Tag Archives: harrington harbour

Saturday 3rd February 2024 – YOU MIGHT THINK …

… that the fact that I crashed out, and quite definitively too . round about 12:00 for a good couple of hours is indicative of the fact that the anti-potassium stuff isn’t the cause of this overwhelming desire to sleep at some point during the day0

However, I remain (for the moment) unconvinced.

The fact is that with the anti-potassium stuff I’m out like a light with no warning whatsoever and don’t even realise that I’ve been asleep. Today though, I awoke tired and spent most of the morning fighting off wave after wave of sleep.

It’s quite surprising really because it wasn’t as if I was late to bed or anything like that, and the night was nothing like as turbulent as some have been just recently.

For a start, none of my favourite ladies put in an appearance and from that point of view it was a very lonely night.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed as usual and took my blood pressure. last night’s was an exciting 17.2/12.3. This morning’s was an interesting 18.1/10.7. and that’s after a relaxing night’s sleep. I wonder what it would be if one of the three girls had come and spent some time with me during the night.

Anyway, I wandered off into the kitchen for my medication and do on and then came back in here.

Things weren’t so simple to start off because I was so tired that I could hardly see. But anyway, after a good while, I began to transcribe the dictaphone notes. There was something about some kind of guy who had killed someone. The person had been put inside a coffin but he raided the coffin, took the corpse out and pounded it again. When he died, he was buried but a lot of people found out where he was buried, where his grave was, so they had this competition of throwing rocks at his grave until they unearthed his coffin, then they continued to throw rocks. He had some kind of coffin with special attachments etc and you could see that they had all been exposed and destroyed. It looked as if the top had come off the coffin but they were still pounding it with rocks. Then other people began to enjoy it. There were all kinds of mysteries happening about other coffins. We came to believe that one of the guys who worked for us was involved in this. The coffins that we’d set aside for us had been badly damaged somehow and no-one knew why. I suggested to my friend that perhaps we really ought to buy some more coffins. My friend immediately thought “that’s rather tempting fate, isn’t it with this guy working for us, making our drinks and food etc? Anything is likely to happen to us”.

As you can see, I have some exciting dreams during the night

But somewhere along the line we were dealing with things when past us in the window went a couple of coaches, old Plaxton Supreme Vs or something belonging to a company in the area. I suddenly remembered that what they did was to hire out their coaches to owner-drivers. They had a lovely V-registration (the old “V”) Volvo Plaxton Elite that was available for hire. I thought that next tie I took a private party onto the Continent I ought to think about maybe going to see them and talk to them about hiring the Volvo instead of hiring from Shearings or from the local company that I used in Crewe.

Later on I was with Hawkwind playing bass and we developed a really new number that we worked on. We were practising it and bashing it out. The producer came in. He heard that we were doing this song but said that there was one line that we had to change, one about being in Keele in April. The song might give the idea to people that everything was OK whereas in fact what we want was in the right character for people to know that it’s not OK … fell asleep here … Anyway so we had to change this lyric but when we did we found that it didn’t scan. I had to stop and think, to try to work on the previous line and the line that we’d just invented so as to make them scan. And then they needed to rhyme too and that was going to be quite a task. One of the players in the group who tried to play this line suddenly leant over and fell against the wall. We all then suspected that something else had been put in this coffee, not just chocolate powder, so we had to prepare a sample ready to go to a laboratory so that it could tell us exactly what it is that’s in there

But not that I would ever have ended up playing bass with Hawkwind of course, much as I would have liked to have done, but there’s a story here too. There are several Hawkwind tracks that I play where when I sing them I change one or two words here and there to change a meaning completely.

Sometimes they scan, and sometimes they don’t. I wonder if you could spot which word I would change in MOONGLUM for example.

And then I was with my friend from the Wirral. His life had completely changed. He’d had a divorce and was running some kind of photography place in the USA. He was over here so we met and we chatted about his new life etc. It turned out that it was his birthday so I said that I’d sent him a present. I had little 25-watt solar kits of a panel, a charge controller and one or two other little appliances. I thought that it would be nice to send it to him as a gift. I packed it up – it was much heavier than I expected – and I had to chisel his address out of him once or twice, his new address, but eventually I was given it. I wrote it down on the brown paper of this parcel but it didn’t stand out very well so I had to hunt for a marker pen to write it. Then it was a little indistinct. Anyway I picked it up and went off. We met somewhere on another car park. He felt the parcel and he thought that it was heavy too. I replied “never mind – it’s a little present for you that will come in the post”. Then I had to find a Post Office that was open. That wasn’t easy. I tried 3 or 4 and eventually found one that would accept it and send it off for me

By the time that I’d written all of that it was break time so I went for my coffee and toasted cheese sandwich, with my rock-hard bread. But nevertheless it still tasted quite nice regardless.

While we’re talking about bread … "well, one of us is" – ed … when I came back here afterwards I found that Sean had written to me about it. he thinks that I’m kneading my dough too hard and I ought to ease up and be as gentle as I was cutting that tile last night.

Looking at things, I do have a tendency to fight with my dough, I suppose. Maybe I shall have to pretend that I’m massaging the clavicles of one of my favourite young ladies.

But on the subject of bread, I remember very well my little voyage to Canada in 2012. I’d been writing a book ABOUT LANOUILLER AND BÉCANCOUR’S CHEMIN DU ROY and although the road was started in the 17th Century, you wouldn’t believe (but it’s true) that it’s still not finished.

Consequently I was determined to drive all the way down to the end to see what happens there.

It actually fizzles out into nothing but nearby is a port where there’s an icebreaker-supply ship that goes out through the ice to supply the outlying islands.

And so I turned up at the port and managed to blag my way on board the ship.

It dropped me off at one of the islands with a promise to come back in a couple of days to pick me up again (and apparently, my family and friends had a whip-round to pay the captain to leave me there) and I found a billet there with an old woman.

She made all of the bread for the island and I had an interesting lesson with her. And she used to have a real fight with her dough.

And one day she asked me to go down to the cellar to bring up a small sack of flour
"I can only see 56lb sacks down here" I shouted
"yes, that’s the small one"

When you are only approvisioned for 8 months of the year I suppose that you have to keep a good stock on hand. That’s what we had to do in the Auvergne – stock up with food. We could have half a metre of snow overnight and not be able to go anywhere for several weeks.

But anyway, I asked her what she did for fuel because there wasn’t a single tree on the island and I know all about Québec Hydro electricity prices.
"Everyone waits until the water freezes over then they go over on their skidoos to the mainland to cut down the trees and drag them back"
"Well, if you don’t mind my saying so, you don’t look the type to go over the ice on a skidoo"
"I don’t" she replied. "But everyone else does. How do you think that they pay for the bread?"

That’s what I really call “kneading the dough”.

Yes, I learnt a lot, an awful lot on my voyages to the edge of the World. But as Samuel Gurney Cresswell said after a voyage with M’Clure, "A voyage to the High Arctic ought to make anyone a wiser and better man"

But having said that, look what happened on those last few days in 2019 on my final trip up there.

But I digress … "again" – ed

Back here I began to write up the rest of the notes for my radio programme as best as I could with all of this sleep going on, but I ended up curled up on my chair asleep, despite the coffee. I must be immune to caffeine.

While I was asleep I was on one of the smaller Channel Islands walking down a footpath, behind a group of people who had a couple of young children. They were walking slowly but I couldn’t go past them. When the footpath came to the sea there were two Martello-type lighthouses really close together, one at the end of the island and the other that I imagined was a French one on some small rock in French waters. We walked on with the sea to our right and round a corner we saw that the crescent moon had a planet shining from within the horns of the crescent. I reached for my phone to take a photo but no matter how I tried I couldn’t switch on the camera. I tried for ages to switch it on but to no avail

That’s how deep the sleep was. I was miles away, quite literally too. But how many times have I had this dream about my camera not working? It was night after night after night some time not so long ago

This afternoon I didn’t do very much – just watched the highlights of a couple of football matches from last night and made a start on a little project that I’d been promising to do for a while.

Then I knocked off for an early tea. Burger on a bap with vegan salad and chips. Delicious as usual. My air fryer is really working well and I’m pleased that I decided to buy one.

Tea was early because there was football on the Internet – FALKIRK v TNS In the Scottish Challenge Cup.

Although it’s a Scottish competition clubs from England, Wales and Northern Ireland are invited to compete and TNS have fought their way all the way to the semi-finals

As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … I’m no fan of TNS, and for several reasons too, but when they are flying the flag for the Land of my Grandmother (and mine) on foreign soil, they’ll receive all the support that I can give them

But what if they were playing a team from Canada? Having a grandmother from each country would make life rather complicated.

Anyway, I’m not going to tell you the score of the game. I’ve posted a link to the match and if you want to see how it ended, you’ll just have to watch it.

So now that I’ve finished my notes, I have to start work.

There are three lots of radio programmes that need to be dictated and that’ll take a while. But as Hamfast Gamgee said, "It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish" so I’d better get a move on.

After all, as Mona Lott said in “It’s That Man Again”, "It’s being so cheerful as keeps me going"

However I always remember a character in the old 1950s radio programme “Dragnet” say "It’s no crime to get lost" and so I will.


Friday 26th May 2023 – MY LUNCH TODAY …

… was delicious.

Down at the supermarket in town this morning they had some fresh broccoli on special offer so I bought a chunk, trimmed off the florets, blanched them and then stuck them in the freezer for a later date, now that I have room.

There was a nice, thick, chunky stalk left over so I made a soup. I fried an onion and garlic in olive oil with some cumin and coriander, diced a couple of small potatoes and diced the stalk, added it to the mixture to fry and when it was all soft, added some of the water in which I’d blanched the broccoli.

After about 20 minutes’ worth of simmering, I whizzed it with the whizzer and ate it with some crusty bread.

And I’ll do that again!

But here I am, waxing lyrical about going to the shops and buying some broccoli as if it’s the highlight of my life. One of those memory things popped up on my social network, reminding me that 11 years ago today I was out on an icebreaker as we smashed our way through the pack-ice on our way back to Natashquan after taking relief supplies out to THAT ISOLATED ISLAND off the “forgotten coast” of Québec.

The moral of this story is “whenever an opportunity comes your way, grab it with both hands and go right to the end. You’ll never know if you’ll have another chance, and you never know what the future has in store for you”.

While we’re on the subject of the High Arctic … “well, one of us is” – ed … the first track to come round on the playlist this morning, after what I had said yesterday, was THE VANILLA QUEEN.

It’s been a long time since that “fascinating lady” has been to “haunt me in my dreams” after “the bright, nocturnal Vanilla Queen” and I stood together on the bow of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR watching the midnight sun in the Davis Strait. I was never the same again.

And while we’re on the subject of the High Arctic … “well, one of us is” – ed … the lovely Dyan Birch, whose voice is up there with Kate Bush, Julianne Regan and Annie Haslam, put in an appearance shortly afterwards.

She was well-know of course for her stint in Kokomo but before that she sang in an obscure Liverpool group called Arrival and their first album was one of the very first albums that I ever bought all those years ago.

The song that featured on the playlist was HEY THAT’S NO WAY TO SAY GOODBYE and I picked that as one of the ones to be broadcast in one of my radio programmes in due course.

It’s the song that came into my head up in the High Arctic as I watched “someone” walk from out on this desolate windswept and icebound airstrip to her aeroplane without waving or looking back and I thought to myself “hey, that’s no way to say goodbye!” but a few years later when I was saying goodbye to someone else on another airport, I suddenly realised the reason why some goodbyes have to be said in that way.

Samuel Gurney Cresswell, the artist and Arctic explorer, was once asked to explain Robert McClure’s loss of nerve after their dreadful experience in the moving pack-ice not too far from the first airport that I first mentioned. He replied that a voyage to the High Arctic “ought to make anyone a wiser and better man”.

However it didn’t work for me. One day I’ll write up the story of those three missing days.

But that’s enough maudlin nostalgia for the moment. We all know that nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

Let’s turn our attention instead to this morning, and the fact that one more I was up and about (in principle because I was far from awake) before the alarm went off.

But a shower slowly brought me round and I put the washing on the go. Oh! The excitement! It’s almost as riveting as the day that I had when the highlight was taking out the rubbish.

There was plenty of time before I had to go anywhere so I transcribed the dictaphone notes from the night. This was another one of these work dreams again, and I’m having plenty of those. I was working in an office but I wasn’t very productive and I wasn’t doing very much at all. Mostly wasting time. The Germans invaded the country and occupied the town where our office was situated. They ordered most people to leave. Those people gathered their things together and started to set off. At that moment I came back into the building having missed everything that was going on, saw them going, and said something like “goodbye, my colleagues. I don’t know how many of us will meet again after this thing has happened. Wishing everyone the best”. I’d heard some stories that some farmers had been far too friendly with the invaders and denounced a couple of people already. So we sat and started on what was going to be a very long ordeal.

But invaders again? We had them the other night, didn’t we?

Then there was something else on these lines. Someone ended up sending something or other to the office where we were working, as a kind-of sign of discontent but I can’t remember anything about it.

I also spent much of the night in company with a young girl and I wish that I knew who she was. We were talking about the area up at the back of Barrow, places like that. I mentioned a fishing port that was formerly very busy. When the fishing died out they came and moved some of the railway lines that connect the port network to the main line but left a diesel shunter behind that was now stranded on the dock and can’t be moved. We were chatting about all kinds of interesting things. Right at the end there was some kind of problem about her having to pay her rent on her little apartment so I suggested that she comes to live in mine. This was another one of those really nice, warm comfortable dreams that I wished would go on for ever and I don’t have too many of those.

But seriously, who would want a relationship with me?

It was a slow stagger down to the doctor’s and I didn’t have long to wait to see him. But as I thought the other day, he confirmed that with this series of injections, there’s nowhere else to go. He wrote out everything that I needed, wrote out the prescriptions, and that was that.

And that got me thinking.

It’s not the first time that I’ve mentioned it but a few years ago I was standing ON THE CREST OF SOUTH PASS, the gap that the “trails west” emigrants used when crossing the Continental Divide where to the east the waters drain into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, and to the west they drain into the Pacific.

It’s the most peaceful place on earth and I want to go back. I’m getting itchy feet again.

At the Carrefour round the corner I bought the broccoli, some mushrooms, some potatoes and a couple more of the small peppers. Now I know that I can freeze them, i might as well put a stock in the freezer now that there’s room.

Have you any idea how much a month’s supply of Aranesp costs? You really don’t want to know. And because it’s not on the list of GP-prescribed medication I have to pay for it up front and claim it back from my health insurance. That will hurt for a while.

So loaded up with a ton of medication (I’m singlehandedly keeping the French pharmaceutical industry afloat and they won’t ‘arf miss me when nature takes its toll) and having to go back tomorrow for some more, I crawled back up the hill onto my rock where I made my soup, had lunch and then … errr … relaxed. This stagger back takes its toll of me.

This afternoon I finished off choosing the music for the next batch of radio programmes but I’ve run aground at the moment. There’s a French musician called Miquette Giraudy who collaborated with Steve Hillside-Village and she wrote and played on several tracks. But you try to find them. None of my usual sources came up with the goods. The best example of her work that I can find so far is the album on which she collaborated with Hillage after he left “Gong”.

Both Alison and Liz were on line later so I ended up chatting to both of them. Alison was telling me more detail relating to our chat yesterday and Liz was showing me photos of her little week away in the Marches.

Tea was chips (now that I have some potatoes) done in the air fryer, with salad and some of the veggie balls. So you might say that part of my meal was a load of balls this evening. But then again, you might not.

Shopping tomorrow, not that I need very much at all but I have to go through the motions. I’ll go to LeClerc of course to see what they have to say for themselves, and I’lll also go for a prowl around at Noz. There’s usually a few surprises there and it’s nice to buy something different. It helps to shake up the diet.

And then after lunch a walk into town to pick up the Aranesp, which means that in the afternoon I’ll be crashing out. Terrible, isn’t it?

Wednesday 27th May 2020 – JUST IN CASE …

people swimming in water plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hall… you’re wondering what the weather has been like today, this photograph will tell you everything that you need to know.

As you can see, crowds on the beach, crowds in the water, everyone having fun. We’ve had what is easily the hottest day of the year. The thermometer that I have outside went up well into the 20s and at one stage peaked at 24°C.

That is pretty good going for a seaside resort in May with the winds that we have around here.

crowds pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd they were still at it later on when I went for my evening walk and runs.

Admittedly I was a little earlier than usual, but nevertheless there would be no reason to suppose that there would be fewer people there 15 minutes later.

And you can’t see everyone either. There were crowds picnicking on the lawn behind the bunker of the Atlantic Wall and even several little groups sitting down on the grass behind me.

crowds picnicking on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd even later on, they were still out there in droves.

As it was getting dark, the tide still had a long way yet to come in and there were people taking full advantage of that fact by having their picnic on the beach.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen groups of people picnicking down there for a couple of nights last week. I wonder if it’s the same group or whether these people are different.

yachts speedboat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t just on dry land that there were crowds of people either.

There was the usual motley collection of fishing boats out working, but also a relentless stream of pleasure craft out there in the English Channel and the Baie de Mont St Michel. There’s a couple of yachts in this photo and a speedboat too.

And that’s just one photo of any dozen that I could have taken that would have featured multiple marine craft.

As for me, the day started off thoroughly miserably today.

In fact, it’s probably fairer to say that it ended miserably last night, although that’s not really true. I was planning on going to bed early but some decent music came onto the playlist and while I was listening to it, someone in North America with whom I wanted to chat appeared on the internet.

And by the time I finished talking, it was … errr … 02:30.

Not the slightest danger of m being up before the third alarm today. That goes without saying. The only surprise was that I actually made it up by 08:30.

First job after the medication was to set the yeast to work. 400ml of lukewarm water, a dessert spoon of sugar and a packet of yeast, and then leave it to ferment.

After breakfast I set about making the bread. Although THE LADY AT HARRINGTON HARBOUR who showed me how to make bread had a tendency to fight with her dough, the general opinion around here is that I’m being too rough with it.

It doesn’t need to be put near warmth to make it rise afterwards, apparently. Just leave it a couple of hours under a damp cover.

So I decided to follow these new counsels, and that’s what I did. Treated it gently and then left it.

While it was leaving, I came in here and finished off the radio project. That took longer too because my final speech overran by a country mile the 45 seconds that I allow for it and it wasn’t really possible to edit out the extra.

Instead, I had to hunt elsewhere for bits and pieces that I could cut out to reduce it to the 1:00:00 dead that it’s supposed to be.

By this time the dough had been standing for well over two hours so I went to see how it was going.

People were telling me that it should have doubled in size, but that was rather debatable. Nevertheless, I carried out the next stage of the proceedings which was to grease my bread mould, shape the bread dough and drop it in without mixing it any more.

Then cover it with a damp cloth and it should rise again to double the amount.

While it was rising, I made an apple pie with the last of the pastry rolls out of the fridge. Just one pizza roll to go now, which I’ll use on Sunday.

Having trimmed off the excess I made an apple turnover with that.

During this last bit the oven had been on and warming up, so I bunged the pie and the turnover in. The bread had risen … errr … somewhat, but I bunged it in the oven as well. Otherwise I’d be waiting there now. I reckon my yeast must be going off or something.

home made apple pie apple turnover orange ginger cordial home baked bread place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallIn the heat of the oven, the bread went up like a lift as I watched it. But only on one side despite it being in the centre of the oven. And why it does that defeats me completely.

For lunch I finished off the bread that was left and then made myself an orange and ginger cordial seeing as I’d run out of the lemon stuff.

By this time the pie and the turnover were cooked, and the bread looked as if it was done as well.

It’s still not shaped right, with only rising on one side, and I’ve no idea why it does that. One of life’s little mysteries, i suppose.

This afternoon I made a start on my accountancy course and managed to complete about three quarters of this week’s work before it was time to go for my walk.

people swimming in water plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAs I said earlier, the weather was really beautiful today and everyone seemed to be enjoying it.

They seemed to be keeping their social distance too, which is always good news. We’re still on probation with this relaxation of the rules.

So far today there have been just 191 new cases and 66 deaths and that is looking rather optimistic. But people need to keep their heads and their social distance to avoid a second wave of the illness which, if history is anythign to go by, is usually far more virulent than the first.

And as Terry Venables once famously said, “If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again”.

roofing place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallSo in the glorious summer weather, in just my shirt sleeves (and trousers, of course) I walked on around the walls.

At the lookout over the Place Marechal Foch I had a look out and down over at the building on which they’ve been replacing the roofing, to see how far they have reached.

It’s a big job of course and I wa expecting it to be keeping them out of mischief for quite a while. But they are cracking on like nobody’s business over there and another week might actually see them finished at this rate.

citroen traction avant 11L place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back towards home I passed by the Place Cambernon. And here I was distracted somewhat.

We’ve seen this vehicle before – the other day in fact in the Rue du Roc. And also a couple of months ago, but that’s another story. Today though the owner was with it so I went over for a chat. He had bought it from an auction in this condition, and it’s maintained by a garage in Sartilly that has a couple more.

It’s a 1954 model, and a Citroen 11L by the way, not a 7L. You can tell that by the thickness of the C pillars. The 7L like mine has pillars that aren’t so thick.

Being low down and front wheel drive, it sticks to the road like glue and flat out, it’ll do 110kph. However the noise at anything above 90kph is unbearable. “It’s like an aeroplane” he says. There’s no soundproofing and there’s no heat insulation either so with the engine being up near the bulkhead (the gearbox is in front in these) the engine heat is unbearable.

No seat belts either. He told me that the Law is that if the vehicle is unmodified and as it was as it came out of the factory, then factory specifications is fine. So if the belts aren’t fitted when new, it doesn’t need them as long as he doesn’t modernise the car in other ways.

fishermen in zodiac plat gousset english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWe’ve seen a couple of zodiacs flying around as well just recently.

There was another one out there today too. Not the yellow one that we’ve seen a couple of times, or the other one that’s been around a couple of times, but a third one, I reckon.

Judging by all of the equipment that they have on board it, it looks very much as if they are setting off on a fishing expedition somewhere off the coast by Bréhal-Plage.

workmen in boat port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith it being such a nice afternoon I went for an extended walk and that took me around to the viewpoint over the harbour.

The big cranes weren’t doing very much, but there was a small water craft scuttling across the harbour with a few workmen in it. It looks as if they are heading for the new pontoon that they’ve been installing.

Somehow I’m not convinced by the use of the boat. I can’t see why they couldn’t walk around the harbour. It would probably do them good.

Back here I had a look at the music course that I’ve started.

It’s evident that I’m not going to finish it either because despite it only being advertised at the weekend, it’s already in week 3 of 6. And the standard is way beyond where I am musically, and that’s not counting the fact that it’s on the piano and i’ve not played the piano since I was 12.

But in the hour or so that I was looking at it, I learnt an enormous amount already, including why “7” chords, such as A7 or E7 are so called. And the way the tutor was talking, I was expected to know that.

There was still the hour on the guitars and then tea. A slice of pie with baked potato and veg and gravy, followed by my apple turnover.

trawler seagulls baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallOutside in the evening heat I ran off up the hill and it was awful. I felt every step of the way. However am I going to manage when it’s really hot?

Past the crowds sunbathing and picnicking in the evening, and across the lawn out into the Baie de Mont St Michel I saw this fishing boat come into port. And you can tell that it had a full load of fish in the hold because of the trail of seagulls following it into port.

And I wonder what is the bird that photo-bombed my picture.

Interestingly though, as soon as the fishing boat turned into the harbour, the seagulls cleared off. I wonder why, and where they went.

yachts biae de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut there was still plenty of other maritime traffic to be going on with.

A little earlier I mentioned the yachts that we had seen out in the English Channel. As I was wondering about the fishing boat, the yachts caught me up and I would admire them. The one in the distance looked as if it was going to slalom around the buoys offshore, but the nearer one caught my eye with it towing its dinghy behind it.

It’s certainly the life, isn’t it? Being out there on a boat like that. If I weren’t so ill I’d be out there on my own boat like that. But then, if I weren’t so ill I’d be still in the Auvergne and not here, so it doesn’t make any difference.

traffic lights rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallI ran down across the top of the cliffs on the southern side and stopped for my pause for breath in the usual place.

And it looks now as if the cranes have gone. Finished what they are doing, I suppose, folded their tents and crept off silently into the night.

The traffic lights are still there though, although in a different place. And I can’t see why because of the bend in the road. Still, it’s shopping day tomorrow so I can go for an investigation on my way out.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy resting place on this leg of my run overlooks that chantier navale so I could see what they were up to in there.

The two larger fishing boats that have been there for a while are still here, but the two smaller ones that came to join them a couple of days ago have now gone back into the water.

So on that point I walked up to the road and ran all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury to my next pause for breath.

seagulls pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith the cranes gone, I went to look at the pontoons to see where they were up to.

It’s not what I would call finished, but they evidently think so. All of the bits and pieces that we saw on there the other day, they have been removed too.

But it’s impressive to see just how quickly the local wildlife moves in and takes over. Just look at all of the seagulls congregating on the pontoons!

So on that note I ran on down to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord. There was nothing doing there (except our picnickers) so I ran on home again.

What’s surprising me is that despite the shorter day, I managed to accomplish so much. Not like me at all. There is still a mountain of arrears to do but at leat I haven’t fallen behind any more.

Thursday 11th October 2018 – I’VE BEEN OUT …

cabourg calvados normandy france… today,

Josée fancied a drive out to sit on a beach and was attracted by the sound of Cabourg, the summer home of Marcel Proust at the turn of the 20th Century.

So boldly going where I don’t ever recall having been before but I bet you any money that I have, because at one time or another either with Shearings or with Nerina I’ve worked my way along the whole coast of Northern France, for as Proust himself once famously said, “remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were”.

Thus Caliburn, Josée and I set off for the seaside.

Much to my amazement, I had a reasonably comfortable sleep last night and if I did go anywhere on my travels I really don’t remember. But whztever, I was up early, medicated and attacking the web pages for my voyage on the Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour long before Josée had even shown a leg.

As a reslt of my new-found energy I now have two amended pages – one web page with lots of stuff on it and another oage which is day two of my blog which although had been published a while back, now has some photos on it..

After breakfast Josée had the idea of going to sample the local products such as cheese, sausage and the like. Of course, she won’t find any of that around here in my apartment so we duly set sail into the town.

A rather large carrier bag and a coffee later, we found ourselves back in the apartment making butties for the route.

noah ark villedieu les poeles manche normandy franceIt’s about a two-hour drive to Cabourg (and more if you go through the centre of Caen, if you stop to do a little shopping and also if you stop for a bathroom)

And at one of the places where we stopped for a comfort break, we found that our biblical friend Noah was also there making a comfort break too.

I couldn’t resist taking a photograph to prove that he had been there.

As a result of all of this it was about 15:30 that we arrived in Cabourg.

trotting horses exercising plage de cabourg beach normandy franceAs the sky clouded over we ate our rather late lunch on the beach watching the horses and carriages exercising.

There’s a race track not too far from here and it seems as if trotting is quite the thing there judging by how they were exercising the horses today.

Wet sand is pretty good for exercise because it builds up the muscles of the horses and when they run on dry sand they have much more physical strength at their disposal.

josée constant plage de cabourg beach franceAfter lunch Josée decided to go for a paddle in the sea.

Of course it’s probably far warmer than where I last put my feet in the sea – at Etah in Greenland about 1300 kms from the North Pole, but nevertheless I stayed on dry land and watched her enjoy herself.

She told me that it was quite warm in there (comparatively speaking but of course she is from Québec) but I’ll take her word for that.

brittany ferries ouistreham caen portsmouth normandy franceI was far more interested in the activities down the coast.

We aren’t all that far from Ouistreham which is the ferry port for Caen and there are some big ships that sail out of there on their way to the UK.

There was one in the port when we arrived but at 16:30 flat it took off and set sail. I took a good photo of it, and also a good photograph of a seagull who decided to come and join in the fun.

cabourg houlgate calvados normandy franceTHere was still time to take one or two more photos of the area.

The towns down along the coast looked as if they might be likely subjects and while Le Havre, although well visible, was too fr away to come out well, the seaside resort of Houlgate didn’t have the same issues.

That has come out quite well despite the weather conditions because by now it was starting to rain.

It rained almost as far as Caen but then we were stuck in a traffic queue. That took a while to clear so we were later than anticipated. And we had the usual issue at the toll on the autoroute where they wanted to charge me for Class 2 instead of Class 1.

Back here it had been a beautiful day with blue sky so Josée went fpr a walk in the evening twilight while I attacked a few more things to do. And then we had tea.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in 2012 I had been to a place in Québec called Harrington Harbour and I had spoken about a film that had been made there.

Josée actually knew the film so we found it on the internet and we sat down and watched most of it until she retired. And I quite enjoyed it, as well as recognising many places that I remembered.

But there was one thing that struck me about the film.

The “Doctor Lewis” is from Montreal and when he is installed in what is easily the best house on the island, he is heard to complain to his girlfriend about how primitive and shabby it is.

What this is implying is that the 90% of all Canadian citizens, those who live withing 50 miles of the US border, don’t have the least idea about the quality of life out on the Bas Cote-Nord – the “Forgotten Coast” – never mind places like Resolute, Grise fiord and Pond Inlet.

And if that’s the case, they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves

brittany ferries ouistreham caen portsmouth normandy france
brittany ferries ouistreham caen portsmouth normandy france

josée constant plage de cabourg beach france
josée plage de cabourg beach france

josée constant plage de cabourg beach france
josée plage de cabourg beach france

josée constant plage de cabourg beach france
josée plage de cabourg beach france

josée constant plage de cabourg beach france
josée plage de cabourg beach france

josée constant plage de cabourg beach france
josée plage de cabourg beach france

josée constant plage de cabourg beach france
josée plage de cabourg beach france

naval patrol vessel plage de cabourg beach france
naval patrol vessel plage de cabourg beach france

trotting horses exercising plage de cabourg beach normandy france
trotting horses exercising plage de cabourg beach normandy france

trotting horses exercising plage de cabourg beach normandy france
trotting horses exercising plage de cabourg beach normandy france

Tuesday 29th May 2012 – ALL ALONG THE WATCHT … errrr … ST LAWRENCE

sentier des roitelets riviere des vases quebec canadaI’ll remember this spot again, that’s for sure. I’m at the parking for the Sentier des Roitelets right by the Riviere des Vases on the shore of the St Lawrence River.

Hidden in here behind the hedge I was out like a light and didn’t feel a thing until the dawn.Even the rainstorm didn’t awaken me. And this is the first time since we’ve had rain – on the way to Harrington Harbour several weeks ago, I reckon.

riviere des vases quebec canadaDo you see the remains of a wooden quay just here?

This area was comparatively well-populated 100 years ago. The eel-grass that grows along here has a special quality that makes it spring back into shape after it has been compressed by a weight and so was in great demand for car seats.

Families lived here and harvested the grass, and ships used to come from Detroit to pick it up and take it to the car factories. But a change in manufacturing technique rendered it obsolete when a substitute was found and by 1934 the industry had collapsed and everyone had moved away.

noel au chateau riviere du loup quebec canadaI’d been out to look at the ferry terminal at Riviere du Loup (where I’d landed on my first trip over here) and on the way back into town, I encountered this building.

It’s the Noel au Chateau, a bit of the “Neuschwanstein Castle” transported to the wilds of Canada, built in 1971 and now used as an exhibition centre and a small amusement park out here. It’s certainly different.

Church of St Patrice riviere du loup quebec canadaI’d been through here before on my first trip but I didn’t stop to photograph the town. Now’s the time to put that right.

This is the Church of St Patrice, the building of which started in 1855 but due to a lack of funds, wasn’t completed until 1883. The church then almost immediately caught fire and burnt down, just like everything else in Eastern Canada.

harbour riviere du loup quebec canadafrom up here on the steps of the church there’s a splendid view of the harbour. It’s a shame that there isn’t a ship coming in or going out, to add something to the photograph.

But over there on the far shore is the Noel au Chateau, where I had been just now.

Beyond there is the Charlevoix but there’s little chance of seeing that today with the low cloud that’s hovering over the St Lawrence.

catholic youth labour organisation united states consulate riviere du loup quebec canadaThat building just there is the headquarters of the Riviere du Loup Catholic Youth Labour Organisation, but its claim to fame dates from a good while before then.

In fact, between 1928 and 1931 it was the office of the United States Consulate. And that, of course, begs the question “how substantial was the United States presence in this area if it necessitated the presence of the United States Consulate?”

highway 132 st lawrence river quebec canadaThe road that runs along the southern shore of the St Lawrence, Highway 132, is called the Route des Navigateurs, the “Road of the Navigators”.

Whilst it’s nothing like as attractive as Highway 138 on the north shore, it does have its moments here and there such as just here with the beautiful cliffs in the background. If it takes me through places like this, I shan’t be complaining too much.

agricultural land st lawrence river south shore quebec canadaThere’s another difference between the southern shore and the northern shore, and that’s related to the land use.

Whilst the northern shore is rocky and concentrates mostly on forestry products and tourism, the flood plain here on the southern shore is very fertile and there’s a considerable amount of agriculture here. You can tell just how much by the number of silos that you can see in this photograph.

original site of kamouraska quebec canadaThis is the original site of the town of Kamouraska, settled between 1696 and 1791.

During that period, it was the civil and religious centre of the south shore of the St Lawrence east of Riviere-Ouelle. There were two churches here, and there were over 1300 burials in the cemetery. No individual graves seem to be recorded but there are these commemorative tablets listing the inhabitants of the cemetery grouped by family name.

Apart from several anonymes, we have a few tablets for Innu, Malicetes and so on, as well as un homme noir nommé Pierre – “a black man called Pierre”.

church riviere ouelle quebec canadaThis is the church of the town of Riviere-Ouelle.

This small town of about 1,000 inhabitants is a very sad relic of what was at one time the most important town on this part of the southern shore of the St Lawrence. 150-odd years ago there were over 4,000 inhabitants.

old harbour river wall riviere ouelle quebec canadaThanks to the railway line that was here, it was a vibrant port on the St Lawrence and the terminus of an important ferry that called at several places on the north shore.

It does have a modern claim to fame in that there’s a bar laitiere, an ice cream parlour, on the edge of town that serves the most delicious vegan ice cream that I have ever tasted, although not today in this weather.

annual festival of sea shanties strawberry moose saint jean port joli festival of sea shanties quebec canadaOne thing for which the town of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli is famous is for the annual Festival of Sea Shanties.

It goes without saying that Strawberry Moose fancies himself as an entrant after his antics in the baggage hold of the aeroplane on the way over.

This is something that takes place every August and so he was quite keen to know my travel plans for late summer this year.

And when I informed him that it might be a possibility, he spent a happy half-an-hour practising while I wandered off to take a few photographs of the area.

church de saint jean port joli quebec canadaWhilst you admire the church, which dates from 1779 and is famous for its collection of sculptures, let me tell you that Saint-Jean-Port-Joli is one of the oldest settlements on this part of the St Lawrence.

It dates from about 1677, although you won’t find much dating to before 1759 as the village was burned by General Wolfe’s Fraser Highlanders during the invasion of 1759

windmill saint jean port joli quebec canadaThese days it’s a very important tourist destination with the Sea Shanty Fesitval of course, and also the marina and an annual symposium of wood sculpture. In fact, several wood sculptors have chosen the town as their home venue

It also has a windmill. All seigneurs were obliged to provide a corn mill for their habitants and whilst many were water powered, some were powered by the wind. This one, one of the few surviving windmills, won’t be doing all that much until they cut down the tree that is in front of it, shading it from the wind.

levis ship st lawrence river quebec canadaMy road takes me into the town of Levis and whilst I’m stopped on the old quayside overlooking the St Lawrence River and the city of Quebec to eat my butty, this beauty goes steaming past my parking space, steaming underneath the skyscrapers.

I’ve seen a couple of ships on the river, but this one is my candidate for today’s “Ship of the Day”, even if she is badly in need of a good coat or two of paint.

st ignace sorel st lawrence ferry quebec canadaThere’s another candidate for “Ship of the Day” right out there down the river.

I have a good view of it steaming – or rather, dieseling – towards me, and that’s because I’m right in the middle of the river. I’m on the ferry that goes across the St Lawrence from Sorel-Tracy to St Ignace. I saw this on my way out and this was the way that I decided to come back. I hadn’t crossed over here before.

From here I drove back down the Chemin du Roy to Repentigny where I have a motel organised for tonight. This is a road that I know very well and I’ve travelled along it dozens of times. You can read all about my adventures along here over the years by following this link but you need to go backwards if you know what I mean.

Back at the motel I washed and cleaned all of the crockery and cutlery and made sure that everything else was clean. And then I packed it away ready to put it into store tomorrow.

I don’t want to go home