Tag Archives: graine de sail

Thursday 25th August 2022 – I HAVE BEEN …

… out and about this afternoon, just for a change. And the days when my whole existence can be uplifted into headline news because I’ve actually been into the town centre shows you what’s going on in my life right now.

With a cheque to pay in, some magnesium tablets to buy and a load of ships in port, it seemed like a good plan.

Yesterday’s highlight, which I didn’t mention for fear of overwhelming you all with excitement, was going to the bins to take out the rubbish. It needed something really riveting to surpass that, didn’t it?

Only a few minutes late going to bed, and for a change I had a reasonable night. Mind you, once again it was a struggle to my feet this morning.

After the meds I attacked the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. A bill came through for £170 and I wanted to pay it so I took my credit card and rang up the people concerned ready to pay it over the phone. After being shunted around half a dozen departments I was told that there was another procedure to follow. They explained the procedure to me which I didn’t quite understand but I had a go and the payment failed. I rang them back to explain to them. They explained another procedure which again failed. I was there for about three days trying to speak to all kinds of different people. Eventually they said that they had taken the payment with the credit card over the phone. I asked for confirmation so they put me through to the accounts department to make sure. When I spoke to her and told her about this she replied “you have to pay it”. I retorted “I’ve just paid it”. She asked “have you?” in an air of totally disbelieving tone. I replied “yes” so she said that I’d have to speak to someone in Accounts. I said “I just have done. It was they who just passed me through to you”. I had a feeling that with this money we were just going to be going round and round in a circle and end up nowhere at all. This was taking place while I was in the hospital. I had people in the ward with me so it was really extremely uncomfortable as well.

Afterwards I was in bed but awoke to hear some laughing. The ‘phone went and I couldn’t hear one side of the conversation but the other one was something like “yes, we’re all up and preparing to leave but Eric is still in bed”. I stood up quickly, grabbed my clothes, all my money fell out of my jeans, put on my clothes, kept on having my feet stuck in the legs of my trousers, generally trying to organise myself quickly because they’ll be taking down this tent in a minute. It seemed to me that the quicker I tried to do things, the longer it was actually taking me. I thought that I’d never have enough time to do this and collect my things together before they wanted to pull down this tent.

There was an interruption though in mid-transcribe, and an embarrassing interruption at that.

Yesterday with not feeling so bright and being rather tired, I hadn’t tidied anything up and the place was looking like a total tip. And, of course, I’d completely forgotten about the nurse. She turned up to find me in total chaos and not as clean as I would otherwise have liked the place to have been.

She struggled to find a clean and clear place to put the paper while she wrote out her notes and while she’s a cheerful sort, she clearly wasn’t happy.

All in all, it was rather an shameful situation.

It’s not going to improve very much either because the next time that she’ll be coming to inject me is in 10 days time on a Sunday morning and you all know what I’m like early on a Sunday morning.

After she left I carried on transcribing the notes and almost as soon as I’d finished, Rosemary called me. I’m convinced that when she was here she must have concealed a camera somewhere because she seems to know the precise moment to phone me.

When Rosemary and I finished our chat I started on what was left of the dictaphone notes from my trip around Central Europe and in a mad fit of enthusiasm and energy (don’t ask me where that came from)I completed them all. So that’s another good job completed.

In fact, it took me longer than I was expecting the pause for my lunchtime fruit notwithstanding.

fish processing plant festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Because of the position of the tide, I wanted to go out for my walk earlier than usual this afternoon.

As usual when I’m heading into town my point of reference for checking the camera is the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

There wasn’t anyone down there at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon. Gerlean who sometimes ties up there was in the inner harbour and I couldn’t see L’Omerta, the other boat that loiters around there usually.

Plenty of boxes on the quayside though so they must be expecting a load of traffic.

sailing boats rowing boat festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022In fact you can see Gerlean down there right now tied up to a pontoon.

What you can’t see though is Victor Hugo. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Believe it or not, I can tell you exactly where she ought to be right now without even looking at the radar. She should be back at her berth. She left home at 09:30 for Jersey and left there at 18:30 to return home.

It reminds me of Frankie Howerd when during one of his TV programmes he turned to the audience and asked “how do I know? Well, I have read the script”

While I was over there I picked up a timetable from the ferry terminal so I now know her agenda. It’s all bad news as far as I can see because the season of sailings is so intermittent that there’s no possibility of my going over there for a convenient three-or four-day break as I was hoping.

Going down all of the steps to the Rue du Port was mush more difficult than I imagined. I’m definitely losing my mobility. I then crossed the road and went over along the side of the Fish Processing Plant towards the harbour gates.

la granvillaise marie fernand grain de sail le loup rouge festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The boat that we haven’t seen before on the extreme right is called Le Loup Rouge. She was built in 1962 and has a very interesting history as she was designed by John Illingworth and Angus Primrose as a racing yacht.

She actually won the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s championship that year. Now though, she lives a more sedate life in Cherbourg just going to regattas and exhibitions.

Of course, over there we have on the extreme left La Granvillaise and next to her is Marie Fernand. We are, for the moment anyway, much more interested in the other boat, Grain de Sail

grain de sail festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travailport de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Her claim to fame is that she’s a commercial sailing boat that is powered (almost) exclusively by wind. There’s a small diesel engine on board but that’s just for manoeuvring, so we are told.

But while a uniquely wind-powered boat is nothing unusual, what is unusual about her is that she has a carrying capacity of 50 tonnes and twice a year goes over on a triangular voyage from Europe to New York with local French produce for the American market, and then down to the Caribbean and finally back to Europe.

Not that two voyages per year of 50 tonnes is going to contribute much to the environment, but it’s all to prove a point. And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, when I lived in the Auvergne I did much more than that and for a much longer period to prove a point.

le roc a la mauve 3 festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022My was timed to perfection as the harbour gates were closed so I could walk over the top to the other side.

As I did so, the first of the shell-fishing boats came in to unload at the fish processing plant. This one is Le Roc à la Mauve whom we saw for a lengthy period in the chantier naval.

Towing her little lighter behind her, she chugged into port with a respectable load of shellfish on board. The guy back there at the HIAB was repositioning the boxes, presumably for ease of unloading.

That’s not the kind of thing that you would do out in the open sea. There have been maritime disasters too numerous to mention where the load in a boat has suddenly shifted or been shifted and caused the boat to capsize with all hands. There was one like that in North Wales not so long ago.

grain de sail festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Once I was on the other side of the harbour I went down to Grain de Sail.

There was a member of the crew on board so I button-holed him. His ship is only a four-berth and as it needs four hands to sail it, it doesn’t take passengers on its transatlantic jaunts.
“What about if you only have three crew members and are in need of a fourth?”
“Do you have a “Marine Marchand” – a Merchant Navy certificate?”
“Regrettably not”
“Then I’m afraid that you wouldn’t be considered.”

And so that was that. At least I tried

Instead I admired the arrays of solar panels and the two wind turbines. They also have some hydro-generators too but I bet that they slow down the boat.

Next stop was the ferry terminal where I picked up a brochure for Victor Hugo. And my enquiries told me that Ukrainian refugees going for a day out to Jersey need a UK visa all the same.

kiddies pirate ship festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022With things to do in the town I headed that way along the side of the quay.

One thing that I like about France is that they are much more child-friendly than the UK and so I was expecting to see much more for the kids than you would see at a festival across the channel.

And I wasn’t wrong either. You can’t have a Festival of sailing ships without having a pirate ship, complete with pirates and buccaneers to chase the kids and press-gang them into service on board.

Even STRAWBERRY MOOSE has experienced life as an active buccaneer, as regular readers of this rubbish WILL RECALL

In fact, looking for that photo made me all nostalgic. That was an excellent road trip, one of the very best, when I started off in the far north of Labrador and three weeks later I was at Rhys’s in South Carolina.

Housman summed it up completely with his
” That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

kiddies pirate ship festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here.

The buccaneers have now rounded up a crowd of apprentice pirates and one of them is giving them all a lecture on what is expected of them when they serve aboard the Good Ship Glug Glug.

Actually she should have been called The Jolly Roger but the pirate captain’s wife fell off the quayside as she swung the bottle of champers

Anyway, everyone was having a whale of a time (seeing as we are discussing nautical terms) and I left them to it, crossing the ad-hoc bridge over the artificial beach.

film screen festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Yesterday I thought that I saw a puss .. errr … a TV screen down on the harbour so I went for a closer look seeing as I was here.

It was in fact a screen showing a series of cartoons for children explaining in simple terms all about life at sea. It’s nice to see the kids having a fair whack at the festival.

From there I wandered into town to pay my quarterly pension cheque into my bank account. Now where can I go with €142:60? Spend! Spend! Spend! Hey?

At the chemist’s I bought the magnesium tablets. Extra-strong. According to my friend the pharmacist these will give me a donner un coup de fouet – liven me up.

She might actually have a point there. Thinking about it, I started going downhill when I finished the last lot, went without for a week or 10 days and then had that big box of German ones.

marité festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That was it. I could go home now.

The walk back up the hill wasn’t as difficult as I was expecting. I still had to stop a couple of times for breath, at one point where I could overlook the port and see what was happening.

Marité was there of course, one of the centres of attention. But you can see just how busy the Festival is. And it will be like that until Sunday now, I reckon. It’s a good way to finish the summer season I suppose, even if the roads and the car parks will be crowded.

So having gathered my wits, I pushed on further up the hill towards home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, I wanted to see what was happening on the beach, although I don’t know why because I checked the camera on the way out.

The weather was much nicer today although maybe a little cooler. But the absence of people on the beach can probably be explained by the crowds of people down in the town and at the Festival.

Back here I had a surprise. There’s an undercurrent of dissent about the way the building is managed and two or three people are trying to stir up a revolution. They had pushed a letter into my letterbox

As I’m a tenant and not an owner, it doesn’t really concern me so I wrote a quick note on the back of the letter and put it in the letter box of the building’s President.

During this argument I’m taking no sides but I’m keeping in with the President. She’s the one who has my best chance of coming up the quickest with news of an apartment here to sell that I could buy.

The idea behind renting this place was because it would give me chance to look around and see what else was available. But there is no place on earth better than here so I’m staying here and renting rather than buying somewhere less good.

One day an apartment will come up here.

The walk was such that an iced chocolate drink went down well and then I began to update one or two of the blog entries with the dictaphone notes and images.

After a chat on the ‘phone with the President about my note

Tea tonight (at the usual, correct time) was pie with potatoes, veg and gravy. It’s one of my favourite meals and this one was just as nice as ever. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … my meals are simple but they aren’t half tasty.

It’s been a surprising day today – I’ve walked quite a way, not crashed out, done a lot of work. I wonder if I can keep this up. It’s not like me to have a day like this so I’m glad that I made the most of it.

Ready for the (af)fray tomorrow, I hope.

Wednesday 24th August 2022 – WHAT HAPPENED THERE?

cabin cuiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While you’re admiring a few of this afternoon’s photos featuring a variety of water craft, I’m still trying to understand what happened just now.

There I was going through all of the day’s photos editing them when I noticed that the time was 19:45.

That’s 15 minutes later than the usual tea-making time so I downed tools and went off to make tea – a curry from all of the leftovers as usual on a Wednesday.

But when I checked the time as I sat down to eat, it was actually 19:26. Somewhere along the line I’ve gained an hour and I wish that I could do that every day.

But it looks as if I’m cracking up. Even more evidence, in fact.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As I suspected, it was another night that was later than I anticipated. And for the usual reason too, that just as I was going to bed something interesting came up on the computer’s playlist.

It was of course another “Paul Temple” episode and these are far too good to miss. So for that reason it was … errr … somewhat later than usual that I went to bed.

Waking up with the alarm was one thing. Leaving the bed was something else completely and I wasn’t too far short of missing the second alarm.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I came in here to work and once I’d awoken properly and pulled myself together I could listen to the dictaphone to find out where I went last night.

boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022I had a job working for NATO in Brussels so I arranged to reserve a little apartment for myself for the night. I packed everything and went off to Brussels to find my little apartment. I ended up staying in a hotel room that night instead. Next morning when I was on my travels walking around I cam across a little apartment that looked really nice and was affordable. I started to rent that. I was settled down in a very short space of time. I also ended up with 3 cars for some reason, a Mini, another vehicle and a Morris 1000. I installed myself and the following night I was going to see a concert of some type. I went and bought some food but for some reason I didn’t eat it. I bought something else which was a raw steak. I had a primus stove and a frying pan so I went to this concert quite early on and started to fry this steak in the foyer while I was waiting for things to happen. The first thing that I did was to telephone my father. It was actually supposed to have been a former friend of mine but I ended up with my father. Someone said said “wait a minute” and they went to fetch my father but I fell asleep. When I awoke, the line was dead. He had gone. I found that friend’s phone number and called him. It took me about 4 or 5 goes to get through. His son answered it but when he saw the ‘phone number on the display he said “it must be for my dad” and passed it through. We had a chat but just then the bouncers appeared. I said that I’d have to go as I’d have to dismantle my frying pan and stove. By now the steak was cooked. One or two people were looking at me wondering what on earth I was doing going to eat a steak. It suddenly appeared to me that I was vegetarian so I walked back to Caliburn and threw this steak away thinking that I’d find a pack of chips somewhere. When I reached Caliburn I didn’t have the frying pan. I thought that I must have left that somewhere so I needed to retrace my steps. I bumped into another woman who said that it was strange that I’m cooking a steak when I’m vegan

boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022A little later on I stepped back into that dream and continued where I left of in the same dream. I was actually round at that former friend’s house and we were talking about either music or books or something. The subject of a couple of authors came up or musicians or something. We began to discuss what they were doing

But I can’t believe that I was round there last night and Zero didn’t make an appearance. I’ve not seen her, or Castor or TOTGA for months and I’m beginning to feel that they have deserted me.

As I have asked before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … why is it that my family, who I can quite easily live without, continue to haunt me in my dreams while those whom I would dearly like and give anything to have accompany me on my nocturnal voyages are conspicuous by their absence?

And while we’re on the subject of “haunt me in my dreams”, someone else who hasn’t been around for quite a while is The Vanilla Queen. Her ship seems to have sailed a long time ago.

Fighting off (successfully, for a change) a couple of waves of fatigue, some of the rest of the day has been spent transcribing arrears of dictaphone notes. There are just three days left to do and I suppose that had I pushed on, I could have finished them.

However one thing that I’ve learnt (through many years of bitter experience) is that output tapers off the longer you perform a continuous task as you begin to lose interest, and you become distracted far too easily.

That’s why I always have several tasks on the go at once and when I feel the interest flagging I can pass on to another one.

And so much of the rest of the time has been spent updating the earlier entries with the missing details. I’m not going to publicise them yet otherwise people will be leaping through all kinds of hoops to find them. There are two batches and I’ll publicise each batch as it’s finished individually.

A final thing that I’ve been doing is downloading a couple of photos and publishing them in our Welsh group chat. One of the things about which I was talking to my tutor during our marathon chat was the annual sealift in Arctic Canada.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve talked in the past about the prices in the shops in the Canadian High Arctic. That’s because they have one, just one, sealift every year – a delivery of freight that comes by sea and is offloaded into barges that bring it ashore.

And sometimes, as in 2018, they don’t have any at all if the weather is too bad. And whatever isn’t brought in by sea is obliged to be flown in and that comes at an even more hefty price.

So someone whom I know in Iqaluit on Baffin Island told me that yesterday – actually yesterday – they had the annual sealift and he very kindly let me have some photos. So I posted them in our chat group with a little note – in Welsh.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022We had the usual interruption for me to go on my afternoon walk. And for a change I wasn’t all that late.

Across the car park through the hordes of people over to the wall at the end to see what was happening down on the beach. And not only were there hordes of people up here, there were hordes of people down there too.

And a good proportion of those who were down there were in the water too, so hats off to them. It was a lovely day, but not that nice as far as I was concerned. And not as nice as some others might have thought either because there was definitely at least one kid squealing away.

There was a tent again too, and I was all intent on including it in the photo but it was too far out of shot.

kayak plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were in fact people all the way down the beach as far as the Plat Gousset.

The yellow buoy that you can see marks the limit of the patrolled water. There are several of those buoys all in a line connected by a chain. However my interest was centred on the red object just offshore.

Despite having a good look at it, I couldn’t decide whether it was a kayak or an inflatable dinghy. As someone who has been half-way around the Arctic on board an inflatable dinghy, albeit a motorised one, I was hoping that it might have been the latter.

After all, they are very famous and go back to the days long before motor power, when all inflatable dinghies were sail-powered. Classical poems were even written about them. After all, you’ve all heard about Edward FitzGerald and “The Rubber Yacht of Omar Khayyam”

I’ll get my coat.

yellow powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As I mentioned just now, there were crowds of people out here on the path this afternoon so I had to fight my way down to the end.

And as I was doing so, I was overflown yet again. The little yellow powered hang-glider thing went flying past overhead on its way back to the airfield after a flight down the bay.

As it happens I was out at a different time today than yesterday so I was wondering whether he loiters out of sight around a corner and waits for me to come out before pouncing.

We haven’t seen any of the other little machines for a good few weeks. That’s a surprise considering the fact that we’re in a Summer season.

buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022On my way down the path I was looking out at sea to see what else was happening and you’ve already seen a couple of photos of what I saw.

But what else I saw was a collection of buoys out at sea, presumably indicating where some of the fishermen have dropped off their lobster pots. There were probably half a dozen or so that I saw out there with a variety of flags, suggesting that several fishermen had been out there.

Unfortunately there wasn’t much else to see because we were having another sea fog this afternoon. Only a small part of the Ile de Chausey was actually visible and that was our lot.

And so I carried on over to the lighthouse and across the car park

fishermen pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022From there I went down to the end of the headland to see what was happening there.

There were a couple of the yacht schools out and about as you have seen, but down there on the rocks were several fishermen.

It was like a garden gnome convention with each rock having its own angler. These three were deep in concentration studying their equipment but they didn’t really look as if they were about to catch anything.

After our jackpot a couple of days ago, we have to realise that you can’t win a coconut every time

cabanon vauban people taking photographs bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022With all that was going on down on the rocks and out to sea, I was expecting to see plenty of people out here at the end of the headland.

Loads of people on the path, and even a couple down by the cabanon vauban too.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one theme that runs through these pages is “photos of people taking photos of people”. And so we were lucky this afternoon as someone duly obliged as I was watching, with his subject doing her best to look disinterested.

We’ve not had any more rain since the other day, by the way, and you can see how sad the vegetation is looking.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022From thee I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was happening there.

There wasn’t anyone playing “Musical Ships” again so I had a look over at the ferry terminal. Chausiaise is over there – there mustn’t be any freight workings while the Festival of Working Sailing Ships is taking place.

None of her sisters were there either. And they weren’t in port anywhere so there must be a lot going on at the Ile de Chausey despite it being obscured by fog and presumably they are all over there right now.

49ade aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was here looking at Chausiaise I was overflown yet again.

This time it’s an aeroplane though. From what I can see, her registration number is 49ADE and unfortunately that doesn’t tell us a lot. Her number isn’t in the database to which I can have access so I can’t tell you much about her, except that we haven’t seen her before.

An aeroplane like this won’t have filed a flight plan – it’s certainly not filed at the airfield here – and so I can’t tell you where it’s come from and where it’s going.

cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But right now I’m going to look at the things going on at the chantier naval.

Still the same half a dozen boats – no change there – but the respray on Cap Lihou is proceeding apace. They have done quite a considerable amount of work on her since yesterday and they are well advanced with the new paint job.

There are several people on the sky jack at the rear and judging by the noise that’s coming from down there they are still throwing the paint on.

There’s someone up on the roof of the wheelhouse but it’s not clear to me what he’s doing. It looks as if he’s wearing an aqualung but that can’t be right. For a start, there aren’t any park benches there for him to sit on.

marité festival of working sailing ships port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Walking further on down the path I reached the point where I could overlook the inner harbour.

Once again, Marité is having a day off and is tied up at the quayside next to the Russian ship Shtandart. But it looks as if the Festival of Working Sailing Ships is now open, judging by the crowds milling around down there.

The marquees are heaving with people this afternoon so there must be some kind of exhibition taking place. I really ought to go down and have a look.

But is that a TV screen of some description over there on the right?

la granvillaise marie fernand graine de sail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022In the previous photo we couldn’t see La Granvillaise and Marie Fernand. They’ve moved from where they had been tied up.

They are now tied up over there where Spirit of Conrad (currently in Norway) usually moors. La Granvillaise is on the left and in the middle of those three is Marie Fernand.

The boat on the right is much more interesting. She’s a commercial freight-carrying yacht called Graine de Sail and her claim to fame is that she has sailed across the Atlantic with 50 tonnes of freight on a commercial voyage.

It goes without saying that I want to talk to her crew, and for obvious reasons too, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Back here I had a chocolate soya drink and then carried on with my work until a strangely early tea. But nevertheless the curry that I made was one of the best that I have ever made and if I can make more like that I’ll be really happy.