… when discussing all of the boats that were out there on the water, I believe that I mentioned how I would love to be out there when the harbour gates are near closing, in order to witness the stampede as the boats all headed back for port.
And sure enough, this afternoon I had my wish, and a lot sooner than I was expecting as well. The tide is advancing quite rapidly and even though this is my usual time to be out, you can see the mad dash for home already.
Belle France is well up there in second place to that cabin cruiser in front, but on the outside there’s a speedboat coming incredibly quickly, making quite a wave as he does so.
Round on the pther side of the headland, things are much more advanced.
There are at least five and maybe even more small boats in the photo just here, all dashing for the port de plaisance while they still are able to do so.
Nobody would want to be stranded out in the bay during the night, especially if they have work to go to in the morning.
Not too many people out on the sea wall watching them though. I would have expected this to have been one of the best free entertainments going.
Last night I did without any kind of entertainment – free or otherwise – after the football. At the final whistle I staggered off to bed and that was that.
At 06:19 I was awake but if anyone thinks that I’ll be leaving my bed at that time of day on a Sunday they are mistaken. Even 09:10 is a bit optimistic. 10:40 is much more like it.
Ordinarily I would have said that that was a good sleep but there is tons of stuff on the dictaphone so I must have been quite disturbed (as if I’m not disturbed enough as it it).
I started off at the home of a couple of friends last night, doing a load of moving for them or something like that. I’d gone to her office room to talk to her but she was busy on the phone so I went into his office room kind of thing and he wasn’t there. I thought that I would wait for him to come back and I started listening to music and I thought “He has loads of LPs so I’m sure that he has loads of live cast-offs that would do for a live concert”. There was a box of strawberries and cream by the side of his computer and I was busy eating my way through those and scrolling through his Facebook screen. Suddenly I saw a message that he had sent me about Welsh Premier League football and I could see my reply under there. I thought that I’d better not be confused in this subject comes up again because I’ll be replying as someone else instead of me and reading my own replies. When they did come down they looked so young and it was very hard for me to believe that it was them. I couldn’t believe it. They were talking about everything, about how we don’t need to go out for a meal tonight but we can go for breakfast tomorrow somewhere. I said that my partner (and I couldn’t think of her name) was having to teach this afternoon but I’d been watching “Alfie” and this started off with some guys going to rob the home of a policewoman or something but the robbery had all gone wrong and several policemen in there and there had ended up being a gunfight and all these guys had gone to prison and been sent down for an enormous length of time. The Michael Caine character had to flee the country with his girlfriend and she was telling him all this bad news about everything else that was connected with this but still going wrong. He was pretty powerless where he was to actually do anything about it
This flat (and I wish that I knew which flat is was that I was discussing) is ideal for the kind of thing for a weekend retreat where you can come away from Paris on Friday and be here Friday night, and not have to go back until Sunday night and spend every weekend down by the sea.
A little later I was on my way to a football match and I arrived in Chester and was running late so I had to take a taxi. I went to the local rank but there were only little electric telephone box-type cars so I said to a guy standing near it “is that yours?”. Another guy immediately leapt out of a vehicle and asked “taxi?”. I replied “yes but just give me a minute to make a phone call. Is there a phone handy?”. I had a discount card that I needed to ring up to book. he showed me over to a phone but said “there’s still 12 minutes left on the meter. Where do you want to go? I said “Deva Road” so he replied “come on. We’ll get there before this runs out”. He ushered me into a red Rover V8 and drove me there. We had a bit of a laugh in the snow about how uneconomical his car was, everything. He said that it wasn’t that bad. As I got up the steps to the football ground, I did a bit of shopping and started to walk back. I didn’t go to the game at all if there had been one.
A group of travellers turned up in Palestine, amongst them a three year old boy that was donated by some parent in some emergency but when they got to Palestine they didn’t have a clue as to what they were going to do so they built some kind of meeting centre or something like that to show at least that they weren’t going to waste any time.
Somewhere as well there was a story of two 9-year-old girls who used to go around all these rock festivals and blues festivals filming the events. Their mother would form them into some kind or promotional video. I was there somewhere with a girl and I introduced her to people like John Hite and someone who wrote a lot of songs, Creedence Clearwater Revival (do I mean Bob Hite of Canned Heat?). I said “there you are, you have to meet John Hite and a few others and that’s something to tell your friends, isn’t it?”. She replied “most of my friends wouldn’t even know who people like that are”.
Later I woke up in a panic thinking that it was 16:00 and I had a flight back to Europe in an hour and I had so much to do. I grabbed all of my things and shot off to the airport and then spent quite a lot of time trying to find a place to sit down and sort myself out and pack everything. A couple of people came to join me and we were talking about the lack of seats in this place. The discussion drifted on to airports in North Carolina and the rudimentary facilities there, some experience that I could share with these two people as well.
As well as all of this, someone had asked me to do some tiling for him. I’m not very good at tiling but I went along to have a look. At my place I’d tiled on top of a piece of lino so I found a piece of lino and cut to size and cleaned up but instead of using soap I’d used fat and it made a right mess of everywhere so I had to take it out. There was fat all over the floor so I prepared to mop it up. Then he came in. He hadn’t really twigged on what was going on but he was inspecting it as much as he could and how I knew what was going to be done to the right size so that I’d cut off a piece of lino as a template. He went to look at it. I told him that it was wet so he said “we’d better open it out to dry” so he opened it out on his balcony. He asked me “your insurance liability is up to date, isn’t it?” Unfortunately I didn’t have any and I was beginning to regret having said that I would do this job for him the way that he was going on like this.
After the medication I came back in here to check my mail and then I went off to have a look at the view now that the tide is on its way out.
And that’s the view that greeted me looking out across the Baie de Granville and the English Channel this morning.
After the really wonderful few days that we have had, summer is now apparently over and we are back in winter again.
It’s pretty pointless trying to look for car ferries and sailing ships in that lot just there. It was raining too, the first time for about a week, and that didn’t help matters at all. We could have had Godzilla and the Loch Ness Monster out there this morning and I wouldn’t have seen them.
The view down the coast was, if anything, even worse.
We can just about make out the white beach huts on the promenade at the Plat Gousset but our view doesn’t go very much beyond there right now. The Rue du Nord is swathed in raincloud too.
Hopefully the view will be better on the other side of the headland in the lee of the wind. The rain might not have reached there yet.
And while we might not have any rain, the view isn’t all that much better, which is a shame.
However Aztec Lady is back in town. She’s the blue boat over there that goes on a few exciting voyages every so often, although the current travel regulations have curtailed much of the more interesting sailings.
To her left, bow-end on to the camera is Spirit of Conrad, the boat on which we went down the Brittany coast last year. The last time that I’d heard of her, she was over at the Ile de Chausey but I met her skipper yesterday so I assumed that she had come home.
Another boat that was on her way home this morning in all of the bad weather is the trawler Suzanga.
She’s the new boat in town, having only recently arrived from the shipbuilders in Turkey, and she’s already out there earning her keep.
That’s several new trawlers that have joined the local fleet since I’ve been living here. It shows that contrary to all expectations, the local ship owners are rather optimistic about the future of the fishing industry here, and that’s always quite a good sign.
Positive thinking seems to be in rather short supply these days among some people.
Despite the miserable weather, there’s plenty of activity in port this morning which is nice to see.
There were several zodiacs loitering aroind in the neighbourhood, almost as if there was a cruise ship like THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR anchored somewhere offshore.
But the girl who was driving this one came in, went up to the harbour wall, said something to a few people and then turned round and sailed back out again. So what was that all about then?
Meanwhile I could see the heads of some other people down there and they looked as if they were sitting in a zodiac, but I couldn’t really see because the house roofs were in the way.
It took about 20 minutes for them to decide what they were going to do and I had to wait around all that time because there wasn’t anything else going on that I could see that would occupy my mind.
Eventually they threw a rope to someone on the quayside and they moved away, so that I could see what was going on.
They set off in the tracks of the one that had left earlier.
And I know that my expedition friends would be having heart failure seeing a moving zodiac with people standing up in it as it travels, even if they are hanging on to something.
The way that they pitch and roll and sway in the sea means that they aren’t as stable as they might be with a high centre of gravity when people are standing up. Everyone should be sitting down and luggage goes at their feet to keep the centre of gravity lower still.
By now I was becoming rather wet (as if I wasn’t wet enough before I started) so I headed for home and a nice hot coffee, and then start work on yesterday’s journal entry.
At some point or other during the day I was interrupted by noise from out at the back.
The streets around the old town are closed today as it’s the book fair, and there was a breakdown lorry trying to gain access . The driver had gone off to seek assistance but in the meantime, another car had come past him and then inexplicably stopped, rather selfishly, to let out his passengers while he goes to park the car.
Never mind that the road is narrow enough so that no-one else behind him could go past. That’s clearly unimportant as long as he’s OK.
The selfishness of some people never ceases to amaze me.
Writing my notes was a long and arduous task today, and took much longer than I expected. I even had a rather quick lunch to try to make more time but as you probably realise, something like that seldom seems to work.
This afternoon I went out to have a look at the beach to see what was happening down there.
No afternoon walk seems to be complete without that these days.
The tide has come in quite quickly but there are still plenty of brave souls down there trying out the beach, sitting around and sunbathing.
There didn’t seem to be anyone actually in the water this afternoon but that’s not to say that there weren’t any.
There were other people in the water though, but in a different fashion entirely.
Like this kayaker for instance. He must have paddled his canoe quite a long way to end up here, and now he’s going to have to turn round and paddle himself all the way back, and pretty quickly too if he wants to find a slipway or launching pad still in the water.
And is that a fishing rod that he has poking up behind him? It can’t be all that comfortable fishing in a kayak. And where would be put his catch?
Something else that was out here like piffy on a rock was this strange creature.
It’s actually a Great Cormorant and he’s a long way from home. His breeding colony is probably the one across the bay on one of the small islands facing Cancale. Several of those islands – the uninhabited ones – are know to be breeding grounds.
They were much more widespread than that at one time but predators like foxes and rats have seen off several colonies. In fact there’s a plan for the Ile de Chausey for a mass eradication of non-indigenous predators.
And when you compare this photo of the one that I took down the coast earlier today, you’ll see a great difference.
Of course, the rain cloud has now passed on to better things and the weather is so much nicer. In addition to that, the Bird-Men of Alcatraz have awoken and they have come here with their Nazgul to have an afternoon’s adventuring.
One of them has just taken off from the field by the cemetery and at the moment he’s fighting to gain control of his Nazgul, after which he’ll be heading this way.
There didn’t seem to be all that much going on farther out at sea this afternoon but I did scan the horizon.
At one point I picked up something large and dark out by the Ile de Chausey and although I couldn’t imagine it being anything else other than the sail of a yacht I took a photo to check when I returned home.
Sure enough, it is a yacht although it’s too far out to see if it’s anyone we know. Black Mamba isn’t in port right now but she’s apparently in Cherbourg right now so I doubt that it might be her.
Here is someone else who we might have seen over the last few days out there in the English Channel.
Unfortunately the weather is nothing like as clear as it was yesterday morning for us to give a positive identification but thinking that it might again be the training ship Belem, I made a note of her position.
Sure enough, when I returned, I could check on the historical radar plot and Belem was indeed at that spot round about that time of the afternoon.
There was nothing else going on out there of any importance (apart from the mad stampede that you saw earlier) so I pushed on around the headland.
As I crossed over the road, one of the errant Nazgul went swooping by over the top of the old bunker so I stopped to take a photograph of it.
And then I ended up in a mad stampede of my own down the hill chasing after my camera’s lens cap that I had unfortunately dropped.
Luckily I managed to avoid being run down by a car coming up the hill towards me. We both would have had a surprise.
At this point I was overflown yet again, this time by a mechanical device and I wondered why it had taken them so long to find me.
This is one that we recognise, having seen her many times just recently. She’s the Granville Aero Club’s Robin DR 400-140B F-GBAI going out on an afternoon flight.
She was first picked up on radar at 16:01 (my photo is (adjusted) 16:14) and she did a few laps around the Ile de Chausey and then up and down the coast before disappearing off the radar again near the airfield at 17:50
There was no change in occupant at the chantier naval today so I turned my attention elsewhere.
The ferry that we saw coming over from the Ile de Chausey, I wasn’t sure who she was. But I can tell you who she wasn’t because the older one of the two Joly France boats is sitting there at the quayside already with a load of people on the path just above her as if they have just gone ashore.
And here on the other side is the little freighter Chausiaise. So it can’t be any one of those two. But we’ll find out in a couple of minutes.
And it didn’t even take that long before we were to find out.
Around the bend, alongside the sea wall and into the harbour came the brand-new Belle France, crammed to the gunwhales with people from the Ile de Chausey.
There were quite a few people on the sea wall by now admiring her as she appeared, and quite rightly too because not only is she a beautiful machine, she’s a sign of faith and optimism that there’s plenty of life left in the port.
And with the uncertain future surrounding the Channel Island ferries and the gravel boats, then this is good news.
One thing that I have to do before I finish.
Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my pages are littered with inter alia photos of people taking photos. Today we had a large family group with a photographer who was taking pictures of them, with tripod and all.
This was far too good an opportunity to miss and I had to add a discreet shot of the event to my little collection.
Back here at the apartment I finally finished my notes from yesterday and then I joined up the tracks for the radio programme for tomorrow.
When that was done I attacked my pizza which was delicious. I haven’t made anything else though because I’m off on Tuesday to Leuven.
And now seeing as I’m exhausted, I’m off for an early night ready to start work tomorrow. Radio first of course, and I also have the injection man coming as well. I wonder if that will kickstart me into life for my trip to Leuven.