It’s not necessarily the quality of it because I still have a great deal of issues with that, but it’s the dramatic and stark effect of the colours here. Just as I lined up a shot of Cancale silhouetted on its clifftop across the Bay, the light gave me everything I wanted just at the correct moment and it’s come out exactly as I would have wished, with no post-processing at all.
It’s one of those very rare photographs where everything that you are trying to do suddenly does it itself with you having to try.
Another thing that I did without really having to try was to haul myself out of bed before the third alarm. And I bet that that took you as much by surprise as it took me too. Mind you, I was only sitting on the edge of the bed is a dazed and weary state, not exactly running around like a headless chicken.
After the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was in the USA last night and Trump was giving a concert. He had someone playing banjo or mandolin or something and he was playing bass and singing, doing some kind of rap about how good he was, and everyone in the crowd was greeting him with stony silence. He was becoming all worked up on the stage and everyone was treating him with stony silence. When everyone left I had a look at the bass guitar. It was just a cheap $29 thing so I said to someone of the road crew “at least you might have got him a real guitar to play with”. They replied “he does have a real one but he was afraid he’d be all emotional”. Trump heard this conversation and came over, and started to have a bit of a go at me about it. I said “I’ll tell you what my life means to me. Come with me”. He couldn’t get the hang of what was going on but “come with me, come outside”. So we went outside and there was Caliburn. I opened the door to the back of Caliburn and there on the floor was a mattress and a sleeping bag and a few bits and pieces. I was living rough. And there at the side of the sleeping bag was the Gibson EB3. “That’s what my bass means to me” I said. “It’s all that I have here”.
The next thing was about the wife of my friend on the Wirral. She was telling me that she had been taken into a bedroom by an Indian guy to which I said “lucky her” and they spent 4 hours together so I said “even more lucky her” discussing some kind of new sales venture for some kind of product that she might have been interested in. There was much more to it than this but in the time it took me to grab hold of the dictaphone I forgot it.
The next hour or so was spent dealing with the arrears of work. I’ve been stuck in Chateau Gaillard for the last 2 weeks and I can’t seem to drag myself out of there. I seem to be bogged in there quite deeply at the moment.
That took me up to shower time and weigh time, and I’ve gained 1kilo in weight in this last week. But examining my body closely (and isn’t that a gruesome task?) I noticed that my feet and ankles are swollen. So it looks as if the water retention is back again and that will explain this weight issue.
It’s the tradition in France for people to have oysters as a Christmas treat (which probably explains why so many babies are born here at the end of September) and there in the Rue Lecampion where there’s the fishmonger’s, with the butcher just down the road, it just looks like Poland as I remember it in the 1970s, or the UK after 6 months of Brexit.
But I was joking about the oysters and babies just now. Don’t you believe everything that you hear about oysters. I had 12 of them on my wedding night and only 9 of them worked.
But it didn’t prevent me from having a good mooch around for a look at the decorations in the Place Charles de Gaulle. And I was right about one thing, in that they aren’t very inspiring this year. It seems to be merely the same stuff that has been here for the last ever so many years, just arranged differently.
But anyway I pushed on to the Railway Station for my tickets for next week. The clerk in the office was on her own so I asked her about the trains next week. At the moment, they are still running as advertised. Whether it stays like that, we shall see.
Not so much recently – not (I hasten to add) because the situation has improved but because there is just so much of it that it’s become boring and even i’m fed up of it. But I couldn’t let a thing like this go by.
Right outside the railway station is the bus station. all of the long-distance buses (of which there are plenty) as well as the two service buses for the town come here and there are 4 bays. But this driver has decided that he’s allowed to park in one of them and the bus that goes in there can park elsewhere.
Of course, it’s a BMW and like Audi drivers, they consider that the rules of the road and of common courtesy don’t apply to them.
On the way up the hill I stuck my head in the newsagent’s. I’d heard that US Granville had made some club facemasks and the newsagent was selling them. These are tough times and we have to do what we can to help things along right now, and so I bought one to wear when I’m in Belgium.
At La Vie Claire they had Seitan slices so I bought two ridiculously expensive packs and then went round to LIDL for the shopping. I bought most of what I needed but shock! horror! no Brussels sprouts. How do you have Christmas without Brussels sprouts?
Luckily I still have some frozen ones for the meals on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but it’s going to be touch and go after that.
There’s quite a lot going on in there now that wasn’t happening earlier. They seem to be setting up some kind of Christmas market in the Square, although that doesn’t look much like Christmas goodies to me.
But at least the kiddies’ roundabout was working and entertaining some clients. And that’s good news because Christmas is all about children anyway and they ought to be making the most of it while they are still young enough.
There’s a fresh seafood stall on the harbour every Friday morning selling the stuff that his boat has landed that morning. But with Friday being Christmas Day it looks as if he’s having his stall a day earlier to cash in on the Christmas trade.
And quite right too. Even though I don’t eat animal products, it’s up to others what they do and there is nothing at all quite like fresh food of any description.
So having caught my breath, for I was carrying some quite heavy shopping, I carried on back home where I had a slice of my fruit bread and a mug of hot chocolate.
And then, shame as it is to say it, I crashed out good and proper on my chair. It was late-ish when I returned from the shops but even so, it was 13:30 when I awoke, feeling like total death yet again. This is what I meant earlier when I said that I wasn’t too good right now. It’s just not possible at the moment for me to live a normal life like this and it’s dismaying me very much.
So at lunch, I’d run out of bread so I set about making some more. Not the sourdough this time but a real loaf. I want to see how my technique is doing and to see if the fault about my sourdough not rising is because of me or the sourdough.
And so I bashed out a quick 500-gramme dough mix with yeast and several handfuls of sunflower seeds and left it on one side to see what it would do.
And wild was hardly the word either. The wind has shifted around and we now have a nor’easter instead of a sou’wester as we had yesterday. So if you thought that the Bay of Granville was turbulent yesterday, you ought to have seen it this afternoon. There hasn’t been anything quite like this for a considerable period of time and I bet that the boys in Thora and Normandy Trader are glad that they are tucked up safe and sound in the harbour in St Helier.
It was enough to make me want to join them but the journey across to Jersey would be extremely uncomfortable right now.
And if you are able to peer underneath the clouds, it was the kind of afternoon where the visibility was so impressive and you could see a very long great distance down the coast. Cap Frehel and its lighthouse were just about visible with the naked eye over to the right on this photo.
We’ve had some good shots of Cap Frehel in the past, better than this one of course, but it’s not every day that it’s visible with the naked eye
While I was scanning along the Brittany coast with the camera, I noticed a strange phenomenon out there in certain places so I photographed it for a closer look to see what it might be. And back here in the comfort and warmth of my apartment I determined that it was actually a rainstorm out there.
Of course, as I said earlier, the wind is blowing in the wrong direction for us to be bothered about it right now, but the wind is a highly volatile and uncertain beast and can change direction at any given moment.
Once more, there are no boats out there in the bay but we do have this beautiful sunset, an excellent example of which you have already seen. And here’s another really good view of Cancale across the Baie de Mont St Michel, lit up as if it was on a stage and they had switched on the spotlights.
Far too many people about for me to break into a run this afternoon so I walked off down the path instead.
Nothing could have been a greater contrast than the sea down on the southern side of the headland by the port. Whereas yesterday we had a raging storm with waves crashing over the sea wall, today the sea seems to be almost becalmed.
Actually, it isn’t but that was how it was looking this afternoon especially after yesterday.
But that was enough for me anyway, I had a peek in at the chantier navale to see that there was no change whatever there, and then carried on home for a hot coffee and a mince pie. And delicious, if a bit sweet and sickly.
And the bread had risen like a lift. I’d never had it go up quite like this before. It was so impressive. I gave it a good squeezing to let the gases out and then shaped it and put it in its bread mould, covering it with a damp tea-towel.
And now I have a little Christmas present for you all. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my friend Liz and I produced a series of programmes for several local radio stations in the Auvergne under the “Radio Anglais” banner back in those days.
While I was looking around for something I came across one of the Christmas Specials that we did, so I’ve uploaded it to the internet FOR YOU ALL TO LISTEN TO OVER CHRISTMAS with much love and best wishes from me.
Don’t take too long in listening to it because I need the space on my server so I’ll be taking it down again after a week or so. So you’ll probably be better off downloading it onto your own machine. Or, if you make your next Amazon purchase via the links on the right and I receive a small commission on the deal, I can buy more space.
While I was at guitar practice I had the oven warming up and I slipped the loaf of bread in there at a suitable moment along with a potato and, later on, a slice of frozen home-made pie.
In fact, I had to abort the trip along the Rue du Nord and seek shelter within the narrow streets of the old town by dodging down an alley way. We’ve seen plenty of photos of the Rue St Jean in our time but we haven’t seen one from this viewpoint. The Place Cambernon is just down there at the bottom and the Porte St Jean which we have photographed on several occasions is right down there at the end out of the picture.
And if you look up at the top you can see the spire of the Eglise Notre Dame du Cap Lihou all illuminated.
We took a photo of the street from the Place de L’Isthme a few weeks ago and so I reckoned that I should take one back up to the place where I was at the time, just for the record. And then I set off for a run along there all the way to the end of the street.
As I emerged into the open square at the end I was hit by a huge blast of wind that brought me to a dead stop, and I’m not surprised because it was wild.
That was enough to make me not want to hang around any longer out of doors – especially now that it had started to rain as well, And so I went down ste steps to the Place Maurice Marland and ran on home.
But up on the walls the night was looking so beautiful despite the rain, so I took a photo of the harbour, the Baie de Mont St Michel and all of the lights out there twinkling away on the Brittany coast. It was all looking quite magical tonight and I’ve no idea why.
But that’s enough of my waxing lyrical for the moment. It’s time I was at home tucking into the tea.
It had risen quite a lot while it was sitting for its second proofing, but in the oven it’s not done too much more. But as I took it out of its mould, part of it had stuck so I sampled it. And it was perfect, it really was. The best that I’ve made to date. There’s nothing wrong with my technique at all.
With the veg water I made a delicious gravy, and the whole lot was finished off with apple crumble with some soya dessert stuff. That was what I called a good tea.
So now it’s Christmas Day and I’ve written up my notes. I’m off to bed. A Merry Christmas to you all and I hope that Santa brings you lots of nice things, including, more important than presents, lots of love and good health. We’re living in hard times right now but at least we are living, and the joys of the internet mean that we can stay even closer all the same.
There’s our radio show to listen to and tomorrow night at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK Time, 15:00 Montreal and Toronto time etc, there’s my Christmas broadcast on LE BOUQUET GRANVILLAIS. It’s a special live rock concert that I’ve spent some time preparing and I hope that you’ll enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed preparing it.
Best wishes from me.