk of opening them up to make a museum and what they were doing today is some kind of inspection after a preliminary clean-up a few days ago.

entrance steps inside bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceMe being me, I managed to blag my way in for a visit.

We couldn’t go in by the steps (of which there were two separate entrances down) because they have long been walled up, but there is another way in through a reinforced steel armour-plated blast door.

And so once inside, our little private tour commences.

gas tight door inside bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceOne of the things that caught my eye once inside was the door into the crew quarters.

As well as being a reinforced armour-plated blast door, it also appears to be a gas-tight door too. You can see the rubber seal around the door if you look closely.

And there were the remains of the rusty, corroded air treatment pipework in the room too.

machine gun trap inside bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceBut this was what I found to be quite interesting.

From the crew room there was a reinforced metal aperture overlooking the main corridor. The guy who was taking me around speculated that it was an aperture for a machine gun so that if the enemy managed to enter the bunker the defenders could seal themselves in and fight back.

That seems to be a logical idea, although the attackers once inside could simply roll hand grenades down the air tubes.

athletics track gymnase jean galfione granville manche normandy franceAfter my tour around the bunker, I walked back home. But on the way back I had an opportunity to look over the hedge at the athletics track.

This is now part of the Gymnase Jean Galfione, named for the local Olympic gold medal in the pole vault, but I reckon that it was all part of the barracks when the army was stationed here.

In principle they could put a football pitch in the centre, but the fierce winds that we have here would make any match here unplayable.

Back here, I make tea. One of the best pizzas that I have ever made, followed by strawberries (I bought a punnet yesterday) and coconut-flavoured soya cream.

trawler night baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceNot much happening tonight around the headland when I went for a walk.

There were just a couple of few people standing around on the headland at the Pointe du Roc watching a trawler setting out to sea.

Nothing exciting at all so I came back to do my notes.

Now I’m ready to bed and I need a decent sleep because I have a lot to do tomorrow. Time is running out for some things that I need to do.

Sunday 24th March 2019 – THIS AFTERNOON’S …

football us st pairaise us quentin le homme stade croissant st pair granville manche normandy france… football match was much more interesting.

US St Pairaise were playing US St Quentin le Homme and as it was such a nice afternoon – rather clod and windy but sunny nevertheless, I decided to go out.

The match was quite even in some respects. Although St Pair was technically the better side, the players of St Quentin were more physical and direct in their approach.

The score finished 3-1 to US St Pairaise and St Quentin can count themselves very unlucky. But for two moments of magic for St Pair and a perfectly good (to me, anyway) goal for St Quentin disallowed for offside, and the match could have given us a totally different story.

Last night was a relatively early night (for me, anyway) and although I awoke a few times during the night, I managed to stay relatively comatose until about 08:15. It was something like 09:05 when I finally left the bed.

This morning, I was resurrecting the dictaphone, seeing that I hadn’t used it since my trip to the Arctic. I found a folder in there that I hadn’t accessed for quite some time, and there were about 30 or 40 files in there from earlier in 2018 about which I had completely forgotten.

And so I’ve copied those onto the computer and I’ve started to transcribe them. It’s amazing what I have forgotten and all of this has reminded me. But it’s just one more task to add to the long list that’s building up.

We had the football of course this afternoon, and then back here I made a pizza for tea as well as a rice pudding. That’s for the next couple of days because tonight there was the last of the slices of chocolate cake.

And tonight I was the only one out there walking around the headland in the wind.

Tonight I’m having an early night. There’s a lot to do as of tomorrow and I need to be on form.

Sunday 2nd December 2018 – IT’S SUNDAY TODAY …

… and that generally means no alarm call and a lie-in. And so I was in no mind whatever to get up when I awoke at … errr … 04:35.

But there was a good reason for waking up at that time of morning. I was off on another one of my nocturnal rambles. And I’ve had some dreadful nocturnal rambles during my time, some of which, with very good reason, are not the kind that I would recount because you are probably eating your tea or something while you are looking at this. But last night’s was one of the most dreadful that I have had and it was difficult for me to write in my diary. It wasn’t the kind of thing that I would be pleased to remember.

So 07:45 was a slightly better time to awaken, and 08:30 was an even better time to leave the comfort and safety of my stinking pit.

With a late breakfast, sightly delayed because I made a mess of my morning sudoku and ended up with two eights on the same line. Can’t go round doing things like this.

Once I’d sorted myself out, I didn’t do much at all this morning. Just doing things that I like to do. After all, Sunday is the day that I can laze around and do nothing without any thought of disappointment. Everyone needs a day like this.

football us st pairaise st pair manche normandy franceAfter lunch, I headed off into the rain in the direction of St Pair where the US St Pairaise were playing US Mortainaise at the Stade Croissant.

St Pair would be higher in the table if they could score more goals, and Mortain just simply can’t defend. So I’m not sure of what game I was going to get.

It was obvious from the first 20 minutes that St Pair were much the better side, but it’s true that they didn’t offer anything up front. Mortain, were at least, organised but well off the pace.

Eventually, St Pair scored a goal after much huffing and puffing, but much to everyone’s surprise Mortain equalised, with only their second attempt in the whole of the half.

In the second half we had a couple of changes. One of Mortain’s players had turned up late and judging by how he was greeted, he was obviously the star of the team. He came on and went up front in place of the n°9.

And St Pair brought on the n°14 – the guy with all the hair who impressed me so much the other week.

This was the crucial point in the match. The Mortain replacement, well, he might have touched the ball two or three times during the second half, but for most of the game he was merely an ornament on the field.

As for the St Pair n°14, they played him at first on the right wing, but when they moved him into the centre of the attack he ignited the game.

What didn’t help was that the Mortain n°8 – the only player on the Mortain team who was showing any real ambition, was the victim of a very heavy challenge and was forced out of the game. And that was that for Mortain.

Mortain tired rapidly in the last 20 minutes and folded up. The St Pair players were stampeding in droves through a non-existent Mortain defence, stranded out of breath halfway up the field. And the final score of 5-1 was rather exaggerated.

It could have been much worse too. St Pair were denied what I considered to be a stonewall penalty, we had a beautiful step-over from the n°14 that sold a dummy not only to the whole Mortain defence but unfortunately to his onw team as well, and a keeper in the Mortain goal who was clearly not a keeper (his first instinct was feet, not hands) and who couldn’t catch a ball, but could dive and punch with a great amount of bravery and would have done credit to any other keeper at this level.

Back here I was shelling walnuts.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I liberated a pile from Liz and Terry’s lawn a few weeks ago and they have been drying in the sun. This evening I shelled them all and grilled them while I was making my pizza. They’ll be ground up and made into nutburgers in early course.

The pizza was delicious, and so was the rice pudding that I made yesterday.

night cancale st malo granville manche normandy franceAnd my walk in the wind and rain was very nice.

The air was quite clear and visibility was beautiful. The street lights reflecting off the clouds over St Malo were definitely impressive tonight.

Cancale is to the left and the lights of the lighthouse on the immediate left margin of the photo.

It’s Monday tomorrow so I’m back at work. That’s a cue for an early night tonight. And where will I go while I’m asleep?

Sunday 4th November – SO THERE I WAS …

… standing in the foyer of this really impressive hotel. Big and magnificent, with as many luxury floors below ground as above. And how I was looking forward to the guided tour that I had been promised. And just as the guide appeared to see me and head my way, the blasted alarm went off and awoke me.

I’d forgotten that last Sunday I’d had the alarm working. So serve me right.

Anyway, no chance of me leaving my stinking pit at 06:00. I turned over and went back to sleep. 09:15 is much more like it for waking up.

And 09:50 is even better for leaving the bed of course, and 10:30 is much more like a decent time for a Sunday breakfast.

The temperature outside was 8°C and in here it was 10°C. A signal to put on the central heating. Can’t leave it too long without heating and then freeze to death.

With being up-to-date with the important stuff (but still plenty of less-important stuff to do) I had a whack at the trip to the High Arctic and did another 2000 words.

But the funny thing is that I don’t appear to be much further forward either. I don’t know where it all goes, this stuff that I write.

And talking of writing, I find that I’ve overlooked a couple of e-mails that I received while I was away with the fairies. I replied to one of them, and have another two to do tomorrow. As well as replying to a letter that I have forgotten.

I had a late lunch and then went out. Union Sportive des Mouettes de Donville were playing AS Gavray and as it was a beautiful afternoon, a spell at a football pitch right by the sea sounded ideal.

But when I got there, the cupboard was bare. No idea what had happened there.

But US St Pairaise were playing at home against EC Tessy Moyon Sports so I thrashed around the ring road to the Stade Croissant.

stade croissant US St Pairaise EC Tessy Moyon Sports football manche normandy franceI was somewhat late arriving of course, about 7 minutes after kick-off. But according to some of the locals I hadn’t missed anything exciting.

So I settled down in the grandstand with a coffee out of the flask (because there’s no pie hut at Donville) and watched the game.

St Pair is the team in orange and black, and Tessy Moyon in the yellow and red.

stade croissant US St Pairaise EC Tessy Moyon Sports football manche normandy franceUS St Pairaise are second in the table and Tessy-Moyon are adrift at the foot, so I was expecting something of a comfortable passage for the home side.

But that wasn’t how it was turning out for the first thirty minutes. It’s true to say that St Pairaise were the better-disciplined and organised side, but Tessy-Moyon were in there slugging it out and defending quite well.

It looked as it St Pairaise was going to make hard work of it.

stade croissant US St Pairaise EC Tessy Moyon Sports football manche normandy franceIn fact, there was some very good and thoughtful football played out there.

It didn’t come off as often as the players would have liked, which isn’t really a surprise at this level of football, but it was impressive to see the players trying.

And it didn’t ‘arf look impressive when it worked out.

stade croissant US St Pairaise EC Tessy Moyon Sports football manche normandy franceWhat changed things was a substitution that the St Pairaise trainer made after about 30 minutes.

He brought on a new attacker – the n°12 – and he immediately ignited the game.

And scored with probably his first real kick – a delightful scissor-kick volley from a corner, right into the top corner of the net.

I bet that he wouldn’t ever do that again in a million years.

stade croissant US St Pairaise EC Tessy Moyon Sports football manche normandy franceAnd so we continued in the same vein for the second half.

An evenly-matched contest between the two teams with US St Pairaise having marginally the better of the game, but then the n°12 suddenly getting to grips with the game again.

And things then moved up a gear.

stade croissant US St Pairaise EC Tessy Moyon Sports football manche normandy franceSure enough, with about 10 minutes to go, US St Pairaise scored a second goal.

A good header from a cross – the keeper really had no chance with that.

And EC Tessy-Moyon can feel aggrieved with the result. They weren’t maybe as good as Us St Pairaise, but St Pairaise weren’t two goals better. It’s hard to see, on this performance, how it is that EC Tessy Moyon are adrift in the basement.

And interesting as it might seem, not a single yellow card today, never mind any red one. That’s something to celebrate.

On the way back, I had a real surprise in Granville. A 1960s Van Hool-bodied coach came driving round the town. Immaculate condition, clearly recently restored and very impressive.

When I finally returned to my apartment (which wasn’t easy seeing as I was stuck behind yet another grockle admiring the seagulls) I went off to see if I could find it.

humorous sign square de l'arsenal granville manche normandy franceNo such luck though. It wasn’t on the coach park down the road, which was the obvious place to look.

But what I did see was a classic example of what can happen when you put some street furniture in the wrong place.

So “Bottoms Up” to the Town Council of Granville, hey?

gymnase jean galfione granville manche normandy franceOn the way round, it did occur to me that I have never yet taken a photo of the sports ground just down the road here.

This is the Gymnase Jean Galfione, whoever he was when he was at home, if he ever had been … “he won the Olympic Gold in the pole vault for France in 1996” – ed.

There’s a running track there and a sports field, used by the school.

If the coach wasn’t on the coach park, it might well have been on the mobile home park, so I went for a look around there.

caravanette laika mobile home granville manche normandy franceIt wasn’t there either, but this interesting vehicle caught my eye.

With Polish plates it was bound to be different, and indeed it is. A “Laika” caravanette, named for the Russian dog that was the first living creature to orbit the earth in a spacecraft – 61 years ago to the day as it happens.

I’ve never seen one of these previously

place d'armes eglise notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy franceSo being totally unsuccessful, I headed back for home.

And the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou looking so interesting, I took a photo of that too. I’ve not taken a photo of it from this angle before.

Back here, Lili brought me back my dish from yesterday evening, and then I did the photographs from today.

Tea tonight was a vegan pizza, and very nice it was too. They are improving, although the oven still isn’t hot enough.

But now I’ve left it rather late for bed. I could have done with an early night for a change and I bet that I’ll regret this in the morning.

Sunday 7th October 2018 – I’VE BEEN LUCKY …

US St Pairiase ET.S. Du Terregate Et Du Beuvron football stade croissant st pair sur mer manche normandy france… again today with the football.

This afternoon I went to the Stade Croissant at St Pair to watch US St Pairiase play ET.S. Du Terregate Et Du Beuvron in the Manche District League division 2. Cold and windy, but at least it was dry. But there’s a covered stand at the Croissant just in case and it’s as well to be insured.

Despite the poor conditions, this was yet another exciting match. A bit short on skill but plenty of effort and the game rolled from end to end.

The attacks and midfields were about even, but while Terregate’s defence was far better, the St Pairiaise goalkeeper was in inspired form and on one occasion made a superb triple-save from the Terregate attack.

But despite the really good Terregate defending, there was just one occasion when the St Pairaise attack got through and they made it count.

Later on in the final 30 minute the temperature of the match escalated and we had some thumping challenges and a few heated arguments. One St Päiraise defender was dismissed for a late challenge, a decision that I considered to be rather harsh but they still managed to hang on to their lead.

All in all, I’ve had a really exciting weekend at the football.

And on the subject of exciting times, last night wasn’t as good as the previous night or two, which was rather a disappointment. In bed quite late, but awake at 08:00. We aren’t having that – at least on a Sunday, so I turned over and went back to sleep. 09:00 wasn’t much better but that was about me finished for the night so at about 09:45 I arose from the dead.

Despite the brevity of the night’s repose, I’d been on my travels. Back to the High Arctic yet again (this really IS preying on my mind, isn’t it?) and the Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour. We were all on there, saying our goodbyes to each other and slowly dispersing, until in the end I was hovering over the stern of the ship about 50 feet up in the air looking at the last person remaining there. I couldn’t see whether it was or not she who has become famous as The Vanilla Queen, because she kept her head bowed. But the interesting thing about this is not the fact that it might have been The Vanilla Queen, but the fact that even though I was well away in the Arms of Morpheus, the fact that it might have been her was of interest to me.
So tell me why, nocturnal Vanilla Queen
You haunt me, even in my dreams

I’m clearly feeling the strain, aren’t I?
And later, I was away again. In a big Ford SUV type of vehicle, all black except for gold doors, exactly the type of vehicle and the colour scheme that several police forces in North America use. However, although it was me driving it, I wasn’t in it (if that makes sense), my spiritual sense was in another vehicle with my brother (don’t ask me why because I don’t know either) and Darren, Rachel’s husband. They were driving through this North American city that bore more than just a passing resemblance to the Rue de la Loi in Brussels outside the Justus Lipsius building, and I was driving aroud there in the police vehicle. They had tried … well, not to escape, but to plan their route so that it didn’t cross mine, but I managed to intercept them and when they finally saw me from their side window, they did pull up to find out what was going on. I pulled up on the other side of a crossroads, to walk back I suppose, but I didn’t even manage to leave the car before I was wide awake and it had all disappeared.

Having a few things to do today, it was rather late when I sat down to breakfast. And afterwards I had a couple of hours on the laptop sorting out a pile of e-mails from many years ago, looking for e phone number that I was sure that I had been given at one time. It took a while but eventually I came across it.

And then I sorted through a pile of photos that had been accumulating over the past couple of years. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have started this project on several occasions and run aground each time. But I have to press on.

It’s Sunday, so tea was a vegan pizza.

night port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd then I went for a walk around the headland. It’s good to get back into my old habits. Including, I’m sorry to say, a little departure away with the fairies after the football.

There wasn’t anyone else around this evening so I was all on my own.

And so I spent a lot of time overlooking the harbour to see what was going on.

night port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe answer is “not very much”. The tide isn’t in far enough for the fishing boats.

There’s one of the Ile de Chausey ferries over there on the right, tied up to the illuminated landing stage.

That’s really all there was of note, so after taking a couple of photos I turned round and headed off back home.

It’s Monday tomorrow so back at work and back with an alarm again. So I’m going to have an early night.

Tomorrow I’ll be tidying up because I have heard that on Tuesday I might be having visitors.

Saturday 4th August 2018 – SO HAVING HAD …

… a miserable night’s sleep (which seems to be par for the course these days) tossing and turning for much of it on the sofa, I was up and about without too much effort.

It wasn’t the first time either, having had to leave my stinking pit once during the night.

But I prepared breakfast, and a little later, Alison came to join me and we had a nice cosy chat together.

Alison wanted to know what time we would be leaving, so I replied nonchalantly “about 45 minutes”.
“Gosh! I’d better get a move on!”

I’d forgotten about women, of course. For me, “getting ready” to go out involves putting my shoes on and that’s that. For women though, it’s a full military operation involving all kinds of things and can take anything up to a couple of hours.

While Alison was preparing herself I had a shower, prepared a flask of cold stuff and finally we made some sandwiches.

baie de mont st michel genets manche normandy franceIn the glorious, wonderful but very hazy early morning sunshine and heat, Caliburn took us along the coast road.

Through St Pair, Jullouville, Carolles and Genets, and all points south.

We stopped to take photographs along the way. After all, this is a part of the world that Alison has never visited before, and having left home rather smartish, we weren’t particularly stuck for time.

The motorway westwards was very busy and there were signs for “traffic jams ahead” – not surprising with it being the first Saturday in August, busiest day of the year on the roads.

But we weren’t long on the motorway turning off to head towards our destination for today, Mont St Michel.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceAlison has never been here before, and it’s been almost 30 years since the last time that I was here.

And haven’t there been some changes in that time?

When I was here before, you used to just drive down to the water’s edge, park your car on the marshes making sure that you were above the tide line, and then walk across the causeway.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceBut not today, though.

There’s a huge parking complex (that costs an arm and a leg of course) a couple of miles away from the Mont, and a series of weird shuttle buses that operate a free service to the island.

There was quite a queue waiting for the buses and we had this horrible feeling that we were going to be there for hours, but these buses are really high-capacity.

The packers (you can’t really call them anything else) pack the buses like the Black Hole Of Calcutta and so within less than 10 minutes we had been whizzed on our way.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceWhile you admire the entrance to the complex, I can set the scene by telling you about the visit to the Gentleman’s rest room.

This will give you some idea about what to expect (if you haven’t already guessed from the parking) when I tell you that a visit to the Gentleman’s rest room costs you €0:80.

Yes, over here on the island they have got you by the shorthorns.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceAnd if that hasn’t convinced you, then the fact that the first restaurant that we came across was offering a bowl of vegetable soup for €18:00 and an omelette at €28:00 should do the trick.

But then, that’s how I remember it, and as other people have said so too.

Not for nothing did we prepare butties and a flask of cold drink before we set off.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceThe history of the place is quite interesting.

It’s always been a place of worship for as long as worship has known to be important.

There was quite some considerable evidence of megalithic tombs on the island where it is believed that the worship of some kind of pagan cult took place;

But Christianity arrived in 709 when a chapel in honour of the Archangel Saint Michael was erected here.

It subsequently became a centre for pilgrimages and it still continues in this role today. In fact, we encountered a group of pilgrims who had come on foot across the sands from Genets.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceIn 966 a Benedictine abbey was erected here, and the Dukes of Normandy became important benefactors. They gave a great deal of land to the abbey.

One of the reasons that the Ile de Chausey remains French today and didn’t become English as did the rest of the Channel Islands was that William the Conqueror gave the archipelago to the Abbey before he became King of England in 1066.

Mont St Michel has regularly changed hands between the Dukes of Normandy and the Dukes of Brittany. It’s currently in Normandy and was so during much of the 100 Years War.

porte bretonne baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceBut there’s an interesting little story about the island during that period.

This gateway here to the west overlooks the Breton coast. Normandy was to the south and east.

The English laid siege to the island during the Hundred Years War and hoped to starve it out. But as the tide went out, the island became accessible from the Breton side before the Normandy side.

Consequently the Bretons could nip over to the island with a load of victuals to resupply the island before the tide became low enough for the English army to cross the sands to stop them.

As a result, the island held out for so long that the English lost interest and eventually abandoned the siege.

medieval inclined plane baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceThere are a variety of ways to reach the Abbey.

The first, and probably the most interesting, way would be to be winched up by the medieval inclined ramp.

You can see the sone trackway here and right at the top are the remains of the wooden sledge to which they would attach the goods.

It would then be winched up from above until it reached the opening in the Abbey walls.

Today, there’s an electric winch and steel basket for supplying the abbey, but that doesn’t look half as exciting as the old system.

The more popular way is to climb up the steep street and then all of the stairs, following all of the visitors who take that way to the top.

But we stopped for a breather inside the church that’s half-way up, and noticed a back door out.

So we went that way and found ourselves going up a nice spiral, circular route that wasn’t anything like as steep, and with plenty of shady places to rest.

But at the Abbey, the €10:00 admission charge put me off. I would have liked to have gone in and seen the interior, especially the tombs of the Dukes of Normandy, but not at that price.

It’s good value if you are healthy though, because the admission allows you to climb right to the top of the tower where the views are stunning (or, at least, they would be if there wasn’t so much haze).

avranches baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceNevertheless, the views weren’t all that bad from where we were standing.

There was certainly a good view of Avranches from where we were standing. And with a little bit of digital enhancement you can see the town quite clearly away in the distance.

Hard to think that it’s probably 10 or 12 miles away across the bay from where we are. Such are the benefits of having some decent equipment.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceAlison didn’t feel like the climb either so instead we descended and went for a walk around the walls.

It’s a walled city and as far as I could tell the walls are 100% intact, as you might expect. It’s not possible to go out to the north of the island without passing through the Abbey.

The whole lot is in a remarkable state of preservation, which is hardly a surprise when you consider that this was one of the very first places to be listed when they started the Register of Historic Places in France

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceThere’s another island a little farther out and I don’t remember seeing that from previous visits.

It looks quite inaccessible but when I blew up my photo (you can still do that kind of thing despite modern anti-terrorist legislation) I could see buildings – possibly World War II blockhouses – out there.

There were also people walking around out there, obviously taking advantage of the low tide.

high tide baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceAnd low tide it certainly was.

The tidal coefficient – the gap of the water level between high tide and low tide – was just 59 today. This meant that we weren’t going to be cut off.

The tidal coefficient can be as high as 120 and then the island is isolated from the mainland for a couple of hours. But the next one of these isn’t going to happen for quite a while, unfortunately.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceWe stopped on the way round where Alison took out a second mortgage on her house in order that we could have a coffee in one of the cafés here;

And on continuing our walk around the walls some obliging Asiatic guy took a photo of us both.

And Alison’s camera lived to tell the tale, which surprised me more than anything.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceFrom there we climbed up again to a small rest area and when a place on the wall underneath the trees became free, we moved in and occupied the spot.

It was quite nice there, overlooking the causeway and the entry gates to the island, and we ate our butties in the shade as we watched the world go by.

By now it was early afternoon and the hordes were still arriving. We decided that we had seen all that we had intended to see and so we returned on the shuttle bus to Caliburn, where we were fleeced by the parking charges machine.

Since this new parking system and charges have been in operation, visitor numbers have plummeted. At one time, over 3.5 million people came here every year and there was even a railway connection to the site.

In 2013 there were just 2.2 million people and apparently numbers are continuing to fall. One of these “alternative” Tourist guides writes of “la mauvaise réputation du Mont-Saint-Michel qui fait payer cher des prestations médiocres”“the bad reputation of Mont St Michel where the mediocre things on offer will cost a fortune”..

Still, it’s one of those places that you have to visit once in your life – preferably out of season – but you wouldn’t ever go back.

We headed off down the motorway, noticing the queues of vehicles heading west on the opposite carriageway, all heading to the Brittany coast.

It was a good idea to go out early in the morning because we missed most of that. I’d hate to be stuck in there right now.

cabane vauban baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned a couple of times the “Cabane Vauban” – the stone hut on the headland of the Pointe de Carolles.

It’s another place that has been on my list to visit since I first noticed it. We’d seen a road sign for it on the way down, and so on the way back we went there.

Despite its very isolated location, there was quite a crowd of people there and they wouldn’t move out of the way when I wanted to photograph the building.

And so they are now immortalised for posterity.

cabane vauban baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceThe cabin was built as a lookout point for the excise me to survey whatever cargo was being smuggled into Avranches and Mont St Michel from the Channel islands during the 17th Century;

Some say, presumably because of the name “Vauban” being associated with them, that they are defensive posts to guard the bay. But whatever kind of defence you could launch from this cabin against an 18-pounder cannon on board an English ship would surely not be very effective.

There’s a good view down as far as Mont St Michel – or, at least, there would be on any other day when there wouldn’t be a heat haze shrouding the coastline.

pusher biplane baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceThere was also a lot of aerial activity.

I wasn’t quick enough to take a photo of the gyrocopter that flew over the cabane, but I was certainly quick enough to take a photo of the biplane that stuttered by overhead.

And much to my surprise, when I enlarged the photo I discovered that it was a “pusher”. That’s not the usual configuration these days. Most of the aircraft are “tractors”.

And it was making such a racket that I couldn’t help thinking “Goddam the Pusher“, although it probably wasn’t a biplane that Hoyt Axton had in mind when he wrote the song.

Back at Granville Alison wanted to go for a walk around the town and visited the shops. But it was far too warm for me so I dropped her off, gave her directions back here, and then drove back to my nice cool little hidey-hole on my rock.

When she came back we went for another walk, this time around the walls where we sat in the sun for quite a while and watched the people on the beach.

fete des soudeurs granville manche normandy franceFor tea, I had organised some gluten-free burgers which went down very well, and then once it became dark, we went back out.

it was the Nuit des Souders, when all of the blacksmiths in the area set up little stands all over the town and the port to demonstrate their skills.

There was even one ‘neath the spreading chestnut tree, but I couldn’t tell if “the muscles of his brawny arms are strong as iron bands”.

fete des soudeurs granville manche normandy franceThe music was unfortunately pretty poor, especially after last year’s exciting Russian rock group, even though they didn’t have the dancers from “Hellzapoppin'” with them on stage .

In the end, rather than listen to the music we went for a really long walk around the harbour and fell in with a couple of fishermen … “fisherPERSONS” – ed …fishing by the moonlight.

On the way back we called off at some of the galleries that were still open. But the only thing that caught my eye was, as usual, the most expensive thing on offer.

fete des soudeurs granville manche normandy franceThere were also a few of the soudeurs dotted about here and there along the hill too, so we had a good look at some of them too.

But nothing at all really exciting.

It had been a really long day so I wasn’t disappointed to return to my apartment.

We were both pretty tired – after all, it had been a really long day – so we called it a night.

Sunday morning tomorrow, and so a lie in.

At least, I hope so.

And I have plenty more photos of Mont St Michel so I’ll probably put them all on a separate page one of these days.

pointe de carolles granville manche normandy france
pointe de carolles granville manche normandy france

fishermen zodiac baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
fishermen zodiac baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

fete des soudeurs granville manche normandy france
fete des soudeurs granville manche normandy france

Monday 4th June 2018 – I’M NOT SURPRISED …

… that there are people complaining that there’s a recession going on.

Here I am, with a pile of money burning a hole in my pocket (well, I’m not, but you’ll see where we are going with this) and no-one wants to take it off me.

At least, at Brico Cash this afternoon, they had done my quote for this kitchen. But it’s not all that cheaper than IKEA – not when you consider the difference in quality.

But I wasn’t going to leave it at that. Next stop was the LeClerc DIY place, that was having a promotion on kitchens. And despite all of this money (there isn’t going to be much change from €2000 to buy what I want, if the landlord agrees to pay it) that I’m planning to commit (on my landlord’s behalf) it took over 20 minutes for someone to come to see me.

And then we had the usual salesman’s performance.
“Which worktop do you want?” – “I told you, the cheapest”.
“And which handles do you want?” – “I told you, the cheapest”.
“And which tap do you want?” – “I told you, the cheapest”.
And so we went on and on. And then he showed me two sinks to chose from. One was €98:00 and the other one was €105.
“What’s up with the one at €57:00?” – “Ohh – do you want that?”

So you can see that when I finally receive the estimate in my mailbox I won’t be going there. Someone who doesn’t understand the meaning of “le moins cher”.

But the icing on the cake has to be at BUT. They too are having a kitchen promotion so I went there. I had to wait 15 minutes while the salesgirl was dealing with a customer (but that’s not a problem) and then we got down to business.

“We only do this by appointment”
“OK, so let’s make an appointment”
“I’m going on holiday for Friday night so it won’t be for three weeks”
“So isn’t there anyone else?”
“Yes, my colleague, but she’s on holiday this week. You need to call her and book an appointment for when she comes back”
“Can’t you do that now?”
“I don’t have her diary, but I know she’s booked up when she comes back”
“So why don’t I give you the dimensions and you can do it at your leisure, and I’ll pick it up at the beginning of next week?”
“We don’t work like that. We need the customer face-to-face”.

So that’s another company that won’t be having my business either. It’s what the French called Je m’enfoutisme – or “I can’t be bothered”. And then the companies don’t have clients, and then they close down complaining that no-one is spending any money. Well, people have the money, and they will spend it, but the companies can’t be bothered to engage competent staff – and enough of it either – to deal correctly with the customers.

And I mean that too. During both of these discussions today, the phones of the salespeople were ringing constantly, they were dealing with other enquiries too and on occasion getting up and going down the aisles to look for things.

It’s a total lack of politeness, a total lack of courtesy and a total lack of respect for the customer. One thing about IKEA is that when you get your hands on a salesman, he’s yours for the duration and there are no interruptions. Even in Belgium too, and regular readers of this rubbish from many of its previous incarnations will recall the exciting encounters that we’ve had with Belgian customer service!

And the guy in Brico Cash, at least he was honest about what he could do and when he could do it, and he kept his word too.

While we’re on the subject … "well, one of us is" – ed … you’ll recall that I sent two mails to two different camera companies about camera lenses. That was about a week ago, and how many replies do you think that I have received?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall mailshots that I have sent out in the past about solar panels, wind turbines, camper backs for pickups – a thousand other things too – and they all have in common that 99% of the recipients never bother to reply.

And that, dear reader, is why you have a recession. The companies can’t be bothered. A bunch of je m’enfoutistes.

So abandoning yet another good rant for a while, I had a real struggle to leave the stinking pit today. It’s not as if I was all that late going to bed but there you are.

And after breakfast, I actually crashed out for 20 minutes or so. What a way to start the day.

I was going to make a start on tidying Caliburn, but one look out of the window told me not to bother. It was raining. Instead, I attacked the blog and I’ve dealt with the entries going back to late April adding photos that I missed. If you’ve missed them too, you need to go back and look.

Not only that, I tidied up the shelf unit in the kitchen, rearranged things better and now there’s much more space on there, which is just as well because it was getting quite out of hand.

Lunch was indoors today – no sense in going out to eat my butties in the rain. But when I went outside to do the rounds of the kitchen shops the rain had stopped.

bad parking granville manche normandy franceBack here I went for my afternoon walk. It was school chucking-out time again and once more we have another fine example of pathetic parking.

Never mind the two cars in the background blocking the pavement, how about this guy? Not only parked on the kerb, right by a road junction, he’s parked across a pedestrian crossing too. You wouldn’t believe it.

But I did note his registration number. It began with DK. Can you think of which two letters are missing from in between?

Back here, I had another crash out and then some more blog-editing. I’m not back at 23rd April and my trip to North Africa now.

Another session on the guitar later on, and then tea. There was some of my vegan stuffing mix left over from last week and a green pepper from the weekend so I had stuffed pepper with spicy rice. Delicious it was too.

But while I was editing the blog I came across the Bombay Potato that I made myself the other week and it got my mouth watering again. So tomorrow night, in the absence of anything else, I might go for that for tea.

l'envolée granville manche normandy franceWe had the usual walk around the walls tonight and I noticed that there’s a new craft gallery opened in the Medieval town.

It’s called “L’Envolée” which, I suppose, is supposed to mean “flight”, and it’s presumably named to describe the actions of the potential customers when they notice the prices of the objects on sale, because I don’t think that I’ve ever seen anything so absurd in my life.

Small rocks painted to look like sheep, on sale for as much as €60:00. That kind of thing. One thing is for sure, and that is that you won’t catch me spending my money in there.

So now I’m going to have to gather my strength. I have a voyage ahead of me on Wednesday morning.

And remember me saying that Caliburn and I might be off on a voyage very soon? A discussion this afternoon may well mean that I’ll be going on a voyage a long time before then.

Sunday 3rd June 2018 – PART THREE …

stade croissant as st pairaise ET S Du Terregate Et Du Beuvron football manche normandy france… of this week’s footfest saw me head out to St Pair sur Mer.

There were two matches there this afternoon – the 3rd XI playing ES Trelly QC and the 2nd XI playing ET S Du Terregate Et Du Beuvron. But the matches were being played simultaneously which is a shame and seeing that the 2nd XI were playing in the Stade d’Honneur where there is a grandstand in which we can sit, I chose to sit down and eat my butties in comfort.

The final score was 2-2, which was a very fair reflection of the play. But three of the goals were scored due to mistakes by the defenders and the fourth was another one of these disputed penalties (and I was too far away to be able to give my opinion).

In fact the 1st half was quite error-strewn and I wondered where it was going to end. 2-1 wasn’t the half-time score that I was expecting.

St Pair equalised in the second half, which was a much better half than the first one, that’s for sure. The teams seemed to be concentrating more.

But we had another little … errr … dust-up between a couple of players late in the game. And the St Pair bench rounded on the ET S Du Terregate Et Du Beuvron trainer to express their opinion of his players. “Did I say any different?” was his measured reply. And that took the wind out of their sails.

So we left them examining the woodwork of the goalposts at the southern end of the ground, which had been clouted more times than enough by a few of the more-powerful shots of the attacking teams.

And I told you wrong about last weekend. It wasn’t the final weekend of US Granville’s 2nd XI. It was their final home match. They were away at Caen this afternoon and had I known last night, I would have stayed over somewhere for a weekend out.

So they still had to do better than FC St Lo Manche this afternoon, and the impressive 4-0 victory that they recorded gave everyone bags of home.

And then the news filtered through – FC St Lo Manche 1 – AS Tourlaville 1. A draw. And US Granville win the championship by two points and are promoted to Regional 1. Well done them!

So exciting days out next season to places that I don’t have a clue where they are.

I didn’t have a clue where I was this morning either. But at least it was 09:20 which is a very reasonable and respectable time to be waking up on a Sunday morning.

And with it being a Sunday I took it easy too and didn’t have breakfast until late. Later than intended too for I had run out of muesli and had to make some more. There was just enough stuff too, but I’ll have to add some more stuff to the shopping list for next time.

After breakfast I actually SHOCK! HORROR! did some tidying up. Clean clothes all over the place and the stuff from Thursday on the clothes airer was dry. So all of that went away. And that led to a rearrangement of the wardrobe.

Not only that, I uncovered my missing external hard drive – the one for which I have been searching for about a year with all of the missing images on it and which has been a regualr subject of discussion on here, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

But I was mistaken here too. It wasn’t an external drive at all. It was an old internal drive off an old desktop model that I had stuck in a caddy which I thought was empty. And that’s why I couldn’t find it.

And another external drive – the one with all of the old photos from 20 years or so ago that I couldn’t get to work – I had a play with that and got that to work too, so before I went out I set it up to copy everything over to the hard drive wih the more modern stuff.

Making a butty or two and an icy flask, I went off to the football and nearly squidged several pairs of grockles who just aimlessly amble into the middle of the street without looking and then stop to admire the seagulls. I hate grockles absolutely.

Back here later, I made another pizza. And this one was cooked perfectly. How I managed that was that I had taken a handful of frozen mushrooms out of the freezer before I went otu, to leave them to defrost. When it was time to make the pizza they had defrosted perfectly, and you have no idea the amount of water that came out. That’s where all the heat of the oven has been going – evaporating all of this water.

passenger ferry ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceAfter tea I went for my usual evening walk – around the headland tonight. Just in time to see the last passenger boat come back from the Ile de Chausey with some more unwelcome tourists.

Over Jersey, which was clearly visible – the best that I have ever seen it – it was clear. But more and more cloudy the further south you went Round over Mont St Michel it was stormy with lightning and rainstorms everywhere.

I didn’t hang around outside then. I wasn’t going to get caught in that.

There was srill some cold drink left in the flask so when I returned I went to drink it. And to my surprise, the ice cubes hadn’t completely melted. That’s about 8 hours and it was still freezing cold in there. A good move that – getting it to do cold drinks as well as hot ones.

So bedtime now. I have to go and pick up my kitchen estimates tomorrow afternoon . Tomorrow morning then I might just make a start on tidying Caliburn. We shall see.

Friday 1st June 2018 – IT REALLY WAS …

… nice this evening while I was out for my walk.

The air was clear, the tide was high, there were scores of people wandering round on the promenade way below the medieval walls of the old town – exactly the right conditions to take a few really good photographs.

And so I would have done too, had Bane of Britain remembered to put his memory card in his camera before setting out.

It’s the kind of thing that only I can do, isn’t it?

We had another late night last night, and another disturbed sleep. there’s clearly something going on right now, or else it’s my guilty conscience telling me things that I don’t really want to know.

And so it was with an enormous effort that I crawled out of the stinking pit this morning, rather later than I had intended.

After breakfast there were a few photos that needed attention (hence the removal of the memory card from the camera) and then Caliburn and I hit the streets.

First stop was a shop out on the edge of town. For reasons known only to a certain courier firm, they have chosen this inaccessible location for their parcel drop-off point for the town. And seeing as I had an eBay purchase (nothing at all exciting) to pick up, off I had to go.

Second port of call was Brico Cash in St Pair. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I hate this kitchen in here and I want to upgrade it. I went to IKEA in Zaventem the other week for an estimate, but I know for a fact that the landlord won’t pay their prices. But a flyer through the door on Monday told me that Brico Cash was having a kitchen sale.

I showed the IKEA estimate to the guy there and he burst out laughing. Yes, he can certainly beat their prices. It won’t be as good as IKEA’s of course, and won’t last as long. But then again, neither will I so it doesn’t make any difference. I have to go back on Monday to pick up the estimate.

And I’m glad that I went there too. I have computer stuff scattered about all over the place here with nowhere to put it. I bitterly regret not buying a nice little trolley that I saw in IKEA last year, but here today they had an even nice trolley complete with little drawer for just €27:95. So that’s now assembled and nicely stacked out with stuff.

There’s a big Casino supermarket down the road from there, so I went in for my carrots and a (very disreputable) baguette. So I remembered the carrots, but forgot just about everything else that I intended to buy while I was there.

Lunch on the wall in the cool weather eating this miserable baguette and then back here to sort out a few things and make an urgent phone call. However, I fell victim to a little urge to … errr … relax, and missed my time slot. That’s upset me considerably.

Hordes of people swarming around outside this afternoon including a couple of school parties so it was rather difficult to move around. But I managed a coffee later, a chat on the internet with someone and the usual session on the guitar. And it seems that half an hour a day is no longer sufficient and I’m not reaching the end of the stuff that I need to practise. But that’s a good sign isn’t it?

Having bought some carrots, I could make a decent tea tonight. Stuffed pepper with spicy rice followed by strawberries. Totally delicious.

The we had the walk, and I foolishly directed some grockles to the wrong address. I bet that they will love me for that.

So shopping tomorrow, and I shall be going to an additional shop too (if I remember) – la Foirfouille, one of these cheap shops that are all over the place. It’s closing down soon and they are having a sale so I shall go for a prowl.

Will make a pleasant change, won’t it?

Sunday 13th May 2018 – THAT’S MORE LIKE IT!

Although the night wasn’t as early as I would have liked it, staying in bed until 09:20 is definitely the correct way to proceed on a Sunday morning.

And had I not wanted to go for a ride on the porcelain horse, I might even still be in bed now.

It didn’t prevent me from going off on a nocturnal ramble either. But I’ll spare you the details of this voyage. I mean – you might be eating your tea or something. But I will say that it was a continuation of one of my voyages from a day or two ago.

I had a nice, late breakfast that included a fig roll with strawberry jam and which was delicious as you might expect. And then a lazy Sunday where I did next to nothing. But as I have said before … "and you’ll say again" – ed … everyone needs a day when they can sit around and do nothing without feeling the least pang of guilt.

football stade croissant st pair us st pairaise us st quentin le homme manche normandy franceThis afternoon in the glorious sunshine I wandered off to the Stade Croissant in St Pair sur Mer where US St Pairaise’s 2nd XI was taking on US St Quentin Le Homme’s 2nd XI.

St Quentin, in green, were fifth in the table and St Pair were third-bottom, and the final score was 7-0 … for St Pair. Something that totally astonished me.

St Pair were easily the better team, and that was a surprise in itself. But the result did rather flatter them. Their second goal was a piledriver from 25 yards out that was screwed hopelessly wide of the goal and which fell quite by chance right at the feet of an unmarked attacker who would otherwise have been totally out of the play. And their third was a backpass to the keeper who went to trap the ball with his foot but it hit a bobble, bounced up, hit him on the shins and rolled out to an attacker 5 yards away.

Apart from that, the St Quentin central defence was just too slow. In fact, the whole St Quentin team was just 6 inches too slow all over the field, and it was that which made all of the difference. Had they been just that little quicker to the ball, none of this would have happened.

But it was certainly a surprising result.

At half-time, I had another look through Caliburn to try to find the missing spring clip. But instead I found two one-cent pieces. So “spend, spend, spend!”, hey?

Tea was another excellent vegan pizza (the ground black pepper makes all the difference) but this latest batch of grated vegan cheese doesn’t melt like the previous batch and you could see the join.

SO off to bed in a minute, and then back to work tomorrow. High time that I did something.