Tag Archives: cemetery

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 5th November 2020 – THIS COMPUTER UPGRADE …

… is taking its time yet again.

When I finally crawled out of bed this morning at about 08:00 it was still on 70%. I’ve no idea why it takes so long to upgrade – and why it should want to upgrade so often after I’d done a clean install.

Tons more stuff on the dictaphone which I transcribed when I returned home.

I was with a girl last night who might have been Ann, something like that. Previously i’d been out with another girl who was very similar to Ann and we hadn’t been on very good terms when we broke up. We were all in this kind of big classroom with long tables and benches doing our work. This other girl had got up to go to the bench for something or other, to fetch a drink of water or food or something. I was already up, wandering around doing something and seen this girl wandering around and thought that it was Ann so I went to wait by the door for her to come. But she didn’t come. Instead it was the other girl walking back to her seat for something and she gave me a bit of a glare as she went back to sit at her seat. I went back to see where Ann was, if it was Ann. She had a boy sitting next to her and the two of them were working on something together. I was waiting for one of them to budge up so that I could sit in the middle of them but she said something like “you aren’t going to need me after this, are you?” I asked “after what? Because after this illness I shan’t be needing anyone”. I was wondering what she was driving at.

Later on last night we were living out on the North Circular Road in London. I don’t remember who I was with now but we certainly had a Ford Cortina Estate. To reach our apartment was rather a complicated affair because there was a road bridge over a big dual carriageway road and the bridge had 3 lanes, the left hand lane of which was to turn left and the other 2 lanes turned right. Nevertheless we had to be in the left lane for turning right otherwise we couldn’t get into the parking area in front of our apartment. That always made for a few things to be extremely complicated. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember now.

Even later still I was with an Indian politician and 1 or 2 people treated him with a bit of respect and a few others were very patronising, calling him “so and so’s shadow”, that kind of thing. I mentioned to him that I thought that it was pretty awful as far as I was concerned. It turned out that he had actually been someone quite well-known in Government circles and had had a career mapped out for him but somehow it had all gone wrong and he’d been punted back into the wilderness again. We spent a lot of time talking and I realised after a while that what I was actually doing was trying to motivate him to start up again. This led to thoughts in my head that if he does fire up again and I’m there encouraging him, what’s that going to do for my own particular career? That was pretty much an afterthought really. I didn’t think about that at the time until I was well on the way towards doing this.

First thing that I did after my morning coffee was to sort out my rail tickets for going home. There’s just one train to Granville tomorrow – at 16:13 and which is taking almost 40 minutes longer than the usual one so I imagine that it’s “all stations” instead of a “limited stop”. But I don’t have any other choice. I’m not looking forward to not getting home until about 20:30.

From Brussels to Paris there are three trains. But the one that corresponds best with my timetable is at 13:13. There’s a wait of about 1:40 in Paris while I change trains but it’s the best that I can do.

At least I don’t have to have a ridiculously early start in the morning

There was an added complication to booking my ticket. Having to perform the operation on the mobile phone, I couldn’t see the part of the screen where I have to tap in the security number that I received to authorise the transaction. It took about 6 goes before I finally managed to enter it correctly.

And it’s not cheap either – not as cheap as the ticket that I can’t use. But there really is no other choice.

It was a beautiful day today despite being cold and frosty so I went for a nice long walk.

memorial to the dead in the Congo cemetery leuven belgium Eric HallAlison had told me where the big cemetery was so I took a walk out to there this morning. And the first thing that I noticed was this extraordinary relic of a very unwelcome pasts.

The “Belgian Congo” wasn’t Belgian until 1908. Prior to that it was the personal property of the Royal House of Belgium, and it was during this period of the Congo’s history that the inhabitants were the victims of some of the worst atrocities committed by the colonisers.

This plaque on the wall of the cemetery here commemorates the names of Belgians (obviously white ones) who died in the Congo during the period of fhe private ownership of the Kings of the Belgians.

mass grave of cholera victims cemetery leuven belgium Eric HallHaving seen the plaque on the wall, I went for a walk around to see what else I could see of interest.

There were several mounds like this one with wrought-iron crosses set in them – each cross bearing the name of a street in Leuven apparently, from what I could tell. These appear, from what I could tell, to be the mass graves of people who died during the various cholera epidemics on the second third of the 19th Century.

A stark reminder of what awaits the Western World if they can’t bring this current virus under control. Here is clear evidence of the waves in which infectious diseases like this sweep around the World in the days before good sanitation.

commonwealth war graves cemetery leuven bekgium Eric HallBut this is what I had come here to see – or one of the things to say the least.

It’s the Commonwealth Military Cemetery for British and Commonwealth Farces personnel who lost their lives during the two World Wars.

There are a handful of graves from World War I and about a dozen or so from World War II, including what looks like a crew of a multi-engine bomber who lost their lives on 12th May 1944. When I find a reliable internet connection and a reliable computer to take advantage of it, I’ll track down the aeroplane that was involved.

cemetery to the executed civilians leuven belgium Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that WE FOUND CIVILIAN GRAVES from the wars in the Cemetery at ixelles a few years ago.

Accordingly, I was expecting to find a similar layout here in the cemetery in Leuven and sure enough, I tumbled on it. The wall in the background lists the names of people who were executed by the Germans during the war and who presumably have no known grave.

It would seem that the graves in front with the white headstones are for civilians whose identity was known.

war memorial to the civilian dead cemetery leuven belgium Eric HallBehind it are yet more civilian graves and other wall plaques.

The plaques seem to list the names of the victims who were deported to Greater Germany and who never returned – hundreds of them. There’s also a casket there that is said to contain the ashes of one of the victims from the extermination camp at Buchenwald.

The graves that surround it are also civilian graves but it isn’t clear as to the significance of their burial in that particular location. The headstones here are not as helpful as they are in Ixelles.

war memorial cemetery leuven belgium Eric HallOf course, there’s a war memorial here in the cemetery.

Belgium was very quickly overrun in World War II but in World War I the Belgians hung on right the way through the war and fought to the bitter end. There were several major battles between the Belgians and the Germans in the vicinity of Leuven in the first couple of weeks of August 1914 as well as around Antwerp later and then for the rest of the war in West Flanders

The casualty list was enormous for such a small country and a great many Belgian soldiers were killed, many of whom have no known grave.

watering cans cemetery leuven belgium Eric HallOne of these days when I have time again,I want to make enquiries to find out what became of the civilians who died in the Sack of Leuven but there was no-one around right now.

And so I set out to continue my walk, but not without having a little smile at this arrangement.

There are taps scattered around the cemetery and watering cans lying around for people to use. But it’s like shopping trolleys here, where you have to put your Euro into the slot in order to withdraw the can.

Do they really have people who would want to take a watering can home?

From here I walked through the Phillips complex and then down the street to the railway line, and then followed the path alongside the tracks all the way to the railway station at Heverlee.

sint lambertuskerk heverlee leuven belgium Eric HallThen I threadedmy way through the maze of streets in a north-western direction and ended up at the Sint Lambertusplein where there was this beautiful church.

It’s actually the church of Sint-Jozef and Sint Lambertus and dates from between 1878 and 1880. There have been several previous churches on or near this site, one of which was said to be a wooden chapel dating back to the 8th Century.

The coming of the railway here led to a rapid increase in population so in 1876 plans for a new church were commissioned from the architect L.A.F. van Arenberg

There was a little park at the back of the church so I walked through there and along the street, eventually finding myself at the Stadion den Dreef, the home of OH Leuven.

river dijle leuven belgium Eric HallJust recently we’ve seen several views of the River Dilje that had previously escaped our attention.

Here around the back of the football ground is another view that we haven’t seen before and it’s a really nice rural setting on the edge of town.

I followed the path along the river for a while to see what else I could see down there but there was no bridge to cross over to the other side, so I ended up having to retrace my steps back to the football ground.

stadion den dreef leuven belgium Eric HallStrangely enough, it was not possible to walk all the way around the football stadium either as a couple of the walkway gates were closed.

However I pointed the camera through the fence to take a photograph of the ground again and then wandered off to Carrefour in order to buy a few bits and pieces to make sandwiches for the journey home tomorrow.

No special offers today unfortunately so I came back to my apartment, to find out tha the computer upgrade was complete and, to my surprise, it actually worked.

After lunch I updated the journal entry for yesterday and that took most of the afternoon. This computer is crawling along slowly when the internet is working, so I’ll have to finish it all again once I’m at home.
Tea was burger and pasta followed by fruit salad and sorbet. And then the journal entry for today.

having crashed out a couple of times this afternoon, I’m off to bed right now. It’s going to be a long and stressful journey home tomorrow and I’m not looking forward to it, particularly the arrival back home at some ridiculous hour.

But there’s no choice so I shall have to grin and bear it.

At least it will be good to be back home.

Wednesday 12th August 2020 – ANOTHER SWELTERING DAY …

… in the middle of this heatwave in Southern Germany. And I have surrendered to it all by buying a desktop fan to go with the USB fan that I bought for Caliburn yesterday (did I mention that?).

This morning, it was again 28°C early on and the news that there had been a cloudburst and that my home town back in the UK was 12 inches under water and they were all complaining now about too much rain didn’t really abate my humour all that much.

But anyway, I digress.

This morning I was awake quite early yet again and spent some time bringing the paperwork up to date and listening to the dictaphone.

Back in England everyone was worried that the amount of viruses was rising and yet people still weren’t taking things seriously, still not taking their masks seriously. We were walking between a couple of towns on a nice shady road near a river. We could see people disobeying the mask instructions all that kind of thing. We were convinced that they won’t last very long at all if they kep on going like this. There was a lot more to it than this but I don’t remember it now.

Later, it was time to disembark from the ship which was in fact an aeroplane so we all have to get ourselves ready and we all walked off down the gangplank a few of us together laughing and joking a little bit. One of the guys with whom I worked at the EU, he was coming on behind us and about to get into this queue with us. A couple of us said “we really don’t want to be in the queue with him”. Castor and Pollux were there too, and it’s nice to see them back with me again on my travels. They had changed into some nice clothes – I remember Pollux in a nice little top and a dark blue skirt. They just walked through Customs and walked away and didn’t look back, which left me feeling extremely disappointed.

When Hans came in we had a coffee and a good chat and organised a pile of stuff that needed organising.

Going to the bank to pay in his shop takings was next and then we went for breakfast at the bakery across the road. it was crowded with people and we had to sit inside for a change.

natural primeval forest eching germany eric hallGathering up the camera (but forgetting a bottle of water) we walked off out of town towards Garching in the sweltering heat.

A couple of kilometres outside the town on the left-hand side across the motorway is a nature reserve, the Echinger Lohe. It’s actually a piece of primeval woodland that was set aside in 1978 totally unmanaged as a natural forest reserve – some kind of experiment to see how a natural wood would have behaved before human intervention.

And what with all of the urban expansion in the vicinity of Munich that’s a feat in itself

natural primeval forest eching germany eric hallScrambling through the wire fence via a suitable opening we went inside.

It’s totally fascinating to see how it’s turned out. Nature is certainly doing a fine job here in this magnificent example of a climax forest. And all of the rotting tree trunks and branches that are passing through the “interesting shape” stage and disintegrating into powder and slowly regenerating the soil.

This is just as nature would have done several thousand years ago. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

natural primeval forest eching germany eric hallWe pushed our way deeper into the forest. It seemed to be the sensible thing to do in view of the heat.

One thing that impressed me about the place was how silent everywhere was. It was very broody and mysterious in there. Had a pile of Hurons leapt out from behind the trees, bow in hand, to overwhelm us I wouldn’t have been in the least surprised.

And although we didn’t see any large mammals, there is PLENTY OF EVIDENCE OF THEIR PRESENCE.

natural primeval forest eching germany eric hallWhen I say that the forest is totally unmanaged, that’s not to say that there hasn’t been any human intervention.

These stranee, crude constructions are apparently hides for cameras. Some University or something is carrying out some kind of survey on activity that takes place in the forest.

Of course they aren’t going to park themselves up in full view of the wildlife, but all the same I can’t say that I’m very impressed with disturbing nature like this. Surely they couls have brought in some artificial hides that would have done the trick and which they could have taken away later on, leaving very little trace.

tui aeroplane eching munich airport flightpath germany eric hallThere is plenty to see in this particular corner of Eching and so we left the cover and shade of the forest to go to see it.

One of the things to see, which might not appeal to everyone, is what is going on in the air. We are right in the flight path for the descent to Munich Airport which is about 5 or so miles and even with the grounding of many flights due to the effects of the pandemic, there is still the odd one passing overhead.

At first I didn’t recognise the livery of this plane, but having photographed and enlarged it, I can see that it’s one of the planes that fly for the big holiday company TUI.

open natural heathland eching germany eric hallOut here beyond the forest there’s a huge natural, unspoilt heathland, the Garchinger Heide too.

It’s a haven of wildlife that you wouldn’t usually find so close to a major city and large transportation hub. The wooden thing that you can see that looks like the handle of a spade is actually a perch for the various birds of prey and the like that are around here.

218 different varieties of natural plants have been recorded here, of which about 50 are on Germany’s “red list” of plants subject to Conservation rules, type that would be difficult to find anywhere. This is good news because the flowers attract butterflies, of which a couple of visitors are quite rare types, and also bees.

monument to creator of open natural heathland eching germany eric hallAnd we are very lucky to have it too because in the late 19th Century during the grand expansion of Germany’s economy there were proposals to transform the heath into farmland.

However due to the energetic efforts of Franz Vollmann, the “Saviour of the Garchinger Heide“, 23 hectares of unspoilt land were bought by the Bavarian Botanical Society between 1907 and 1904 and in 1942 it became an official nature reserve. A monument was erected on the site in honour of Vollman.

Unfortunately much of the heath was badly damaged in early 1945 when prisoners from the Dachau Concentration were instructed to turn it into an emergency airstrip. Some work was begun and you can still see some of the damage that they did.

celtic burial ground eching germany eric hallEching is apparently an ancient Celtic town and there’s what is, I suppose, a Celtic cemetery here – a part of the heathland where there were plenty of small barrows. We went over there to have a look at them

Some other work that was undertaken here was the excavation of the barrows, so I was told, apparently in the search for various artefacts and grave goods. The excavations were carried out all that well and now there isn’t very much left now, but the outlines of the barrows are still visible.

There are several pools here that were formerly the site of gravel extraction and now abandoned to nature and the surroundings overgrown by vegetation.

Our route to the cemetery took us past a small one that was very quiet and secluded, and here we surprised a bunch of nudists. However I do have to say that if I had a body like any of those, I wouldn’t be exhibiting it anywhere in public like they were.

On our way back home we stopped for a drink at the football ground, and then we picked up Caliburn and went to track down a battery for Hans’s jeep. No-one had one in stock so we ended up having to order one.

But at one place that we visited I bought my desktop fan. this heat really is killing me right now.

mittlerergrabenopen mittlerergraben freising germany eric hallWhile we were in the van we decided to push on for an afternoon out in the nearby town of Freising, the region’s capital.

We found a car park just outside the city centre and Hans led me through a maze of alleyways and narrow streets. This one is called the Mittlerergraben and it’s a typical example of the little streets around the northern part of the town.

In fact, much of Germany looks like this, and while some property is quite clearly modern, it’s very difficult to tell with others which is contemporary and which is new to replace war-damaged property.

, so we went for a walk around while Hans pointed out a few of the local sights. The cathedral was up the top of a huge set of steps so in this heat we ruled that out. We went for a cold drink instead.

sporrergasse cathedral mittlerergraben freising germany eric hallFrom where I was standing to take the previous photo there’s a little Gasse, an alley that leads down into the main shopping street. These alleys are another feature of medieval German cities – in fact most medieval cities. As you know, Granville, where I live is littered with them.

In the background are the towers of the cathedral and to the left just down there is the Bayerische Hof, an upmarket hotel that has rooms at prices that the likes of you and I can only dream about.

That column is actually at the entrance to the hotel car park and I bet that more than just a couple of people have had fun trying to put their car into there.

hummelgasse medieval street freising germany eric hallWe walked down the alleyway into the main shopping street and the first thing that I did was to disappear up another Gasse

The town is littered with these little alleys and this one is certainly one of the prettiest. It’s called the Hummelgasse and leads on down to the river at the bottom of the hill.

We weren’t going that way though. We were heading down the main street and so I had to come back. But not before I became all nostagic about the yellow walls on this house here. It reminds me too much of MY HOME BACK IN THE AUVERGNE.

sparkasse unterer hauptstrasse freising germany eric hallSo back in the centre of Freising, in the Unterer Hauptstrasse.

It’s not very often that a town site changes position throughout history so it’s very likely that where we are walking now is the same street that people were walking down 1500 or so years ago. The first recorded mention of the village of Freising was as long ago as 555AD – it was certainly in existence before that date

And it may well be even much older than that because it’s known that there was a Roman Road in the immediate vicinity along the banks of the River Isar and this would have been a likely situation for some kind of regional settlement.

heiliggeiststrasse freising germany eric hallYou can see what I mean from this photo just here taken in the Heilinggeiststrasse – The Street of the Holy Ghost.

Where that tower is in the background is on an eminence overlooking the river and that would be the ideal situation for some kind of fortified site keeping an eye on the traffic passing up and down the river valley either by the road or the river.

The building on the left is the Church of the Holy Ghost with its associated Hospital complex. The hospital dates back to 1374 when a local dignitary left in his Will his entire estate to the benefit of building some accommodation for the poor, the sick and the needy.

fischergasse freising germany eric hallWe eschewed the possibility of climbing up to the cathedral and the other official buildings on the eminence. I’m not too good, hans has a bad leg and it was far too hot for a scramble.

Instead we threaded our way through the maze of back streets into the Fischergasse. There’s a little stream here that runs eventually into the Isar. The stream has been canalised and the banks reinforced and it makes quite a pleasant walkway back to town.

There was a café down here too and so we took the opportunity to sit down and have a nice cold drink. We needed it in this weather.

replacing underground heating pipes fischergasse freising germany eric hallHeading back into the centre of town we came across some road works that caught our eye.

According to Hans, there’s “District Heating” in the town – a communal heating system of hot water that’s pumped around the town. it looks as if the system is receiving some attention. Here are some of the water pipes, covered in insulation.

It’s interesting to speculate as to why they have put that big U-bend in the pipework I can’t see any logical explanation for that

medieval vaults brennergasse freising germany eric hallOne thing about these early medieval cities is that it doesn’t matter how old a building is, it’s likely that the underground works are even older.

Consequently, when I saw some renovation being undertaken in the groundwork of a building in the main street I dived in there with the camera. Unfortunately this cellar is the exception that proves the rule. It’s nothing like as old as I was expecting.

We walked on through the town for a while and Hans showed me a bar that he had at one stage been thinking about taking on, but city parking regulations scuppered that.

And so we walked back to the car park and Caliburn

schluter tractor freising germany eric hallOut on the edge of the town is the site of a factory, the Schluter Tractor Company, where they made tractors until 1993.

The factory has now been transformed into a shopping centre where there is a display of photos of all of the products that the company manufactured. We went for a look around to see them, and discovered that there was even a restored tractor on display here as a centre-piece.

While we were here we went for a look around at the rest of the shops on the factory site but there was nothing of any interest so we went back to Caliburn and made our way back to Eching.

Back here, we parked up Caliburn and walked back to the football club where I had a delicious Thai curry with rice. And then back to the Bier Keller for a drink and a chat and to listen to some music.

Now I have my fan, and I feel so much better. I’m not going to say that it’s nice and cool of course, but it’s a lot better than it has been and i’m hoping for a comfortable sleep tonight. Tomorrow, I’ll be hitting the road.

Tuesday 27th August 2019 – I HAVE SPENT …

… a very pleasant day in the company of those two two very pleasant young girls whom I have mentioned previously. I’m not sure quite why, but I seem to be Flavour Of The Month right now – a situation to which I’m not accustomed at all

When we saw the polar bear the other day the younger one of the two who was wandering around the deck on her own wasn’t able to pick it up with her camera very well To help her out, I put her memory card into my camera and let her take a few photos using the big zoom lens. No kid should ever go around being disappointed if there’s someone around who can lend a hand.

Unfortunately I had my camera set on RAW data rather than *.jpg so her camera couldn’t see it, as I came to realise afterwards. But I was working with the laptop in my little corner in the upper lounge today when they both came past, so I grabbed her memory card, edited the photos for her, converted it into *.jpg format and, for good measure, slipped her a photo of my walrus from yesterday as a little present.

We ended up having quite a chat, that started at about 15:00 this afternoon and went on until … errr … 00:30. And I’ll tell you something for nothing – and that is that they are far more intelligent and interesting and have much more to say for themselves than any of the adults on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour.

And that, unfortunately, is not saying very much either. To tell the truth, this is a pretty miserable lot of passengers on board the ship for this section of the voyage. There’s not even one of them with whom I’d choose to spend any of my spare time, and I’m pretty certain judging by the number of times that I’ve sat at a table and taken my meals all alone that the feeling is pretty much mutual.

Not that it bothers me at all though. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m much happier with my own company and It seems as if I’m condemned to prowl the deck of the ship totally on my own until all kinds of late hours until I fall overboard, rather like Joshua Slocum, which is par for the course these days.

Mind you, I don’t know how I do it because I had another dreadful night. Wide awake at 01:00 and then not going back to sleep at all. And I was feeling dreadful too – fearing a recurrence of my trouble of the other week.

I know what caused it though. Basically, I was in a totally foul mood and it was eating me up all yesterday evening.

Yesterday or the day before, I’d mentioned that we have someone from the Archaeological Service of Canada Parks on board and as a result things are being run “by the book” on board, to the total exclusion of everything else.

Consequently, even though I’ve travelled for 40 days and spent not far short of $40,000 over two years to travel to a certain point and to take a certain photograph, it’s been decided that I won’t be permitted to take it.

I was furious (to say the least) about the idea of missing out on the photo that I really wanted to take, and it was preying on my mind. But being wide-awake enabled me to have a good think and it gave me the opportunity to come up with a solution.

And so at breakfast I buttonholed Rachel the Archaeologist and bent her ear somewhat (poor girl), telling her of my utter dismay and disappointment. She replied that she would “take my concerns on board”.

It was snowing slightly outside and freezing cold, as you might expect up here in the High Arctic, but we all warmed ourselves up in our really warm expedition clothing and hit the zodiacs. 10 minutes later we were on Beechey Island. at last, after all of these years.

We visited the graves of the three sailors who died at the start of the Franklin expedition and I took the photos that I wanted. Permission had been obtained (although, I suspect, unofficially, and I thought it best not to make further enquiries). We then walked on through the rain and the howling wind past a passing gyrfalcon down to Northumberland House (or the remains thereof) built by William Pullen’s expedition to relieve Franklin should he still be alive (which he wasn’t)

The whole place is covered in old tin cans, barrel staves and barrel hoops from Franklin’s and the relief expeditions in the 1840s and 50s and that all adds to the mystery of the place. But at long last I have made it there and that was what I’ve come all this way to do.

But one thing that I couldn’t do was to deal with yet more of this red tape. There’s a shipwreck – the yacht Mary – dating from the 1850s on the island, and known since at least 1854. I was hoping to be able to visit that but because it didn’t form part of the permit that the company had obtained (apparently no-one thought that it would be of much interest to anyone) it had been taped off and an “unofficial excursion’ was out of the question with this official loitering around.

So instead, I cursed my bad luck.

The zodiac ride back was wild, totally wild. You’d pay good money for that in an adventure park. We were all soaked to the skin and frozen to the marrow, so when we returned I had a hot shower to warm myself up.

After lunch I was on deck for a while and then fell in with the girls. They are cousins apparently, both mad on music and keen players of the ukelele. So I’ve been having private ukelele lessons all evening.

There was a concert in fancy dress this evening. Strawberry Moose dressed up for it and won a prize.

Later on in the evening while I was chatting to the girls and learning to play the ukelele, two boys joined in. One of them was no mean guitarist and the other could sing really well and so we had a jam session until long after midnight, all five of us.

And as a result, a cunning plan is developing. But more of this anon. I’m off to bed.

Monday 22nd July 2019 – IT WAS SOMETHING …

… of an easier day for me today, although you might not think so.

Being awake at 03:05 this time (just for a change) and then again a short while before the alarms went off, I did finally manage to fall out of bed and totter straight down into breakfast for 06:30.

Once breakfast was over we had to dash back to our rooms to don our winter clothing because we were off for a very long zodiac trip. And we needed our clothing too because it was to be a very long trip in the cold and wind.

We’ve anchored in Arsuk Fjord and almost at the head of it is a really impressive waterfall. It’s not the highest in Greenland (we have already seen that) and not by a long way either, but the volume of water that pours over it is phenomenal.

On the way there we kept a look-out for wildlife, although our first “sighting” was of a cabin on shore. It looked as if it had been abandoned for a considerable period of time and was in a poor state of repair, but it would make a very nice home for someone who craved solitude. Going to the shops would be an issue, though.

A little farther on, someone on our boat spotted an arctic fox. We all craned our necks and one or two people managed to catch a fleeting glimpse. I wasn’t so lucky unfortunately. But then, someone later explained that an arctic fox was only the same size as a domesticated cat so I don’t feel so bad about not seeing it.

Much more luck later on. Someone called from another zodiac that they had seen a musk-ox on shore, so we all headed that way. After a good deal of searching and scanning, I finally saw it. And it put on quite a performance for us too, gambolling about in a clearing amid the rocks.

But it was strange to see a musk-ox on its own. They are herd animals. And so the consensus thinking was that although it didn’t look much like it, it was possibly a male adolescent that had been ejected from the herd by the dominant male and had yet to establish its own harem

The waterfall was impressive. It was really powerful and the amount of water cascading down from it was enormous. It’s all melt-water off the Greenland ice-cap so it gives you some idea of what’s going on in the interior of Greenland and how badly climate change is affecting the place.

Some of the zodiacs went quite close to the fall, but our driver was somewhat nervous by the looks of things and wasn’t too keen to go too close.

On the way back we were waylaid by another zodiac. Our driver is apparently the expedition’s ornithologist and the others had seen some birds that needed to be identified.

Not that this kind of thing would interest me. As I have said before, there may be several interesting species of bird in a Greenland fjord but not a single one of any type that I would be interested in watching.

They had repositioned The Good Ship Ve … errr Ocean Endeavour while we had been away and so it was a long – and I do mean long – ride back to where we were supposed to go. In fact all the way up to the end of the fjord, past the Danish navy’s naval base at Kangilinnguit and then along another arm, following the only road in Greenland that connects two communities together.

The reason for the naval base is that not too far away (although it seems like miles when you are in a cold and wet zodiac in a freezing fog) was the world’s only cryolite quarry, in the abandoned town of Ivittuut.

While looking for silver (which they found, but not in sufficient quantities to make it worthwhile) at the end of the 18th Century they stumbled across an outcrop of cryolite. At first is was used as an additive to salt (the Pennsylvania Salt Company was the chief purchaser) and pottery but later they discovered that added to bauxite, it reduced considerably the energy needed to smelt aluminium.

The Danes worked it for a while and then the Americans took over, but when Denmark was occupied by the Nazis there was a fear that the mine would fall into their hands. Thus a Canadian and later an American detachment of troops was sent in to protect it. The naval base was built to repel any possibility of a German raider or invasion party.

The mine was exhausted and abandoned in 1984, and cryolite became the first of the earth’s minerals to be commercially exhausted. But by then scientists had succeeded in making it in a laboratory.

The whole place looks as if it’s abandoned now and it’s really sad, with all of the equipment lying around. Even a half-dismantled Bedford lorry, a 6-cylinder diesel of the 1970s is just lying there.

I had a good explore around and found the cemetery, full of graves of workmen who must have died in mining accidents (this must have been a dangerous place to work) as well as the graves of a couple of young children. There were also several plaques relating to people lost in shipwrecks in the vicinity.

We did find several examples of habitation though. Two or three houses looked as if they were still occupied, there was a garden growing potatoes and lettuce and there was an array of solar panels. These seemed to be powering the equipment in a Seismology reading station carved into the side of one of the rocks.

By the way, as a matter of interest, this is not the first time that the town had been abandoned. Although it is very well-known that the Norse had an Eastern Settlement (Brattahlid and its environs) and a Western Settlement (near Nuuk) here in Greenland, there was also a much less well-known Middle Settlement too, of about 20 homesteads. Some excavations on the site of Ivittuut have revealed Norse ruins that would correspond with what is known about part of the site of the Middle Settlement.

Back on board ship it was lunchtime and I was good and ready for it. And much to our surprise there was free time – the first of the trip – afterwards. I went down to my cabin intending to do all sorts of things but ended up under the covers for well over two hours. And I wasn’t sorry either.

Later there was an exhibition of Admiralty charts of the High Arctic and, even better, the guy presenting the exhibition had them in *.pdf format and offered to copy them to anyone who wanted them. Ever since then, I’ve been armed with a memory stick for the next time that I bump into him.

Tea tonight was in the company of several other people. I always enjoy people-watching and there was plenty to see tonight that caught my interest.

But now I might go for an early night. There’s a lie in (of sorts) tomorrow so there’s no urgency but it will still be nice to take advantage of whatever is available to help me catch up with my sleep.

Friday 19th July 2019 – HAVING SAID …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 11th May 2019 – WE HAD MORE …

… football this evening.

The second of the two Europa qualifying semi-finals, between Caernarfon Town and Cardiff Metro.

The match was certainly not without incident as the bundary wall behind the goal collapsed when Caernarfon scored a goal and about 50 fans, mostly young kids, spilled over onto the field. Luckily no-one was injured or hurt, but it held the game up 8 minutes.

We had another surprise result. Cardiff Metro won 3-2 away from home to a team that finished 3 places above them. But that was the correct result. Caernarfon’s players aren’t particularly skilful but have a tremendous team spirit and the huge crowds act as an extremely potent 12th man.

But the Met are a very skilful side, if horrendously inconsistent, but tonight once they got going they played well.

So they are away at Bala Town for the play-off final next weekend. Should be exciting.

Talking of exciting, the night-time was exciting too. We were at the football last night and it was the Welsh play-offs. Of the first game, it was the unexpected team that won, rather like last night – znd tonight too. And we were getting ready for the second. There was this huge monstrous type of guy there watching the game and I can’t remember very much about what he was doing right now, but we ended up back on Ocean Endeavour and off sightseeing. We came into a harbour that was very narrow and restricted, and there was some kind of red bar across the harbour to stop boats in the river being brought out by the tide and current. I had to go in and out of here on a zodiac and every time I went past this red bar I had to be verified. It was the same man verifying me all the time. he had to walk up to me, I had to anchor the boat, he’d check the boat over and we’d walk back in together. When I was going out we had to do the procedure in reverse. He would be wandering off checking all these boats and I wouldn’t be sure where he was going. I’d look around and he’d disappeared up some alley of boats. It reached the stage where the locals gathered to see this pantomime, me and this guy walking up this river every now and again. I could always tell when he disappeared because I would get hoots of laughter and derision as I was carrying on marching, so I’d have to stop and wait for him. He’d go off, check a boat and come back and follow me. It was all a big pantomime
Later on I’d been given a new job as a doctor. Actually we passed all the exams so I turned up at the place where my room was to be given to me. There was some kind of discussion about the rooms because we’d all had pre-printed visiting cards showing our room numbers but people had changed into different rooms. We had to move everyone around and sort that out. In the end I got my room, or rather the corner of a communal room of four people, all furnished in heavy oak like a private library. We had to go off somewhere and I could choose my company car. I chose an old Jag XJ-S convertible with a 56 plate. I took some people with me and the car ended up in a terrible state with rubbish everywhere. I had to vacuum it but I needed to be careful because I’d pulled some things out of my pocket earlier and all bits of important things like micro-SD cards were everywhere. I mustn’t hoover them up. We discussed getting back into the car later but the people in front of us had already gone. We wre in Telford at the time so someone asked if I knew the way back to Stoke on Trent. “Are we going past the such and such nightclub where we could have a good time or drive straight back?” I said that I wouldn’t be in work the next day. They asked why. I replied that I had an interview for a job. People were amazed that I was going to turn this one down but I said “not really. I had five interviews for jons and this one I was offered but I wan tto go to all the other interviews just to see what goes on and how things sit and practise my interviewing techniques”

After all of that, I was rather late leaving my bed, but not too late that I would be worried.

We had the usual medication and breakfast, followed by a shower and I forgot to do the washing, and then I went off shopping.

Today? I spent very little. I didn’t need much and what I did need wasn’t in stock. lIDL had nothing special, NOZ just had a couple of little bits and pieces (and more coconut sorbet) and LeClerc had just the usual, minus my vegan burgers.

Back here I unpacked and put everything away, and then dealt with a few things relating to the blog for yesterday.

After lunch (which was taken indoors and was a lovely fruit bread from LIDL) I attacked the photos for September 2015. These are now done back to Saturday 19th September, which means that there are a mere 18 to go. I’m hoping to finish that off and even October’s before I go to Leuven next weekend.

people on zodiac granville manche normandy franceThere was the usual afternoon walk of course, seeing as there’s no football tonight.

And I wasn’t the only one out and about either. The sea was humming with people out there enjoying themselves, including a dozen or so people having a run around the bay on a zodiac.

Makes me wish that I was out there with them. And who knows? one of these days I might be.

yachts montmartin sur mer granville manche normandy franceThat wasn’t all either.

WIth the new telephoto lens I can take some good distance photos without having to change lenses.

Right out there across the bay near Montmartin Sur Mer there seemed to be a sailing school out there today. Dozens of yachts are down there sailing around offshore

hang glider cemetery granville manche normandy franceAnd hang-gliders too.

Here’s one taking off from the place that they always use – at the back of the Christian Dior Museum by the cemetery.

And I think that that is an appropriate place for them to begin their adventures. If they make a false manoeuvre on taking off, they don’t have too far to go.

person sitting on beach granville manche normandy franceBut at least I was enjoying the weather out there.

Whoever this person is here, she clearly isn’t. And I can’t blame her either because I wouldn’t have liked to have been sitting on the beach.

The wind was far too strong for that and I wouldn’t have lasted five minutes.

crowds on beach plat gousset cherry picker granville manche normandy franceOut of the wind, though, the situation was better.

There were crowds of people walking along there on the promenade and even a few people sunning themselves on the beach. Clearly the wind wasn’t as strong down there.

And there was a cherry picker down there too. I’ll have to go and have a look down there to see what is happening.

ferry ile de chausey coming into port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThere was a lot of action on the sea today;

We’ve already seen quite a bit of it but as I wandered further on round on my route, I observed one of the ferries from the Ile de Chausey coming in to dock at the Marine Terminal.

Hordes of people on board today. And they must all have had a good time out at sea today.

woman playing accordion square maurice marland granville manche normandy francePlenty of entertainment on land too.

At the Square Maurice marland there was a woman sitting on a bench playing the accordion. I asked her if she would mind me photographing her, and she smiled and carried on playing.

This is one of the most bucolic events that I have witnessed since I’ve been here in Granville.

playing palet rue notre dame granville manche normandy franceAt least, it was until I went around the corner into the rue Notre Dame.

A group of young men were playing some sort of wierd game, so I went over to ask them about it.

The game is called palet and it’s played in several different regional variations. They were playing the Palet Breton.

This is a similar game to boules or petanque in that there’s a pion or target that is thrown onto the board, and each person stands 5 metres away from the board to throw in turn their discs onto the palet. And the closest to the pion wins.

In Palet Breton the discs are made of lead and about 50mm diameter. Other regions use different metals and/or different sizes.

And in the background two girls were playing open-air darts.

Tea tonight was out of a tin, but it was delicious nevertheless, especially with more apple pie and coconut sorbet.

yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceThere was time for a quick walk and a chat with a neighbour.

The crowds were still out and about on the sea. This rather beautiful yacht was sailing around in the Baie de Mont St Michel. And I must admit to admiring thr colour scheme.

And then back to the apartment, the sofa and the internet for the football.

So now it’s a long lie-in tomorrow – at least I hope so. I’ve had a couple of little crashes today so I reckon a good sleep will do me the world of good.

people on zodiac granville manche normandy france
people on zodiac granville manche normandy france

Thursday 9th May 2019 – BANE OF BRITAIN …

… strikes yet again.

All the way to LIDL and all the way back this morning, and I forgot my fitbit, didn’t I?

And I can’t blame being tired either, because I’d been to bed early and had a reasonably decent sleep.

Off on my travels too. I’d been staying in a hotel somewhere in a small town near Commentry with a couple of people and we’d been out looking for food. Eventually we came across a place that did couscous take-aways so we went and bought something from there. A while later I was back living in Les Guis so I had the idea of going back there to ask if they ever might need a delivery driver on occasions. I had to go home and print off a CV and I thought that while I was at it I’d print off a few extra copies and hand them out at similar places on the way. But the area was nothing like where I lived. It reminded me of the downhill slope of the road out of Clermont Ferrand past Vulcania and out to St Ours.

Unfortunately, I didn’t quite beat the final alarm, but it wasn’t far away. And after breakfast and a shower and general clean-up I headed for the shops.

council erecting election notice boards rue st jean granville manche normandy franceYou can tell that it’s election time very shortly.

The council has special poster boards that it erects at strategic places just before any election, and competing parties can paste their posters up on there instead of defacing the walls and doors of buildings.

It seems to work quite well, and helps to keep the place tidy.

LIDL didn’t come up with anything special at all, but at least the walk did me good and that’s the whole point of doing it.

conference of driving schools foyer des jeunes travailleurs granville manche normandy franceBack here, I started to put everything away but my attention was distracted by some goings-on on the car park at the back.

It looks as if there’s some kind of meeting of driving schools going on in the public rooms. There are about a dozen driving school cars parked out there.

No idea what is going on though.

Back at work, I had a busy morning. Back in December 2013 I’d been to Clermont-Ferrand and ended up in the war cemetery there where I’d seen a few war graves.

Something about it had piqued my interest today so I spent a couple of hours doing some research into the incidents that led to the deaths;

Surprisingly there’s a lot of information available on the internet, including contemporary press cuttings and photos, and so I was able to edit the page to include an enormous amount of factual information.

We were interrupted by lunch, of course, taken indoors yet again due to the high winds. I’ve spoken to a couple of neighbours today and we’ve all been saying that the Spring this year is much colder than usual.

Having updated the page from Clermont-Ferrand, I attacked the photos from my 2015 trip to Canada. All of October 2015, all of September 2015 and half of August 2015 are now collated to the dictaphone notes by the time I stopped for tea. It’ll probably be finished tomorrow with a bit of luck.

whitecaps waves granville manche normandy franceThere was the usual interruption for the afternoon walk in the wind.

And you can see just how windy it was by looking at the whitecaps on the waves down there

There was even someone out here wrestling with a kite, trying to make it stay aloft in the gale. He was having endless fun but I can’t say that he was particularly successful.

helicopter pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceAnd I was shaken out of my complacent reverie by a rattle from overhead.

Someone in the area has had his chopper out this afternoon, because the helicopter went flying by overhead. It’s painted yellow with a red stripe and that makes me think that it’s the air-sea rescue helicopter.

It’s impossible to say whether or not it’s been out on a mission, or whether it was just a training flight.

workmen shuttering monument resistance pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceHaving had a day off yesterday for the Bank Holiday, the workmen were back today at the site of the new war memorial to the Heroes of the Resistance.

By the looks of things, they were installing shuttering along the edges of where that had dug out and laid gravels.

I hope that this doesn’t mean that they are going to concrete it over. I’ll use concrete because I’m no good at paving, but I’m sure the Council can do better than that. The paved path that they just dug up was quite well-done.

coastguard post pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceSo I continued on my walk around the headland at the Pointe du Roc and had a quick glance at the Coastguard station to see if there was anything exciting going on.

There was someone out there on a ladder cleaning a piece of equipment. I’m not sure what it was though, whether it’s a CCTV camera or a siren or something.

But the concrete bunker underneath, that is roughly in the position which would correspond to where a mast anchored by that concrete cable-stay would be positioned.

pontoon grand beau temps port de granville harbour manche normandy franceRound now at the chantier navale to see what’s going on.

We seem to have acquired a different yacht today, the little one with the pale blue superstructure to the right of Grand Beau Temps.

The big pontoon dredger from the Vendee, St Gilles Croix de Vie is still down there and there seems to be someone working on her right now.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy franceFurther on around the footpath we can see down over into the harbour, and tied up to its quayside is our old friend Thora

She wasn’t down there in the harbour this morning when I went past on my way to LIDL, so she must have come in on the lunch-time tide.

And given the rather sharp turn-rounds these days, I wonder how long she’ll be staying

I came back here for my mug of hot chocolate and my brazil nuts and then continued on attacking the photos, with an interruption to wish Rosemary a “happy birthday”.

Tea was steamed veg and falafel with vegan cheese sauce. And I do have to say that it was the most delicious that I have ever made. I could eat that again – probably next week too for the second helping of falafel.

The apple pie and coconut sorbet that washed it down was delicious too.

donville les bains beach plat gousset granville manche normandy franceBack outside for my evening walk again, and despite the wind it was another pleasant evening.

And another evening where the colours were totally beautiful too and they have come out really well in this photo of the beach at Plat Gousset at Donville-les-Bains.

You can see how strong the wind is by looking at the waves. Tons of white caps and the waves are quite strong. Just imagine the power in those waves there, waiting to be harvested.

people on beach party plat gouset granville manche normandy franceAnd I wasn’t the only one out there enjoying the weather either.

There was a group of young people down there having a beach party and watching the sun slowly sink down to the horizon. It’s the kind of thing that takes me back 50 years.

As long as they were out of the wind they would be fine down there. It wasn’t quite so pleasant up here though on the walls.

seagull in nest granville manche normandy franceA few days ago, I noticed a pair of seagulls up to no good in broad daylight on the roof of a house across the road.

And even more recently the gulls have been diving down to pick up the grass offcuts that the council had been cutting.

And now we know what is going on, don’t we? It’s nesting time and it won’t be long before we start seeing the baby seagulls staggering around on the roofs of the houses.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy franceJust a final check in the harbour on the way home.

And Thora is still in the harbour, complete with her shipping container on board. Obviously the turn-round today isn’t that quick;

And round the corner I met the old lady who is Minette’s “mother”. We had quite a lengthy chat about cats, and even Minette came out to join in, although she remained rather aloof.

So back here and I don’t really feel like all that much. I’m going to have an early night and I’ll do the rest of this tomorrow morning.

helicopter pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
helicopter pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

Friday 12th October 2018 – WHAT WITH ONE …

… thing and another (and until you get started you’ve no idea just how many other things there are) It wasn’t far short of 03:00 when I finally settled down to sleep.

That’s not leaving me too much time when there’s an alarm to go off at 06:00 is it?

Mind you, there was plenty of time to go off and disappear on another nocturnal ramble. This time it was to do with a load of girls who were saying goodbye to each other and going their separate ways. And I still haven’t worked out what that was all about either.

No-one was really hungry this morning so we didn’t have much in the way of breakfast. But I had a shower and then we put the washing machine on the go. I’ve no idea where all of this washing comes from – it’s certainly not me.

Once we’d gathered our wits, which in my case takes much longer than it ought, we went for a walk in the wind.

maison christian dior museumgranville manche normandy franceGranville was formerly the home of the well-known fasion designer Christian Dior.

His childhood home, situated on the cliffs on the way out of town, has been converted into a museum of his life and works, and it’s the kind of place that most women would like to visit.

and so this was our destination for this morning.

swimmer diving platform plat gousset granville manche normandy franceWe went out along the walls of the old town and then down the steps onto the Plat Gousset.

Our attention was caught by a bicycle propped up against the wall with someone’s clothes draped over it.

So looking out to sea we saw someone perched up on the diving platform. And you can see how far in the tide is today by the fact that the platform is practically submerged.

swimmer plat gousset granville manche normandy franceAnd as we watched, our intrepid hero, clearly the grandson of Captain Matthew Webb, took to the windy water and started to swim back to the shore, cheered on by the onlookers.

As I remarked to one of the spectators, “he’s a braver man than I am” because I wouldn’t have liked to have been out there in those conditions.

It took him a while to make it back to shore though, although he never looked as if he was in any trouble.

sea rescue boat granville manche normandy franceHowever, we did have an interruption by some people who seemed to be rather concerned about what was going on.

Round the headland came the sea-rescue boat and it can’t have been a coincidence that they came on the scene just at that particular moment.

Of course, their services weren’t required at all but they were there nevertheless to keep an eye on the proceedings. Unless it REALLY was a coincidence.

casino plat gousset granville manche normandy franceIt was a beautiful day for photography though. The colours really were superb and the excellent light brought them out perfectly.

I must have taken dozens of photos down there and it’s very hard to choose which one was the best of the bunch.

So I’ll just post one photo here and you can imagine all of the rest.

cruise ship english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceTo reach the museum you have to climb up a couple of flights of steep stairs at the end of the promenade, but it’s well worth it, particularly on a day like this as the views from the top are stunning.

I was taking a few photos of the Ile de Chausey when I noticed a strange shape at the back of one of the islands of the archipelago.

So I photographed it with the view of cropping it and enlarging it back at home to see what it was.

cruise ship channel islands english channel granville manche normandy franceBut there was no need to do that really because I could see that it was a moving object. And just a minute or two later it burst out into the open sea.

Yes, we have another cruise ship cruising around the Chennel Islands. Not a particularly big one by the look of things, but interesting nevertheless.

I’ve not been able to find out which one it was either which is a shame.

normandy trader ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceThat wasn’t the only maritime activity either.

As we were walking along the Plat Gousset we had heard a hooter telling us that a ship was leaving port. And 20 minutes later our old friend Normandy Trader hove into view.

She mad a really good photograph as she steamed … “dieseled” – ed … off to Jersey with the Ile de Chausey in the background.

musee christian dior museum granville manche normandy franceThe grounds of the museum are really beautiful and you can see why the Diors chose this place to be their home with views like this all over the place.

When they moved here in 1905 or whenever it was, there was nothing but bare rock but Mrs Dior arranged for tons of soil to be brought to the premises and this was transformed into what we see today.

musee christian dior museum granville manche normandy franceThe young Christian Dior has aspirations to be an architect, and it is said that some of the features of the garden and some of the furniture were made to his own designs.

But beautiful as the place might be, it came into the hands of the Granville town council who are now responsible for the upkeep, and the place seems to be suffering under the budget cuts while public funds are stashed away to satisfy what many people consider to be Madame la Maire‘s somewhat “over-ambitious” plans to abandon the town’s heritage and transform it into a playground for the rich.

musee christian dior museum granville manche normandy franceSo abandoning our fears about whether the railway line will be torn up and the only way to arrive at the town will be by luxury yacht with crew of 25, we carried on our tour of the garden.

Granville has been dubbed by many people (especially Madame la Maire as “The Monaco of the North” and it’s true that mediterranean trees, palm trees, and even banana trees will grow here.

As I reassured Josée though, they aren’t native to the area but if they are planted and well-maintained, they will survive.

musee christian dior museum colletion doll dresses granville manche normandy franceThe interior of the building was quite beautiful too and Josée spent quite a while admiring the dresses and the perfumes.

My attention was caught by the collection of miniature dresses on show because you didn’t just buy a Dior dress for yourself and your daughter, you could even buy one for your daughter’s dolly and hat surely is the height of decadence.

On the way out of the building Josée stopped to sample some perfumes and another woman went to spray me with stuff thinking that I was her husband.

With not having had much breakfast, by now we were quite hungry where we made our way into town and the fritkot for lunch. And he was open too, not like Saturday night.

Josée had a plate of meat and salad while I had some chips and a veggie wrap. And it was all quite delicious too.

Back here, I had a little … errr … relax, and then we set off again.

At the Christian Dior museum they had told us that our tickets give us the right to a reduction in the admission fee to the Anacréon Museum of Modern Art down the road from me.

Modern Art isn’t my thing, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but Josée is quite into it and I have to keep my visitors happy. There wasn’t much in there that I would have liked to grace the walls of my apartment.

But Josée explained to me that I was understanding art incorrectly. If I simply want something to hang on a wall to look pretty then art isn’t for me. The purpose of art appreciation is to study and admire the artist’s technique.

So perhaps then art isn’t for me after all.

We stopped off for a drink on the way back and then went round for a long chat with Yves and Lily. They had a lot to say for themselves which is quite nice, but they also advised Josée against going musseling on the beach. Apparently there’s a virus going round and it’s not doing the shellfish any good at all.

Tea was some buckwheat crèpes with all kinds of stuff on (I had vegan cheese, onions, tomato, mushroom and garlic on mine) and to finish the day we saw the end of Seducing Doctor Lewis.

And after all of that, I’m exhausted.

casino plat gousset granville manche normandy france
casino plat gousset granville manche normandy france

casino plat gousset walled town granville manche normandy france
casino plat gousset walled town granville manche normandy france

rocks headland plat gousset granville manche normandy france
rocks headland plat gousset granville manche normandy france

bathing huts plat gousset granville manche normandy france
bathing huts plat gousset granville manche normandy france

lighthouse rocks ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
lighthouse rocks ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

waves breaking on rocks ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
waves breaking on rocks ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

lighthouse rocks ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
lighthouse rocks ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

normandy trader ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
normandy trader ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

cemetery donville les bains granville manche normandy france
cemetery donville les bains granville manche normandy france

garden shed muséé christian dior museum granville manche normandy france
garden shed muséé christian dior museum granville manche normandy france

musee christian dior museum granville manche normandy france
musee christian dior museum granville manche normandy france

rue de la falaise granville manche normandy france
rue de la falaise granville manche normandy france

Wednesday 5th September 2018 – THUS ENDS THE WEB

*************** THE IMAGES ***************

There are over 3,000 of them and due to the deficiencies of the equipment they all need a greater or lesser amount of post-work. And so you won’t get to see them for a while.

You’ll need to wait til I return home and get into my studio and start to go through them. And it will be a long wait. But I’ll keep you informed after I return.

Despite it being 00:15 when I finally toddled off to bed, it was yet another miserable night. Not that I didn’t sleep of course – far from it in fact – but I was wide awake again at 04:30.

At 05:30 I gave up the struggle and after the medication routine, came upstairs. Too dark as yet to take any real photographs which is a shame, but I did the best that I could;

It’s also really foggy outside yet again. I hope that this means that our trip ashore isn’t cancelled yet again.

Anyway, in the comfort of the ship’s lounge, with no-one else about at all, I did some more work, catching up on where I’d left off a while back, as well as organising a few photos for His Nibs.

Breakfast as usual and then we had to organise ourselves for our day out.

We’re just off the coast of Devon Island, the world’s largest uninhabited island at 59,000 km². It wasn’t always uninhabited. The Thule people had various settlements here and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had an outpost here and it was these that we had come to see.

Mind you, it might not be possible to see anything in this kind of weather because not only do we have a fog we have a blinding snowstorm and it’s going to be quite uncomfortable out there today.

We’ve been divided up into three groups – the advanced hikers who are going off to visit the two sites and climb the mountain pass in between, the intermediate group who are going to walk to the two sites but have a boat ride in between, and the easy people who are just going to be dropped off on the beach for a wander around.

Had there been any archaeological ruins up on top or had there been any chance of having a good view, I might possibly have forced my way up to the top. But in this weather I’m not going to even consider it.

Instead, seeing as I want to visit the two sites, I’m going to go the intermediate way.

So we changed into our wet-weather and winter clothing (and I still think that telephone boxes would be appropriate for this kind of thing) and boarded the boat.

I took Strawberry Moose with me so that he could have a good photo opportunity. One of the cleaners very kindly found me a large bin liner in which to carry him out of the rain.

Having organised ourselves on shore eventually at Morrin Point (whoever Morrin was when he was at home if he ever was), we set off. The experts on this trip were scattered around the various sites of interest and we started off by being given a lecture on lichens. Not the kind of thing that would be of much interest to me but nevertheless it’s all included in the deal.

The experts weren’t the only people to be scattered around. Our group perimeter was constantly guarded by trained polar bear observers. We had to stay within the perimeter and not move out. And the bear observers had to keep the bears outside.

Not that we saw any, but that’s a situation that won’t last over the next couple of weeks.

Next stop was much more exciting.

There’s a Thule village with several houses dating from the 14th or 15th Century here on the headland and this is what we had come to see.

Thule people had several criteria that decided where they were going to build their houses. A piece of flat land, some shelter from the winds and a view of the sea were things that were so important to them.

And this is exactly what we have here. All three criteria come in to play.

There’s a walrus haul-out here on an island in the bay, and there were several meat-stores that were clearly (according to the archaeologists) for the storage of walrus meat.

They kept it in here until they needed it, and it was probably well-putrefied by the time that it came to being used, but to disguise the smell the Thule stuffed the cracks of the walrus cache with aromatic herbs.

As for the houses, they were stone and sod, with some kind of support structure such as whale bones that would support a covering made of walrus hide. That’s very thick and, of course, weather-proof.

All visible trace of that is now long-gone but no archaeological excavation has taken place at this site as yet to give any definite opinion of what went on here.

From here back to the zodiacs to go on the next stage of the journey, watching the advanced hikers disappearing off into the distance.

Just down the bay there was another beach and there we alighted and had to trek up a hill. And in the boggy terrain, the wind and the rain, I was feeling the strain I can promise you that. I was glad that I didn’t go on the advanced hike.

From the top there was a good view of the old abandoned Royal Canadian Mounted Police post.

The story behind this post is all to do with the question of Sovereignty in the High Arctic.

Much of this area was explored and claimed by the British until about 1880 and then given to Canada, who chose not to continue the explorations.

As a result, we had other nations such as the Americans and Danes exploring the High Arctic in this region and there was a risk that they would claim the Arctic islands for themselves. As a result, it was necessary to establish some permanent settlements

As part of this process, here at Dundas Harbour in the 1920s the Royal Canadian Mounted Police established a Post here and it remained active until the funding crisis of the Great Depression brought about its closure.

The Mounties were supported by a few Inuit Special constables and their families and hence a small settlement sprang up. Some Inuit were resettled here from Cape Dorset but they didn’t stay long.

The job of the Mounties was to set up cairns on the outlying islands to claim them for Canada and to generally keep an eye out for interlopers.

But it was a lonely life and hard on the inhabitants. One Mountie committed suicide and another one, who had gone off hunting walrus, was later discovered dying with a gunshot wound, although no-one was able to work out what had happened.

They are buried in a small cemetery up on the hillside at the back of the post. This is claimed by some to be one of the most northerly Christian cemeteries in the world

After the end of World War II the Cold War caused the post to be reactivated, but it only lasted a couple of years. By 1951 the post had closed down again, this time for good.

Strawberry Moose arranged to have himself photographed here a couple of times for the record. And quite right too.

After that, we all headed back to the zodiacs and retraced our steps to the ship. And not before time either because in the three hours that we had been ashore, the bay was starting to ice up.

Once I’d divested myself of my wet-weather and winter gear, I came up to my room and had a nice hot shower and washed my undies. They’ll be dry pretty quickly because the cabins are quite hot when they switch on the heating.

Lunch came along too after this. And today they managed to find me some chick peas to go with my salad. That was very nice.

And I had to laugh (even though I know that I shouldn’t) at The Vanilla Queen. She went up there for her food and some woman came up to talk to her. Even as The Vanilla Queen was collecting her food, this woman insisted on continuing the conversation. The Vanilla Queen then started to eat her food with her fingers but the woman went on and on (and on).

Eventually she said “well, I suppose that I’d better let you eat your meal” and then carried on the chat for another 5 minutes. By this time The Vanilla Queen was totally frustrated and I was almost in tears of laughter – which I know that I shouldn’t have been, but there you are.

This afternoon we started a series of lectures but the first one was interrupted when a cry went up from the Bridge “Polar Bear at 11 o’clock”. The lecture room deserted itself in the same fashion as the cry of “Gold Strike at Bear Creek” did in Carry On Cowboy.

Some people, including The Vanilla Queen, saw the bear but Yours Truly didn’t. So it’s one each right now, for those of us keeping the score.

The lectures eventually carried on, with everything running late of course, and with a freezing audience too, because it was cold out there watching the pack ice and the ice floes drift past.

I missed some of it as, overwhelmed by sleep, I went to crash out. Only to find that the feeling had passed by the time that I got onto the bed.

For tea tonight they rustled up some tofu and vegetables, and we had an interesting chat with the team’s historian about all kinds of things.

There’s mixed news about our future plans. The wind is shifting round, which means that the weather will clear a little. Some of the places that we want to visit will be clear of ice, but the changing winds will have blown the ice across Lancaster Sound into the harbours of other places in which we want to visit.

It is, apparently, the worst year for ice for many years and will continue to confound all of our plans.

Later that night we went out on the upper deck in the snowstorm to watch the midnight sun and the ice floes, as we are now back in the ice again. She’s convinced that she saw a seal but it’s no use asking me. I could hardly see a thing out there.

But one thing is for sure. Following the appearance of His Nibs on shore today, his cover as a stowaway has been well and truly blown.

But he’s been accepted as a bona-fide traveller. He’s been given his own name badge and allowed to share my cabin officially. He was even invited to take control of the ship for a while.

Furthermore, it’s been proposed that the official Expedition photographer will take some official photos of him.

And that can’t be bad.

But there’s also been a dramatic change in situation here on board the Ocean Endeavour

I have rather foolishly … “he means “recklessly”” – ed … allowed a certain situation to develop completely out of hand and my emotions have run away with themselves, like they all-too-often have a tendency to do.

if I allow it to escalate any further it will be to my own detriment, as has been the case on many occasions.

I’m not very good at forcing decisions, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. My usual practice is to roll with the road and follow my star wherever it leads me, but this is neither the time nor the place for vacillation.

As Marillion once famously wrote –
“The time has come to make decisions
The changes have to be made”

And so I need to know precisely where I stand in this particular circumstance.

This evening there was the ideal opportunity – presenting itself in a moment of high tension. And so I grasped the nettle.

The result was not what I had optimistically hoped but it was what I had realistically expected, and it killed the situation stone-dead. Which is not really a bad thing, I suppose, because in all honesty I don’t really have the time for distractions. I have much more important things to be doing.

“Thus Ends The Web”

Friday 15th September 2017 – I’M BACK …

… on the road again today. My stay around the Coasts of Labrador has come to an end.

But I still remember a huge, mixed-up kind of ramble during the night where I was going around all of these little settlements and cabins out on the coast.

And that’s surprising because I had yet another bad night’s sleep. Like I say, they come in cycles … “ON cycles, you mean” – ed … and we’re in one right now.

So after breakfast and sorting myself out, I took my leave of my landlord and went to find the offices of “Them Days”. That’s a magazine that publishes traditional stories about the Labrador coast.

As you know, I’m still looking for the grave of the most famous man in Labrador. It’s here in the Happy Valley Cemetery, but that’s huge and I couldn’t find it the other day.

Much to my surprise they didn’t know where it was either. But a few ‘phone calls later and I was told “he’s in the United Church Cemetery” part”, which of course is the biggest part of the cemetery.

So after an hour, and with the help of a very vocal local yokel, we came up unsuccessful. But there was a phone number there so I called it. And much to my surprise, the woman there didn’t know where he was either.

But it did lead to an interesting conversation. She asked my name – which I duly gave.
“Eric Hall? Let me see – you were in church on Sunday weren’t you?”
Our Hero – “did you see a thunderbolt then?”.
Anyway she promised to phone me back (and Josée’s phone is a godsend on this trip).

grave of gilbert blake happy valley cemetery labrador canada september septembre 2017While she was making “further enquiries” I continued to search, and all of a sudden I came across it.

I missed it because I was probably expecting something much grander, seeing how his name was on everyone’s lips as the most famous man in Labrador 100 years ago.

Here then lies Gilbert Blake, the man who rescued the remains of the disastrous Leonidas Hubbard party and who accompanied Mina Hubbard on her trip into the interior to complete her husband’s work.

Ha also led countless subsequent exploring parties into the interior of Labrador and was never given credit for much of what was “discovered”.

The lady from the Church phoned me back to say where it was, and to my dismay, I had to turn down the opportunity of a lifetime.
“I spoke to Gilbert Blake’s daughter. If you would like to see her to chat, she’s available”.

But it’s 550 kms to Labrador City and it has to be done before dark. I was obliged to turn down the opportunityand I doubt that I will ever have the possibility again.

aeroplane in garden goose bay happy valley labrador canada september septembre 2017Usually, this rubbish is littered with photos of old cars in people’s gardens. But we’ve never had a photo of a garden with an old aeroplane in it.

I’ve no idea what it is, but it’s small, an early jet-fighter type of plane, and it won’t ever fly again this side of a miracle.

Labrador is certainly a different place from that respect. Nothing ordinary here.

muskrat falls labrador canada september septembre 2017Having fuelled up, I hit the road. About an hour later than I was intending.

About 20 miles outside the town there’s a cleft in the hills where you can see down to the works that are taking place at Muskrat Falls.

As I’ve said before, I’m not going into the rights and wrongs of the project – enough has already been said – but anyone who saw the photos of my first trip to Labrador will seethings differently now.

trans labrador highway canada september septembre 2017So off we go down the Trans-Labrador Highway into the interior.

And you’ll notice that it’s not quite autumn yet. The leaves on the deciduous trees haven’t “turned”

And you’ll notice a few changes to the highway too since we first came here. You’ll remember what a struggle it was over some of the worst roads in the world.

Today, it’s an asphalted, paved highway all the way to Labrador City.

churchill river labrador canada september septembre 2017With all of the work going on for the Muskrat falls project, a lot of trees have been removed and rock blasted away.

This opens up a whole new vista – views like this one of the Churchill River would never have been possible 10 years ago had they not blasted away some rock to put in a pylon to carry the cables.

You can see where the evergreen trees have been pulled out, and the first growth of deciduous arctic willow that is growing back in its place.

innu meeting place trans labrador highway canada september septembre 2017It’s that time of year, isn’t it?

In a week or so’s time it will be the annual tribal meeting of the Innu people, and they are preparing the site ready for the gathering.

I would ordinarily tell you what it’s called, but the problem with Innu names that it’s quite something to read them, never mind remember them.

I talked about the road just now. The one that we are actually on is the third attempt.

It dates from about 2011 – 2012 and it follows pretty closely in most places the line of the second road that we took in 2010.

tote road trans labrador highway canada september septembre 2017The earlier road is what they called the “Tote Road” and dates from the period after the occupation of the Goose Bay air base by the Canadian Air Force.

If you thought that we had a struggle in places back in 2010, you can barely imagine what it must have been like in the 1970s.

The road was 10 times worse, single track, and following the contours rather than being graded across the valleys and though cuttings.

trans labrador highway canada september septembre 2017But regardless of your opinions, you’ll have to admit that they have done an excellent job of the new highway.

You can see it (and the power transmission cables) disappearing away over the hill in the distance, and it goes on for ever in just this kind of condition.

On the old dirt road, with the 70kph speed limit, in some places it was more like 70 kilometres per week. Here today, it’s a mere 80 kph but with no obstructions to slow you down.

But you slow down every now and again to take a few photos.

fore damaged forest trans labrador highway canada september septembre 2017You’ve seen the scenery before but I bet that you’ve seen nothing like this.

There are miles and miles of forest where it seems that we have had a major forest fire fairly recently. You cans ee that some of the trees are scorched and blackened, and others have been completely destroyed

The whole of the place is littered with miles and miles of scenery just like this.

emeril station trans labrador highway canada september septembre 2017About 80 or so kms (I can’t remember now) from Labrador City I pull into Emeril Station to see what’s happening.

This is on the line from Sept Iles to Schefferville and serves the iron mines and the Innu community out there.

We have a line of wagons waiting for a locomotive, and also this dismantled dumper lorry – one of the huge 50-tonne ones- waiting to make their way north.

But I don’t see any locomotives, although I can hear a whistle away in the distance on the line to Wabush and Labrador City.

autumn colours trans labrador highway canada september septembre 201750 kilometres or so outside Labrador City, we can see that autumn has finally arrived here.

We’re deep in the interior now, and on the north-facign slopes exposed to the arctic conditions, they will be the first to catch the cold air.

Not quite the brilliant colours we are used to, but we are a couple of weeks earlier than usual this year.

Before I had left Happy Valley, my landlord had given me an address for B&B in Labrador City. I phoned her (thanks again, Josée) and she did indeed have a room free.

It took some finding with the roadworks but it was worth the effort. Not only was it the best place where I’ve stayed, it was also, believe it or not, the cheapest. I’ll be coming back here again, that’s for sure.

And hats off to Strider. He struggles on fuel as you know, but since he’s had his overdrive fixed, he seems to be a little better.

So much so that instead of the maximum 420-km distance that he seemed in the past to be able to travel, we’ve just come a mammoth 542.7 kilometres and although he’s below a quarter of a tank, the orange light hasn’t come on.

It is a good road these days – 80kph with the cruise control on all the way – and it’s still not what I would like, but it’s a vast improvement all the same and Strider can be proud of himself.

Thursday 14th September 2017 – I’M NOT SLEEPING …

… very well at all just now. It was another pretty miserable night from that point of view and I didn’t have much sleep.

I’d been on my travels too, but no idea where to because it’s all gone out of my head … “beacuse there’s nothing in there to keep it in” – ed … now.

Another thing that I didn’t do is to take my tablets. Not when I have an early start like today where I need to be on the road by 08:00.

jock campbell motor boat north west river hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017And I arrived in North West River at 08:45, beating my local guide by about 30 seconds.

While he was busy provisioning the motor boat, I was busy provisioning myself. We are going quite far today – a lot farther than WE DID AT CARTWRIGHT.

It’s for this reason that I need to stock up with the supplies because there’ nothing whatever where we are going.

north west river hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017And so leaving North West River behind us, we head off down Hamilton Inlet.

We’re heading due east, in the general direction of Rigolet and the open sea.

But we’ll be turning off a long way before then – going probably about a quarter of the way down and then turning off to the north.

butter and snow hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017The first settlement that we pass is the rather enigmatically-named “Butter and Snow”.

I’ve no idea why it was so named, although it is known that the family who lived there, called Rich (although I have seen it spelt “Ritch”) owned a cow.

There was still a permanent resident there a couple of years ago, and he would be here today had he not died in a skidoo accident.

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017While you admire the absolutely stunning scenery of the Hamilton Inlet, maybe I should fill you in on a little history of Inner Labrador.

In the late 18th and early 19th century the Hudsons Bay Company recruited Scotsmen mainly from the outlying islands of the North, to come and work here.

That explains the proliferation of family names such as McLean, Campbell, Baikie, Goudie and the like.

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017There was a very strong French-Canadian presence here too and a rival company from Paris – Revillon Frères – set up competing posts in the area.

That explains the presence of French family names, the most famous of which is Michelin.

The job of these Europeans was to liaise with the natives and deal with the furs that the Innu and Inuit brought in.

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Very often, being left to their own devices out of season, these “European” people would go off on their own to spy out the possibilities of the land.

Many chose to stay here after their term of engagement ended, and they quite often set up on their own account as trappers and fishermen.

But the fact is that they all would have died, because the climate here and the living conditions can be vicious.

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017The only thing that saved them were encounters with the Inuit – or occasionally Innu – women.

Most of the men took native women as partners and it was they who showed them how to survive in the extreme Labrador climate.

Each family would settle in its own cove or river mouth, and that was where they would fish, and hunt and trap in the hinterland.

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Occasionally though, you might find a mixture of families living in the same cove.

What might have happened is that a family only had daughters, and sons from neighbouring families would marry the daughters.

These men would stay on to inherit the traplines of the wife’s family, rather than taking the daughters back to their own coves.

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017And the fishing and trapping lifestyle was carried on until, I suppose, the last 60 or 70 years.

Firstly the huge American air base and secondly the Government’s controversial resettlement programme resulted in the exodus.

But everyone here who is native to the area is what one would call a Métis – the offspring (sometimes many generations removed) of a “European” male and a “native” female.

A former phrase used quite commonly until about 50 years ago is now considered to be offensive

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017People still come out here regularly to the cabins of their ancestors, whether for weekends or holidays.

And a limited amount of trapping is still carried on. There’s a fur buyer in Goose Bay and a couple of fur auctions in Montreal and Winnipeg.

But mainly it’s to escape from the towns and return to the olden days.

north west islands hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Rather than take the direct route, because there’s quite a storm brewing up in the Inlet, we are hugging the coast.

And threading our way through the offshore islands – the North West Islands in fact.

According to the censuses of 1935 and 1945, these were inhabited by the “Baikie” family. Hordes of them in fact.

mulligan hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017So after about 90 minutes of sailing (or, rather, motoring) we arrive at our destination.

This is the abandoned settlement of Mulligan, and it’s probably the most famous of all of the settlements out here.

And its claim to fame is that is was the home of possibly the most famous person in Labrador – Lydia Campbell.

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017I’ve come here with one of Lydia’s descendants. He’s going to show me around the settlement and later on, we may well be going to meet her.

And so we moor the boat up an the bank and step ashore – back into almost 200 years of history because the “Campbell” of our story is a late arrival.

He didn’t turn up from the Orkneys until the early 1840s

mulligan hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Mulligan was a huge settlement by the standards of the day. At one time there were 20 families living here and the settlement had its own school.

By the time of the census of 1935 there were 6 families of 32 people, all Baikies and Campbells.

And in 1945 there were 8 families of 39, and we have acquired a family called “Chaulk”.

lydia campbell family cabin mulligan hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017the hump of earth that you can see in the foreground is said to be the site of the cabin of the more famous Campbells.

Of course, it’s long-gone now, just as they are. But it’s still interesting to see the site where they are said to have lived, even if there is very little left to see.

No memorial of course, because it’s not exactly on the tourist track here.

campbells cabin mulligan hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Of the more modern descendants of Lydia Campbell, that is their own former family home from before the relocation.

It still receives some occasional use and is currently undergoing a process of renovation.

Who knows? We might even end up with some more permanent residents. Wouldn’t that be interesting? But it’s unlikely.

By the time of the turn of the 20th Century most people had forsaken the traditional log cabin for a wood-plank house.

original cabin mulligan hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017And then promptly realised their error, for nothing is as suitable to the Labrador environment than a traditional log cabin.

But one family has kept its original log cabin, and kept it in excellent condition too, regularly painted and maintained.

This is what all of these villages would have looked like 150 years ago – minus the paint of course.

mulligan hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017By now, after all of our issues, it was lunchtime. So we sat in the shade and ate our butties.

I was regaled with stories of life out here 70 years ago, and life in Labrador in general.

But one interesting fact that I was told was that the red berries – the partridgeberries – were unknown in Mulligan when the place was in permanent occupation.

mulligan hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Today, there are partridgeberries everywhere all over the ground. You can’t move for stepping on them.

There’s something else around here that you can’t move without stepping in.

I can personally vouch for the fact that it’s a lie – bears DO NOT go to the bathroom in the woods.

wind turbine solar panels mulligan hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Before we move off from here, there’s just something else to see. And it’s how Mulligan has been brought into the 21st Century.

One of the cabins here has not only an array of solar panels but a wind turbine too. Just like me back home.

So let’s hear it for the solar panels. Hip, hip, array!

mulligan cemetery hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Now comes the exciting bit – we have to get across there to thefar bank of the river.

And in case you haven’t noticed, there’s a sand bar blocking the passage for the boat. I have a feeling that the next part of our adventure is going to be very cold and very wet.

And I don’t have waders.

mulligan cemetery hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017We’ve made it across to the sand bar anyway, but our adventure is only just beginning.

We now have to reach across the creek to the shore and I’ll tell you something for nothing – this water is deep and it’s freezing cold.

And I have no footwear either – no point in having that soaking wet.

mulligan cemetery hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017So up to our waists almost we were obliged to wade.

And then a good trek through the woods in bare feet, which was probably not a good idea.

But we made it all the same, and here we are at Mulligan Cemetery, the home of the most famous woman in Labrador – certainly in the 19th Century.

grave of lydia campbell sketches of labrador life mulligan cemetery hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017and here is the heroine of our story, Lydia Campbell.And what an effort it has been to reach her grave.

She was born in 1818 and in 1848 in a second marriage she married Daniel Campbell, not long out from the Orkneys with the HBC.

Family tradition has it that Campbell knew absolutely nothing about life as a “liveyer” and Lydia taught him absolutely everything.

Later, as she grew older, she lamented about the loss of traditional “liveyer” skills, apparent even in her own lifetime.

As a result, a visiting clergyman encouraged her to write a book about the traditional liestyle of a “liveyer” woman and the result – Sketches of Labrador Life by a Labrador Woman is probably the most significant book ever to come out of Labrador

druscilla campbell spanish influenza victim mulligan cemetery hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017My guide took me to see the grave of his grandmother, Druscilla. I’d seen from the various censuses that his grandfather had lived alone with his children and I had wondered why.

And the date on the tombstone gives us a clue as to the cause of death.

November 12th 1918. That was at the height of the Spanish Influenza epidemic. It wasn’t as overwhelming down here as on the coast but nevertheless it had quite an impact

anonymous inuit bodies mulligan cemetery hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Of all of the other graves here in the cemetery, this one is quite important. In here are buried what are believed to be three bodies

One night, part of the bank underneath someone’s house collapsed and a pile of bones, believed to be of three people, were washed out.

They were sent to St John’s where there were examined and said to be “Inuit bones of historical date”. They were reburied here in 2004.

storm at sea hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017We’d spent so long in the cemetery that the tide had come in quite a way, and if we thought that it was deep coming in, it was even deeper going out and I was perishing.

Not only that, the wind had got up and the Inlet was now a churning mass of waves . We were going to be in for a rough passage.

Our trip to the abandoned settlement at Pearl River was summarily abandoned and we turned back.

But what made my day, and made me quite proud was my guide who tol me, afer all of the wrestling that we had done with the boat and the river “you’re some tough cookie”.

storm hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017We were heading back that way, in the general direction of North West River, and that was what was awaiting us.

In fact there were several storm clouds building up all around us

They do say that Labrador is very much like the Auvergne in the respect that “if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes – it’ll soon be different.

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017It was round about here that we had the legendary moment of
Our Hero – “is that a sailing boat over there?”
Local guide “it’s an island with a couple of trees growing on it”
Note to self – arrange appointment with opticians on return

But then, I suppose, if I’d been able to see what I was doing, I would never have set out.

sabesquacho hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Our next stop, which was going to be our last one given the weather, was the settlement of Sabesquacho.

Or however you might like to spell it because I’ve seen it spelt a thousand different ways

There never was an approved way of spelling many of the place round here in the 19th and 20th Centuries and people wrote down the names as they heard them

sabesquacho hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017This was the home of the “Michelin” family – or, at least, one of their homes because they had spread out quite a way down the bay.

My guide told me that at one time there had been as many as 12 children (and presumably the adults too) living in that house.

Big families were not necessarily prolific here though. You’ll find many families with 6 or 7 children but the death rate was appalling.

Despite this being a British colony until 1949, there was no Government Health Service here until modern times. From about 1900 until the 1980s you had the “Grenfell Volunteers” and prior to that, there was nothing at all.

sabesquacho hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017As well as the Michelins, there were a few Pottles living here in the vicinity in the censuses of 1935 and 1945

And of course we still have the summer cabins for the families, mot of whom resettled in North West River.

The cabin on the left is said to be a cabin of former permanent occupation but the one on the right is more modern.

And you’ll notice the ty bach on the extreme left. No plumbing of any sort here.

north west river hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Having made a race of it when conditions allowed, we made it back to North West River, beating the torrential downpour by a matter of minutes.

There were some kids playng around on the quayside when we arrived. “I wonder how long it will be before one of them falls in” I said

“Pushed in, more like” muttered my companion

And so considerably lighter in weight and considerably wetter, I headed for home. My wallet was considerably lighter too but I may not be coming here again and I needed to make this visit now

avro vulcan bomber goose bay military airport labrador canada september septembre 2017Final trip for today was to Goose Bay airport.

My landlord had told me where there were several planes on display, including an Avro Vulcan “V-bomber” of the 1950s and 60s

Of course I didn’t want to miss out on seeing that and so I took a deviation on the way home topay it a visit. After all, I remember these from my childhood on the beach at Ramsgate

football ground goose bay military airport labrador canada september septembre 2017and remember yesterday when we saw the football ground in town?

Here, would you believe, is one on the air base. And it’s in much better conition too.

Actually, it’s no surprise really to find a football ground here. There were various branches of NATO air forces(British, Dutch, German) who came here during the war so I imagine that it’s something to do with them.

Everywhere else that I wanted to visit in town was closed by the time that I returned wo I went back to my digs, had a coffee and shower, and washed my clothes in the washing machine.

Tea was potatoes, veg and onion gravy made into a kind of soup, and then an early night. I was totally exhausted.

Wednesday 13th September 2017 – IN THE HAPPY VALLEY CEMETERY …

police exhumation order happy valley cemetery labrador canada september septembre 2017

  1. Our Hero, looking for the grave of Gilbert Blake, arguably the most famous Labradorian of the early 20th Century
  2. Man in digger, digging a hole
  3. two men in suits, watching aforementioned man in digger digging aforementioned …

Our Hero, quite casually and lightheartedly to man in digger –
“what are you doing? Putting them in or digging them up?”
Two men in suits – “We’re police officers. Would you mind leaving the scene immediately?” (You could easily imagine the “or else …”)
Later that evening on Goose Bay Radio “following a court order obtained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, an exhumation was carried out in Happy Valley Cemetery this afternoon …”

Yes, it’s all been happening here today, hasn’t it?

Last night was another rather restless night.

I seem to be having them in cycles just now – a batch of good nights followed by a batch of not-so-good nights. And it’s annoying in a way, but can’t be helped.

But I did manage to go out on my travels last night, which is a good thing. It involved my red Cortina estate XCL 465X. The back axle had locked up and so I had taken it for repair. When they opened the halfshaft, a pile of water, not oil, flooded out.
“Ohh, we’ll have to wait for another 41 rinses then” said the mechanic. That filled me full of foreboding because that was going to work out to be extremely expensive and I wasn’t sure whether I could afford the cost of the repairs.

It was nevertheless a struggle to leave the bed and when I did finally make it to the living room, mine host was already there preparing breakfast.

I waited quite a while for my tablets to work and then I joined my housemates for breakfast. And this is the first place on my travels where I have ever been offered soya milk. Apparently mine host’s wife drinks it.

north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017Once I’d gathered my wits about me, Strider and I set out for North West River to see what had happened to the guy whom I was supposed to meet.

At the Labrador Interpretation Centre, I met the lady who had been so nice to me two years ago. To my surprise, she remembered me.

And as for my contact, he’s “gone to his cabin until Friday”.

However, as a stroke of luck, she reckoned that she might know the person to whom my contact was intending to introduce me.

And the reason why it should have been yesterday was because today, he was going … exactly to where I wanted to go.

But she took my number and promised that she would have him telephone me as soon as he returned.

thomas blake 1918 spanish influenza victimcemetery north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017There are three cemeteries in North West River.

The influenza victims are said to be in the earliest one, but all that I could find was this headstone of Thomas Blake, aged 59, died in November 1918.

It’s hard to say what the day is, but if it’s the 12th, that might well tie in with what we know. The Sagoma with its infected crew arrived in Cartwright on 20th October and the infected Harmony arrived at Okak on 4th November.

cemetery north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017But in the cemeteries, all of the old original “trapper” families of Hamilton Inlet are represented.

Here in this photograph, we have, for example, a couple of Meshers from Rigolet, a Michelin and a MacDonald.

The origins of the “Michelin” name are unclear. But there was a French trading post here on the south side of the river where Sheshatshiu stands today, and it might be connected with that.

sarah michelin north west river cemetery labrador canada september septembre 2017Plenty of Blakes and Baikies as you might expect, and also dozens of Goudies.

This is the grave of Sarah Michelin, née Goudie and her name certainly rings a bell, although I can’t think for the life of me why.

In fact, everyone who is anyone is here – except of course for Gilbert Blake, even though he will for ever be associated with North West River.

murdoch mclean north west river cemetery labrador canada september septembre 2017Now I know that I shouldn’t smile about events in e cemetery, but sometimes it’s just not possible to stop.

Murdoch McLean, a beloved husband and father is buried here. And it reminds me of the American visiting the cemetery in Arbroath.

“Here Lies Jock McTavish, a loyal husband and devoted father”
“Now isn’t that ust like the Scots? Burying three men in one grave?”

grave jody mae powell vicky lee powell north west river cemmetery labrador canada september septembre 2017But this next grave is enough to wipe the smile off anyone’s face.

Two young children aged almost three and almost four. Same surname, but different parents. probably related though died on the same day and buried in the same grave.

That’s the kind of tragedy that always seems to befall isolated communities like this. And the cemetery was full of the graves of small children.

paddon memorial north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017This is the “Paddon memorial” in North West River.

Labrador was a British colony – not part of Canada – until 1949 but was treated even worse than Africa, with no infrastructure and no medical service.

It was a charitable organisation – the International Grenfell Organisation – that provided medical services here. And then only from the early years of the 20th Century.

It was Dr Harry Paddon and his wife – and later their son William – who came here from the IGA to deal with the health issues of the “liveyers” and the Innu and Inuit communities.

They are still fondly remembered in the community, despite Harry having on one famous occasion blotted his record by describing some trappers as “backyard bunny hunters”

beach north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017Having done the tour of the cemeteries I went down to the beach.

The beach here in North West River is quite famous, being one of the nicest accessible beaches in this part of Canada.

But I would be very wary about bringing your bikini or your cozzy here because it’s not exactly sun-bathing weather and the water is freezing.

cable car hudsons bay company north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017For lunch I went to sit on the dockside to look at the river.

But there’s also what was the Hudsons Bay Company offices over there, and also the North West River terminal of the chairlift.

The bridge here is of comparatively recent construction. Prior to that we had the chairlift, and prior to that it was either kayak, canoe or ice skates.

Having had a little … errr … relax, I decided to go for a stroll in the warm sun.

tipi north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017While I was walking along the boardwalk towards the tipi, I finally had my telephone call.

The person for whom I was looking was now back from up-country and I told him what I was hoping to do.

This led to quite a lengthy discussion and we worked out a cunning plan for tomorrow. I need to be back here for 09:00 and that means yet another night in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

trappers memorial north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017The highlight of North West River is the Trappers’ memorial. The whole raison d’etre of the town was as a centre for the trappers.

The Hudsons Bay company had a store here where trappers would trade their pelts for supplies.

And if you were in dispute with the Hudsons Bay Company, as many people were, the French company Revillon Frères had a rival post on the opposite bank of the river.

log cabin north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017Now, isn’t this the right kind of place to live?

In my opinion it’s the most beautiful place in the whole of North West River in which to live.

Believe it or not, it’s not all that old. It was erected in 1995. And it’s not a kit home either, but constructed out of local materials by local craftsmen.

And they can construct something for me at any time they like.

greenhouse west river labrador canada september septembre 2017You’ll remember that yesterday we visited one of the very few farms here in Labrador. Today we’re having a crafty peek at someone’s greenhouse.

I’ve absolutely no idea what it is that he’s growing in there – there was no-one around to ask – but I certainly admire anyone who gives gardening a go around here.

Mind you, having said that, it was quite the thing around here when the Grenfell Association ran the show before Confederation in 1949.

One of the things that I wanted to do was to take a drive down to North West Point on the southern side of the river.

This was the site of an American radio post in the 1950s and is something of an environmental disaster because the US Military cared nothing about the territory of Labrador.

A Canadian Government Environmental Report of 28th November 2011 “highlights chemicals of concern with concentrations exceeding the applicable criteria”.

access road north west point labrador canada september septembre 2017I’d done some research to find out where the access road might be, but unfortunately, it seems to have been all ploughed up and impassible.

I wasn’t going to risk taking Strider down there and these days, I’m not up to doing a hike of any distance in these kind of conditions.

It looks as if I shall have to forget this one.

terrington basin north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017Instead, I continue down the gravel road, and I’m not disappointed by what I find.

I could show you 10 photos that I took from this spot but instead I’ll let you have a glimpse of just one – which I think might be of the docks and seaplane base down at Terrington Basin.

That’s where the ships come in, and where we saw the Fairlane the other day.

de havilland DHC6-300 C-GNFZ twin otter creek labrador canada september septembre 2017Talking of the seaplane base, which is at Otter Creek, we’re in luck yet again. Here on the slipway is Airborealis’ C-GNFZ.

She’s a De Havilland DHC6-300 – a type that is much better-known as the “Twin Otter” and is one of the more successful low-capacity commercial passenger planes, ideal for travel out here.

She was built in 1980 and as you can see, she’s still going strong.And, for a twin Otter, quite appropriately here at Otter Creek

otter creek camp labrador canada september septembre 2017But an earlier claim to fame for Otter Creek took place here.

Prior to the air base there was very little here at Goose Bay. The people who came here to build the air base had nowhere to live and so set up a squatters’ camp here on this spot.

They were soon moved on by the US authorities, but it’s here that it all started.

football ground goose bay labrador canada september septembre 2017And here’s a thing!

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have more than a passing interest in football grounds. And here is probably one of the most unlikely football grounds that you will ever encounter.

And, more to the point, who does the team play against? I can’t imagine that there’s much in the way of opposition around here.

And from here, I had my encounter in the cemetery.

Back here, I had more baked beans, baked potatoes and vegan sausages and yet another early night.

And it’s not as if I’ve done very much either.

Monday 11th September 2017 – WHILE I WAS SITTING …

… down drinking my coffee after breakfast, there was a tap on the door. Funny sense of humour, this guy here has.

But seriously, “come on – the wind has changed. Put your gear on!”.

cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017So dressed in my flotation jacket and sea boots, I waddled down to the waterside and fell into the boat – which, I suppose, is better than falling out of it.

The tide was quite high up and so there wasn’t much difficulty in leaving here, even though we had an extra passenger.

A local Inuit woman had come along as a guide and to tell me a little about where we are going.

The sea wasn’t as rough as it might have been and so we could go comparatively far out to sea, and we made good time too.

main tickle cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017Away in the distance just here is Main Tickle, which we saw yesterday from up on the top of Flagstaff Hill.

That was a summer fishing station used by people from the nearby winter settlements for fishing for cod and salmon.

However, there has been a cod moratorium since 1992 and salmon fishing is limited today.

Instead of catching barrel after barrel in an unlimited supply, people are allowed to catch just four per year and you aren’t going to make a living out of that.

north river cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017Further down the coast is another summer fishing station.

This is North River and it was formerly a permanent settlement. However it was one of the places that fell victim to the controversial resettlement programme.

Most people moved to Cartwright and just come out here when time and conditions allow.

furdustrandir wonderstrand wunderstrand porcupine strand cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017And here I am, with my feet ashore.

After much binding in the marsh and many vicissitudes, I’ve finally made it out this morning to the Porcupine Strand.

It has the nickname of “Wonderstrand” or “Wunderstrand” because, believe me, it is wonderful, but it also has another claim to fame.

furdustrandir wonderstrand wunderstrand porcupine strand cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017If you were to read the Norse sagas about the voyages to “Vinland” you’ll read several very good descriptions about the areas to whch they sail.

The Norse make several references to the beautiful, long white sandy beaches here – the Furdustrandir – that so impressed them.

They also refer to a prominent cape to the north, and to the south they mention a great many inlets and islands.

furdustrandir wonderstrand wunderstrand porcupine strand cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017A quick look at maps and aerial photographs will identify many sites that appear to correspond to the description that they give.

But in my opinion there’s one place that stands out above all of the others.

I have said for a long time that the 50-odd kilometre stretch of beach known as the “Porcupine Strand” fits all of the descriptions that I have seen.

furdustrandir wonderstrand wunderstrand porcupine strand cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017It has been one of my lifetime’s ambitions to come here, and so regardless of the expense, I’ve chartered a boat, a driver, an Inuit guide and here I am.

I probably won’t ever have another chance to come out here, and I shudder to think how much it’s going to cost me, but ask me if I care.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance and I wasn’t going to miss out.

north river cemetery furdustrandir wonderstrand wunderstrand porcupine strand cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017as I said earlier, there was formerly a permanent settlement out here.

And where there has been a permanent settlement there was inevitably a cemetery, and so it is with North River.

This was another place that I was keen to visit while we were out here and so my guide took me along

ephraim davis killed by dogs north river cemetery furdustrandir wonderstrand wunderstrand porcupine strand cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017Many years ago, I read a discussion about the Labrador coast. A Finnish anthropologist called Vaino Tanner who carried out research on the Labrador coast in the late 1930s had claimed that a small child had been killed in a Labrador village by a pack of dogs.

His critics hotly disputed that. They were insisting that dogs just wouldn’t do this kind of thing.

And so enlarge the photograph here by clicking on it, have a read, and make up your own mind.

victims of spanish influenza epidemic north river cemetery furdustrandir wonderstrand wunderstrand porcupine strand cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017But as I have been saying before, the Spanish Influenza epidemic that hit the Labrador coast in November 1918 was said to have killed off 10% of the population.

Here in North River Cemetery are the graves of a considerable number of people, many members of the same families, who died in November 1918.

While there is no evidence here to confirm that they died in the epidemic, the dates of death and their family relationships are very suggestive.

isaac lemare north river cemetery furdustrandir wonderstrand wunderstrand porcupine strand cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017This is the grave of Isaac Lemare. And if you notice carefully, his cross is different from the other contemporary crosses and heis buried outside the limits of the cemetery.

The thought that went through my head was that maybe with a name like Isaac, he was of the Jewish faith and so was not entitled to the benefits of “consecrated ground”.

My guide however did suggest a couple of other reasons why he might have been so buried and I’ve really no definite idea.

charles davis north river cemetery furdustrandir wonderstrand wunderstrand porcupine strand cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017This isn’t actually in the cemetery but on the headland overlooking the sea.

You will have noticed the number of people called Davis whom we have been encountering on our travels around Cartwright.

This monument is to Charles Davis, who is said to have come over here from Wales and was the father of the “clan”.

furdustrandir wonderstrand wunderstrand porcupine strand cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017So back on the boat and out to sea again.

And although this photograph doesn’t represent what it is that you see with your own eyes, you’ll notice clearly the beach and how bright it looks from a good way offshore.

Anyone passing by this way would immediately notice the whiteness of the sand, and this is another justification of my theory.

prominent headland furdustrandir wonderstrand wunderstrand porcupine strand cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017The Norse sagas make much about a prominent headland in the vicinity of the furdustrandir and there’s at least one reference to a keel-shape.

I’m not quite sure that you’ll find any more prominent keel-shaped headland than this anywhere along any coast.

It’s an island though, and the sagas make no reference to that.

pack's harbour labrador canada september septembre 2017On our way back we took a little diversion out to what at one time was one of the largest outlying settlements on the island and where my driver spent many happy summers as a kid.

And when I stood up to take a photograph my hat flew off with the wind into the sea.

However, a keen-eyed guide and a boathook came to the rescue and I was restored to my headgear.

labrador canada september septembre 2017This is _ or was – the settlement of Pack’s Harbour. Over there are said to be the bunkhouses of the “stationers”.

These were the people who came over from Newfoundland in the summer to live on the island to fish.

There would be three kinds of people out here – the “floaters” who lived on their schooners, and the “stationers” who would be dropped off for the summer by the coastal boats such as the Kyle and the Ethie

labrador canada september septembre 2017The third class of people would be the “liveyers” – the ones that lived permanently on the Labrador coast.

Some would be permanent residents throughout the year, which was a pretty grim way of doing things.

But most would live in winter quarters on the mainland where they could attend their trap lines in winter and come here to their cabine for the fishing in the summer.

labrador canada september septembre 2017That little red building over there – that was the village store.

And seeing as how there was a “Fequet” listed on the censuses here for 1935 and that he had a “servant”, it’s a fair bet to say that the store was one of those operated by the Fequets.

My driver told me numerous stories of going in there for “candy bars” when he was a kid.

labrador canada september septembre 2017And so after a really good sail around for almost three hours, we set our sails … “you mean “our outboard motors” – ed … for home.

We managed that without being sunk or marooned, and once I divested myself of my marine equipment I came in here for a coffee … and somehow don’t remember much for an hour or so.

After lunch I was out for another hour or two. But I blame that on all of the exercise, the sea air and the fact that I’d had a restless night – and I fell down the steps in the caravan going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, which didn’t help much either.

TOTGA was there though- she was having a row with her boyfriend, and so was Terry. He had a pile of stuff that he wanted to givee me and was talking about having to empty his van, so when I went out of my front door (we were in Shavington by the way) it was all piled up against the wall of the front of the house – several really heavy ornately-carved pieces of furniture and I had no idea how I was going to move them or where I was going to put them.
But the worst thing of it all was that going down a hill in Caliburn, someone in a light grey large Nissan hatchback of the 1980s overtook a line of traffic and collided head-on with Caliburn. We both stopped, but he reversed, gave me a cheeky wave and drove off. I gave chase but lost him in the traffic. Caliburn wasn’t too badly damaged, but more badly-damaged than my liking.

Things didn’t get much better during the afternoon either. The propane tank ran dry and left me without heating, and then the electricity blew a fuse while I was cooking tea.

Rummaging around with a solar torch in an electrical compartment in the cold was not my idea of fun.

In the end, with everything working, I went to bed. It had been a long day.