Tag Archives: thunderstorm

Tuesday 16th August 2022 – SUMMER IS BACK!

After the couple of days that we had of grey overcast weather conditions, Summer came back with a bang today.

Not quite the record-breaking temperatures that we had, but blue skies all the same.

dry footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And while we’re on the subject of the hot weather … “well, one of us is” – ed … I thought that you might like to see how things are doing around here.

This is the footpath on top of the cliffs at the back of the Sports Ground. It’s the route that I take down to the end of the headland and you can see how it is (or isn’t) holding up.

The path itself is a layer about an inch thick of dust. On the edges of the path the grass has dried out completely and has died off in places. The rest of it, what’s left, is a burnt shrivelled mass and it’ll take a while to regenerate.

Those little showers of rain that we have had just recently haven’t done anything towards improving the situation.

What else took a while to regenerate this morning was me, unfortunately.

It wasn’t until 09:00 that the alarm went off for me to awaken but there was a good reason for that. Late last night a Paul Temple adventure came up on the old-time radio feed just as I was thinking of going to bed. A programme that is timed at 3:25:00

These old radio programmes are really excellent and so I was planning on listening for an hour or so before going to bed. But instead I ended up listening to the whole programme and it was long after 01:00 when I fell into the stinking pit.

Not that I’m bothered about that because life is for enjoying too as well as working and let’s face it – I’m not getting much pleasure in anything else right now

So after I’d finally staggered into the kitchen for my medication I came back in here to find out where I’d been during the night.

And it’s no surprise that I wasn’t feeling like much today when you look at where I went during the night. Having stayed awake until all hours listening to a Paul Temple episode, when I was asleep I had a Paul Temple episode going on in my head. It went on for hours and hours and hours. It involved some saucepans and saucepan lids but everything was just so confusing that I can’t remember any of it. It rambled on and on and on about these guys who I think might have been sportsmen on small boats or something. That’s all that I can really say about this that went on for hours.

And then we were still in Istanbul (had we been there before? I dunno). We’d been talking to some people about meeting up with someone and performing an interview. They to whom we were talking was a taxi driver had something to do and he produced a girl. She exited his cab and walked away. The person with me said that that would have been a good interview. He explained that she was rather too far in in this organisation and would likely cause a lot of problems. She spent most of her time being institutionalised and the rest of the time going round with this gang. So we agreed and he said that he’d see who else he could find for us. He drove away. The person with me said “God, I have to go” and dashed through the door in this stone terraced house and disappeared. I went through this door. There was a set of really steep steps that went down to the river. I went down there as best as I could. I had no idea where he went. There were 2 or 3 cafés at the bottom. He didn’t appear to be in either so I wondered whether he’d gone to the toilet so I’d wait around. There was a girl painter there with a boy whom she was painting. He was carrying this brown and black cat. She was drawing the cat so I went over to talk to her and to stroke the cat. It wasn’t all that friendly but it didn’t fight or anything. We chatted about the cat for quite some time.

Later on we were on a train heading north towards Doncaster somewhere like that. We were on board and it was an express. There were a few seats taken, not all that many. We walked along the train trying to find our places to sit. I can’t remember any more than that

At some point or other a girl with me announced that she was pregnant but it was sort-of announced by accident. It wasn’t a planned announcement, it came out in the conversation. I asked her what she was going to do but she didn’t give a reply so we went back home and went in. The house was totally filthy and really awful. Everyone was just sitting around in a complete state of untidiness. Someone said “you’ll never guess what the baby (for there was another baby in there) had been playing with. He went on to say that it was a half-dead mouse. “I just threw it i ntothe middle of the room” he said which made everyone shudder. I had to start to look for this thing. I thought that if any girlfriend of mine was going to be pregnant this place is going to have to be cleaned up because she shouldn’t bring up a child in this no matter how someone else was bringing up another one. It clearly wasn’t any good at all and we needed to do something about it.

And finally I was walking along the shore on the edge of a beach. There was some people and a dog down there playing about in somewhere where there had been a great big fire. I could hear them discussing it. They seemed to think that it was some form of spontaneous combustion of whatever was underneath the sand. They were busy digging away at it and walking in for a closer look. I carried on walking past and ended up in the mountains in the snow looking at the maps about the ski resort and the various tracks to descend into the valley again. I was looking for either a blue or a red run. Eventually I found what I thought might be a good place to go down but there was a lot of fog around. It came swirling around cutting off the view of the valley and then the view of the sign with the routes on it. I thought to myself that this is going to be extremely difficult for me to go

That skiing excursion actually reminded me of a skiing adventure in which I took part in Cervinia in Italy in the days of my youth. I was with my Italo-Russian friend and we were up in the mountains of Italy near the Matterhorn. We were with a few other people but we were actually in front and when we returned to the village we found that we were on our own.

There had been hanging clouds in the mountains and they had missed the left-turning in the mist and carried straight on downhill into a different valley and ended up in Switzerland. In the days of border controls with no passports or anything, and the 38-mile taxi ride to return to the hotel was the least of their problems.

But something else that was interesting was the dream about the untidy house. We all know only too much about that these days and so for the rest of the day (because there wasn’t much of the rest of it after typing out all of that) I’ve been tidying up in here.

A huge pile of rubbish, papers and the like, bit the dust today. It’s all in the bin and a lot more would have followed it except that each time that I went out I bumped into a neighbour and we had a lengthy chat. Not that I’m one for chatting to the neighbours but I do have to try to be sociable occasionally.

And I now know why the barrier to the car park isn’t working. I wondered where the car of one of my neighbours had gone

As well as taking out the papers I’ve actually put some stuff away too, I have cunning plans for more stuff and later on tonight I’m going to go outside with my old non-working printer and … errr … forget where I left it. This is going to be quite a long job.

In fact I was so carried away that I forgot to go for breakfast. That’s not like me, is it? Although I am eating less these days than I have done in the past.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022It was a surprise that I actually managed to make it out for my afternoon walk.

As usual I went across to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach. With the weather being a lot warmer and sunnier than it has been this last couple of days I was expecting to see the crowds.

And as usual, I’m not disappointed. This was just a few of them, with many people having taken to the water to cool off. There were crowds of people elsewhere disporting themselves on beach towels catching the sun all the way down the coast.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was at it, I had a look out to sea to see what was happening there.

When I’d been walking down to the end of the car park I’d seen something white out at sea. It’s actually a yacht with a white sail with green stripe that’s cavorting around out there and it has a friend way over there towards the northern Normandy shore.

Over to the right of the yacht in the foreground is a marker buoy, presumably indicating another lobster pot, and then we have one of the many bouchot farms of the area in the background with its stakes rearing up like a medieval cheval de frise

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As you can tell from the previous photo, the view was so much better today with the air being much cleaner.

That meant that I had high hopes for a photo of Jersey and St Helier so I went and found a piece of high ground where there might be a really good view.

And once again I wasn’t disappointed. It’s not the clearest view that we have had of St Helier but it’s still pretty good all the same.

One of these days I’ll really have to get myself out there somehow so that I can identify all of the buildings that I can see from here. The way that things are right now, I’ll have to hitch a ride on a freighter.

kayak cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Or else flag down a friendly cabin cruiser.

As I walked through the sandy wastes towards the end of the headland I noticed this cabin cruiser pull up. At first I thought that it might be a group of fishermen but as I watched they lowered something down at the stern.

A couple of minutes later someone climbed in and kayaked away. And it’s a good job that it’s summer because you don’t need to keep warm. After all, we all know that you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

And on that not, I wandered off further down the path.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The car park was crowded again with cars so I was expecting to see a lot of people here too.

Plenty of folk down on the lower path and there was a couple of people sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

Not that they had very much to see because there were no boats out there this afternoon and no-one fishing on the rocks.

However, the buoy that we saw yesterday marking what I assume to be a lobster pot was still there so they can keep their eye on that.

ch638749 pescadore ch918297 trafalgar ch764626 chant des sirenes ch449345 peccavi ch 730708 la soupape I ch898472 cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what’s happening in the port.

And there are yet more changes in the chantier naval as another trawler has come in to join the fray today. The black and blue trawler in the middle of all of that is Pescadore.

She always confuses me because when I first came here she was actually blue and white but had a repaint a while back.

Meanwhile over at the ferry terminal out of shot is Chausiaise, the little freighter. She’s not going anywhere at the moment.

marie fernand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was here I went to check to see if anyone was playing “Musical Ships” at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon but I was side-tracked.

Over there in the inner harbour is a yacht. At first I thought that it might be Charles Marie because it seems to be the same style, but the colours are different. This one here is dark brown rather than dark blue.

So I shall have to go for a closer look to see if I can pick up a name.

But there’s another lorry in the port this afternoon, presumably dropping off some more freight for the Channel Islands. Things are certainly hotting up here as far as freight goes. We’re starting to be over-run and that’s good news.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Heading off towards the inner harbour (forgetting all about the Fish Processing Plant) I noticed that Victor Hugo is back in port.

The last that I heard of her she was running a shuttle around the outlying islands of the Channel Islands but now she’s back in the inner harbour and moored up at the quayside. It looks as if her mad dashes out and about over the last couple of days have come to a halt.

However I hope that it’s only a temporary pause. I mentioned earlier that I want to get out to the Channel Islands at some point in the near future and I had some high hopes that the ferry might become a regular thing. It’s no part of my plan for her to be laid up for long.

marie fernand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So back at the inner harbour and the yacht that’s in here.

It was not easy to read her name but a check of the fleet radar later revealed that she’s called Marie Fernand. She was built in 1894 as one of the harbour pilots for Le Havre and the northern Frenc coast, duties that she carried out until motorisation of the pilot service after World War I.

She was sold to someone in the UK in 1922 and for a long time disappeared from view.

Someone told me a delightful anecdote about her though. They planned to build a reconstruction of her in time for her centenary so they cast around for the plans. However someone had the rather brilliant idea “why don’t we just copy the original?”.

That was the first that the organisers knew that she still existed so they convinced the British owners to sell her back to the port and since then she’s been restored and was present at her own centenary.

There’s the Festival of Working Sailboats taking place soon so I imagine that she’s come here to be part of it.

Back here I had my iced coconut drink and did a little more tidying up. It’s going to take me an age to do what I want to do.

Tea was the second half of that rather wicked curry. and it was wicked as well. I’ll have to put the toilet paper in the fridge later.

But I didn’t go out to put the printer out. Even as I write we’re having a thunderstorm and a rainstorm. The printer doesn’t really work but I want to give someone a sporting chance and soaking it in water won’t help.

No radio tonight – I’m listening to music so I doubt if I’ll have a late night. I must remember to reset the alarm and then tomorrow carry on with my cleaning plan, otherwise known as “throwing out surplus items”.

A good night’s sleep would be nice too. We can live in hope.

Thursday 23rd June 2022 – THAT WAS A …

… nice evening tonight.

Rosemary and I along with Rosemary’s Ukrainian refugee family drove all the way out to the camp site at Les Ancizes where we met Ingrid and Clotilde. We had a good evening meal and a good chat and the owner of the establishment even treated the Ukrainians to a round of drinks.

Miss Ukraine didn’t finish her burger so I teased her by saying that she wasn’t going home until she finished it but she put on such a sad face that not only did I relent, I let her have an ice-cream too. After all, every kid has the right to an ice-cream.

And there were no issues about being full up when the ice-cream arrived. She scraped the glass so hard to collect the last bits that Rosemary and I were convinced that if she carried on she would be through the glass and out the other side.

Mind you we were lucky that we could go. At 15:00 there was such a torrential rainstorm that I thought that the end of the world had come and the gale that accompanied it brought down a thick tree trunk in next door’s garden.

And it was another night full of celestial artillery too. Even though I went to bed early I was awoken at 0:40 by a clap of thunder that would have awoken the dead. And I was still awake a few hours later when the binmen came round.

After tea in bed I had a shower and then did some clothes washing. And while Rosemary ran Mr Ukraine into town to buy some stuff I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. Something had happened to a young person. All of his stuff had been damaged and waterlogged etc. In the end it had come to me so I’d sorted it out, dried it out, had it cleaned and everything. I rang up his parents about it. They were extremely unhappy to the point of violence about someone having been through all their son’s affairs. I thought that this would have been what someone would have wanted someone else to do instead of being given a huge mass of soggy wet and miserable paper and clothing etc but these people were really on the point of violence about all of this. I really couldn’t understand what was going through their heads.

Later on I’d written a letter and gone to have it printed but the printer had been going offset on my printer and it did it again so I had to go to find a public printer. I’d been working in the middle of the street in Crewe so I had to leave my things there and hope that no-one would pinch them while I went off to find a printer. Just as I was leaving there were these people in what looked like a Bond Bug but an enormous vehicle. There were probably 12 people, piles of kids as well as adults in this. They pulled out of a parking place, did a U-turn and hit my bag and drove off. I thought that the police would be interested in this. As I arrived at where I thought that I knew where there was a printer there were loads of these elderly motorcycles from 100 years ago and a few orchestras playing a song that I can’t remember now what it was. It looked like some rally of vintage motorbikes. I was really depressed that I hadn’t brought my camera with me for once. I arrived at this place and first of all I had to weigh my package but weighing t on this set of scales by this printer was so complicated and there were so many formulas even depending on the age of the person you were sending the parcel to, I was just hopelessly confused and couldn’t work out exactly what I was supposed to do and how much I was supposed to pay for posting it off. .

When they came back we were invited for coffee with the Ukrainians and then after lunch we had a major rainstorm and also a visitor.

That took us up to time to go for our meal. We crowded into Rosemary’s car and set off, going the pretty way past Chateau Rocher and Chateaneuf les Bains.

It was good to meet up with everyone again and chat and we all had a good time. I was definitely sorry when they all decided that it was time to go home.

Stopping in St Gervais to put fuel in Rosemary’s car we then came back the quick way vial Teilhet and Menat. After all, it was too dark to see anything

And so I’m off to bed. Having done my washing this morning I’m ready to hit the road again. I have to push onwards if I’m ever to get anywhere. I can’t hang around here for ever.

Wednesday 22nd June 2022 – WELCOME HOME

les guis virlet France Eric Hall photo June 2022This morning I went round to my house in Virlet. And I’m not going to say too much about it because it was so depressing.

You’ll be able to see what I mean by looking at this photograph. There was no way of getting even close to the house because of all the weeds and brambles.

The last time that I was there two years ago I was able to fight my way into the place with the aid of a heavy-duty brush-cutter but I’m in no fit condition to even attempt that these days.

And in any case I don’t have a brush-cutter. So that ruled that out. But it was such a disappointment.

And for a change, until I saw my house I was feeling fighting-fit. I’d eventually gone off to sleep despite all of the celestial artillery and wasn’t that a real racket? It was the loudest storm that I’ve lived through for quite a while.

As far as I knew I slept right the way through until about 06:45 and stayed in bed until 07:30. The morning cup of tea was rather later than usual.

After breakfast we set off. The house of a friend of Rosemary had been badly bashed about in a hailstorm and some temporary repairs had been effected. The insurance company needed to know that it was properly tarpaulined and as the owner is away right now, Rosemary was charged with the task of going and taking some photos.

It was after that that we went to inspect my pile.

Back here we had a coffee and I had another session with Miss Ukraine and her animal encyclopedia. Considering that she doesn’t speak English or French and I don’t speak Ukrainian (just a dozen or so words of Russian) we had an extremely dynamic chat that went on for ages and she guessed my favourite animal – turning straight away to the page with Polar Bears on it.

Yes, I seem to be flavour of the month right now and I’m not sure why. Rosemary seems to think that I’m the only person who ever listens to kids properly when they talk and that’s the nicest compliment someone has paid me for quite a while.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I think that kids get a pretty raw deal out of life. No-one ever seems to take any time with them or have any interest in them and what they have to say.

After lunch Rosemary had to go for a doctor’s appointment so I stayed behind and listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. We were camping, my brother and I. There was a river that was full of rocks. I made a kind of improvised ram out of an old railway carriage bogie and dropped it in the water on top of these rocks with the aim that the water would carry it down, clear some of these rocks and make the water run quicker. It jammed up under a bridge so I had to get there and free it off. That took quite a while. I set it off again and it hadn’t gone more than 20 yards when it became stuck in the bank of the river. This caused a big rock fall into the river and blocked the river. I thought that what I’d been doing so far hadn’t been a very great success. I had to make tea and we were camping. We had a couple of tents and there was a caravan oven there. There was a shop-bought pizza and I had to make another one. The first thing that I nearly did was to fall into the river. My brother came to see what was going on and gave me a few lectures about everything. Then I started to unwrap the shop-bought pizza ready to put in the oven. That could be cooking while I was making mine. But I didn’t have any ingredients to hand so I was debating with myself how I was going to make this pizza when I hadn’t any ingredients and no facilities like a table or anything to make the pizza on.

And later we’d been in a kind of museum or exhibition or something like that and were on our way out. I’d gone and picked up 2 packets of crisps but I couldn’t work out where to pay for them. I was halfway through walking out of the building before I realised that this wasn’t right so I went to put back these 2 packets of crisps and walked out down these steps. There were hundreds of coaches in this car park and thousands of people milling around. Eventually I worked my way round to where I thought our coach was parked but there was a coach there and they were shepherding a load of prisoners of war off it and marching them off. We were told to wait so we waited for a while but no-one came so in the end we set off towards our coach. This guy with a wooden leg came back and asked what we were doing. We replied that we were going to the coach. He told us we should have waited but we answered that we’d waited for long enough. He made us all sit down in the middle of the street and he asked “where’s this opium?”. We asked “what opium?” and he started playing silly games with us. He said that he was going to make us march all the way back again which we refused to do. We were sitting there in the middle of the road and he was becoming quite aggressive but we were having none of it. There was a party of girls sitting close by. One of them was one with whom I’d wandered around this museum. She shouted over to me that she had taken £1100 out of her bank account, given £310 to someone for something but couldn’t remember what this other £800 was for. Did I know? Could I remember? I remembered vaguely something but this wasn’t the time or place to mention it so I told her that I’d see her later. She replied “if there is a later” because this situation was slowly starting to escalate.

This afternoon I’ve had to help Mr Ukrainian dismantle the interior of his car. I the storm last night he had about 3 inches of water in it. We ended up taking out all of the seats and carpets and putting them somewhere to dry, and then using cloths to take out the water

Tea tonight was the leftover vegetable curry from last night and it was just as nice as yesterday.

So that was that. Rosemary and I were on our own for the evening so we didn’t stay out long. Right now I’m finishing my notes and then I’m off to bed. An early night and more pleasant dreams, I hope.

But who was the girl who I’d been with at that museum? I wish I knew. And I’m sure that you do too.

Saturday 1st August 2020 – I BIT THE …

… bullet today and finally galvanised myself into action for a change.

But more of that anon.

Despite still being awake at long after 03:00, I was actually sitting on the edge of the bed ready to get up when the third alarm went off at 06:15. But nevertheless it was still a struggle to rise up from that position.

Plenty to do this morning, despite my late night. I might not have been tired enough to sleep last night but I was too tired to do any work. After breakfast (more fruit salad and delicious bread) I finally managed to finish the notes from last night.

There was something on the dictaphone too. It was all about Crewe Alexandra winning promotion. They scored a really good goal. Jordan Bowery scored it – he fought his way through the defence to kick home. The commentators were there congratulating the team. It meant that several others didn’t have the chance to play off as the team coming out straight afterwards for another game were going to be extremely disappointed by the results and so on.

To clean myself off I had a good shower, a shave and a clothes-washing session and then I hit the road.

old car aston martin dbr2 ksv 975 1971 lech austria eric hallYesterday when we’d been down in the town we’d seen a Blower Bentley parked up at the hotel.

Today there’s another old and interesting vehicle parked up in the town and in case you haven’t recognised it, it’s an Aston Martin DBR2.

Well, that’s what you might think but it actually isn’t. According to the UK’s Driver and vehicle Licensing Authority it was first registered in 1971 and a little research reveals that when this vehicle was offered for sale in 2007 by Bonham’s the Auctioneers, it was described as a “1971 Aston Martin DBR2 Recreation”.

old car aston martin dbr2 ksv 975 1971 lech austria eric hallIt wasn’t sold cheaply either by Bonham’s. Including the Buyers’ Premium, it went for almost £78,000.

That price might sound expensive for a replica but an original sold for over £9,000,000 so the price of the replica is pretty small beer. And according to the guy who built a few Aston Martin replicas, even the £78,000 represented “a considerable premium to my build prices” so we’ll all have to go along and order one.

But they aren’t really the same as the original ones unfortunately because with being built to modern standards they have modern engines and a different style of chassis that doesn’t flex as much as the older one did and so takes away much of the excitement of driving it.

der lecher taxi lech austria eric hallIt’s easy to see why this town is the favourite town of Strawberry Moose.

He’s not been here for 48 hours and he has started his own taxi company here. And as you might expect, he’s chosen a most appropriate name for his business. I’m sure that he’ll pick up plenty of work over the period that he’s going to be here.

It’s a shame that he wasn’t here for a photo opportunity but he had plenty of other things to be doing to set his business off on the right foot.

alpine horn lech austria eric hallNot only is it the height of the tourist season it’s also a Saturday and so there are crowds of people around iin the town this morning

To entertain them, there were a few alpine horn players standing on the bridge over the river and I’ve no idea why they were taking such an intense interest in me as I was taking their photograph. I wasn’t making half as much noise as they were and I wasn’t blocking the traffic either.

The lederhosen that they were wearing didn’t impress me all that much either The didn’t look particularly interesting. And they all should be wearing their little felt hats with feathers in.

But it did remind me of the time that I was chatting to Lee Jackson, bassist/vocalist of The Nice, who told me that the only cure for an Alpine Horn was an Alpine maid.

river lech austria eric hallToday, I’m going to be doing what I really wanted to do yesterday had I been on form.

What I had wanted to do was to go for a tramp in the woods, but he got away so I was going to walk up into the mountains along the side of the river to see if I could make it as far as Zug. First I needed some supplies, so I went to the supermarket that I had visited yesterday.

Now that i’d organised food for the journey, I set off up the hill

cable lift lech austria eric hallYesterday we saw at the side of my hotel the cables of a gondola lift going up into the mountains to the east side of the town.

From up here where I’m standing, we can look right across the town and see the cables climbing right up into the mountains, the cable pylons on top of the first crest and then the station at the top way over to the right on the second crest.

One of these days when I’ve saved enough money (because it isn’t cheap by any means) I’ll take the gondola right up to the top because I imagine that the views would be totally spectacular. But knowing my luck, there would be a fog, a low cloud or a heat haze.

upper vorarlberg lech austria eric hallAs you saw in one of the previous photographs, there were two ways to go.

One of the ways was by the ordinary road that climbed its way up through the mountains, or the second way, which was the footpath that wound its way along at the side of the river.

The road looked all hot and bothered and not very inspiring but the path along the river went through a load of shade from the trees that were growing along the banks. And so as far as I was concerned that was the only way to go.

river lech austria eric hallAs you can see from this photo, I wasn’t wrong about the road.

You can see it up there where all of those cars are driving. It’s right out in the open there, in the sun and not the place to be in weather like this.

The town of Zug is out of view behind the crest of the ridge that you can see over to the left of the photo. I imagine that the river will wend its way around there and the path that I’m on will follow the river round to the town.

river lech austria eric hallWhere I took the previous photo was from the bridge just there across the river.

Hidden in the trees back there is a large open-air swimming pool and leisure centre that seemed to be very popular with all kinds of people. It was pretty busy. One of the things that I noticed here was an open-air café where I could conceivably buy a coffee on the way back because I had a feeling that I would be needing it.

But not right now because I was rather hot. I sat on a convenient bench and had a drink of the water that I’d remembered to bring with me.

river lech austria eric hallThe longer that I sit around doing nothing, the longer it will take me to reach Zug so I decided to press on along the trail.

It seemed that it didn’t matter which was I was going to do. Every path or road north-westwards up the valley seemed to lead into the hot sun. There was a really big clearing here round by this cabin and if they didn’t already have enough sunshine there were signs that there was tree-cutting taking place here.

There wasn’t anyone around attending to the timber so I carried on along the path.

mountains upper vorarlberg lech austria eric hallNot too far though because something interesting along the way had caught my eye.

On top of the mountains over there are some buildings and what’s exciting is wondering about how the occupiers get up their with their supplies. But seeing as over there is really the back of Lech I imagine that the buildings are some way connected to the ski lift and gondola system so people might come up that way.

But looking at that slope over there, I imagine that the way down on skis to the main road at the foot of the slope would be quite exciting too.

waterfall river lech austria eric hallIn one of the earlier photos you might have noticed some people at the side of the river and also the start of some rapids.

The elevation into the mountains is a lot steeper than you might think by looking at the photos and the water is running quite fast down the river. And with there being different strata of rocks around here and some rocks wearing quicker than other, the presence of rapids is assured

Not the kind that you can shoot in a raft unfortunately – there isn’t enough water for that at this time of the year.

rapids waterfall river lech austria eric hallNevertheless it’s still quite magnificent and powerful, and I’d love to see it in the spring when there is all of the meltwater flowing down the valley.

There has been so much water in the river at times that there have been some impressive flash floods lower down in the valley. There was a catastrophic flood in June 1910 when the flow of water reached 300 cubic metres per second. A church tower 52 metres high in Lechhausen was badly damaged and 5 million marks worth of damages was caused in Augsburg.

As a result in 1911 they started on building flood defences downriver.

rapids waterfall river lech austria eric hallThe town of Lech hasn’t been spared either. In August 2005 a considerable amount of damage was caused due to a sudden flash flood.

But returning to the river itself, its source is in the Formarinsee, a lake higher up in the mountains, and then flows a distance of about 250 kilometres, draining about 3900 square kilometres before feeding into the River Danube near Donauworth where we visited IN 2015.

It’s not a navigable river, due mainly to the shallow depth and the gravel beds. And also due to the fact that there are 33 power stations along its route.

people in water waterfall rapids river lech austria eric hallBut it’s certainly the place to be in the summer, especially on a hot, stifling day like today.

There was rather a large family group of people sitting on one of the gravel beds having a picnic and a paddle about in the water. And I must admit that I was sorely tempted to go and join them and dangle my feet in the water for 10 minutes or so.

But instead, I pushed on along the path towards Zug. At least there was some shade here amongst the trees as I scrambled up and over some of the undulations in the path

zug mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallOver there is the town of Zug, a lot farther away than it looks in this photograph, thanks to the wonders of good long-distance ZOOM LENSES. A couple of minutes further on from where I’d seen the people paddling in the pool I burst out into the sunlight and there it was through the trees.

But now it’s lunchtime and having found a handy bench in the shade, I have my book and my lunch – another half of a small melon and another can of that energy drink that had lifted my spirits yesterday, both of which I had purchased from the supermarket earlier.

And here I sat for a good half hour, in the middle of a golf course apparently judging by all of the people passing by with their golfing trolleys and so on. Not that I could see anything of it through the undergrowth and shrubbery from where I was sitting.

After having sat down and relaxed for about half an hour I pushed on towards the town.

ski lift mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hall
Yesterday I mentioned that we are in the middle of one of the most extensive skiing areas in Europe and so, as you might expect, there are gondolas, ski lifts and drags all over the place.

Here at the side of the river is the bottom station of one of the ski lifts – the Zugerbergbahn – that goes up to the top of the mountains to the north. Up there on top at an altitude of 2100 metres is the Balmalp Lech am Arlberg ski lodge. Tha represents a rise of over 600 metres from my current 1488 metres, according to my telephone.

And avid skier as I was in my younger days, I would have to say that it would have been quite exciting skiing back down from there again through all of those trees. It reminds me of Erma Brobeck who once famously said “I’ve no intention of participating in any sport that has ambulances waiting at the bottom of the hill”.

mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallThe next stage of my route was comparative easy because for about 5 minutes we actually had a path that was flat, level and comparatively smooth.

Over there ahead of us is presumably the car park for the chairlift and also for people going a-walking around in the vicinity too because it really is a nice area to be walking around.

In the background are some of the most splendid mountains that you have ever seen, still with a couple of vestiges of snow upon them. We actually drove past them, but on the other side on our way to Lech from Dornbirn on the Bregenzerwald Bundesstrasse Highway.

mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallThis is probably one of the finest glaciated valleys that I have ever seen.

You can usually tell a glaciated valley from a river valley because of its shape. A river valley is more likely to have a “V” shape whereas a glaciated valley is more likely to be a “U” shape. And this one speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

The ridge going across from left to right in the photo looks at fist glance as if it might be a moraine – a bank of gravel left behind by a glacier as it retreats. But it’s not possible to say without excavating it, and it looks a little too unnatural to me.

mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallFrom the bottom of the valley down by the river up to the village was a climb of about 30 metres, but it looked and felt like a darn sight more than that to me.

Halfway up the path I stopped to recapture my breath and had a look around. There’s a complex of about three or four guest houses on the edge of the village somewhere to the east and I imagine that those buildings over there must be it.

Behind them is the valley up which I walked, and the town of Lech is right down at the bottom somewhere near the left-hand edge of the photo where you can see that cleft between the mountains.

Filialkirche St. Sebastian church mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallEventually I arrived in the centre of the village, such as it is, and found myself standing in a little square outside the church.

The church is the Filialkirche St. Sebastian and it’s an impressive structure for such a small place. There’s quite a story behind it too, in that in the early 17th Century there was an outbreak of the plague here and someone made a vow in connection with the plague.

Unfortunately I’ve not discovered who it was, and what exactly was the nature of the vow, but one of the attributes of Saint Sebastian is that he’s the patron saint of protection from the plague, so I would imagine that it’s due to people praying to Saint Sebastian that if they survive this outbreak they would build a church in his honour in thanks for their safe deliverance – that kind of thing.

musicians upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallApart from the church, there’s little else here to talk about. A couple of hotels, such as this one and that’s your lot.

At least they had some entertainment for us this afternoon, and that’s always welcome. No alpine horns unfortunately, but we do have a guitar, a double bass and a kind of hurdy-gurdy. I was tempted to buy a coffee in order to stop and listen for half an hour, but then I saw the prices.

There isn’t really anything else to do around here, and I suppose that, being so isolated, they can hardly nip to the shops next door for a pint of milk if they run out.

zugertal panoramabus upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallOne thing that I was also going to add is that there isn’t really any passing trade, because this road is actually a dead end that comes to a stop in the depths of the mountains.

But just as I was about to say it, around the corner came a tourist bus full of passengers. There isn’t very much to see except the scenery. And I was reminded of Betty Marsden, the English comic actress who when asked what she thought about the Alps, replied “it was terrible. The mountains hid all of the view”.

And I was extremely interested to see that even though it’s advertising an Austrian service, the bus has German number plates.

mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallOne thing that did catch my eye while I was here was that track down there heading over the mountains to the south.

Had I been 20 years younger and in better health, because it’s much steeper than it looks in this photo, I’d have been tempted to have gone for a walk over there. There’s a waterfall, the Wasserfall Zug a kilometre or so up there, and then a long and difficult walk takes you to a lake, the Spuller See.

From there, you can turn right and head to the Bregenzerwald Bundesstrasse or else turn to the right and follow the valley of the Spreubach down to Dalaas in the Voralberg valley.

mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallHaving had a good look around, I retraced my steps back to the path that I climbed up to the village

So that was Zug then. I’m sure that I’d been here once with Nerina when we passed through in 1988 but I didn’t remember anything at all about it and nothing that I saw had rung a bell with me. It had that kind of effect on me.

But from here I was able to have a better look at that bank while I was up here, and that looks definitely man-made to me from here. There’s a road that runs across it so maybe that’s the reason for the bank. I imagine that it must be quite wet down there in the snow melt.

lake golf course mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallOn the way up here I missed this – I can’t have been looking down there in that direction.

This is some kind of leisure facility complete with its own lake, and it had me wondering if it might have been anything to do with the golf course across which I stumbled on the way up because despite seeing the holes, the greens and the golfers, I hadn’t seen a clubhouse.

But that’s something about which I can worry some other time. I’ve had a really good walk up here and now it’s time to go back downhill for a rest. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve been going downhill for years.

On the way back I simply retraced my steps for half of the way.

At that cabin where there was all of this new timber, the lumberjacks were busy cutting down another tree so I stood and waited, filming it on my camera. But just when they reached the crucial moment when I expected the tree to come crashing down, they knocked off for a cuppa and that was that.

For a while, I waited around but they didn’t come back so I wrote it off as a bad job and carried on towards home.

When I reached the bridge that we saw in an earlier photo there was another path going straight on down the southern side of the river and as there were a few people following that path, I followed them to see where I would end up.

river lech austria eric hallOver there is the River Lech down in the bottom of the valley.

After scrambling over a couple of stiles and squeezing my way through a couple of narrow gates, i have now found myself back in civilisation, as you can see. The road along which I walked out of Lech earlier today is just the other side of the river where that car is driving

On the left-hand edge of the photo is the little path down which I walked to reach the river so that I could follow the river up into the hills. There’s a little path down there by the waterside that is out of sight.

river lech austria eric hallHere’s a view looking further down into the town. Over there is the river with the waterfront houses and the road behind up which I walked on my way out

The path down which I had walked, called apparently, the Lechuferweg, has transformed itself into a very chic residential street called the Omesberg at the southern end of the town. This would seem to be the place to be around here, where you would live if you were ever to win the lottery.

But I wasn’t going to hang around and enjoy the view or lap up the atmosphere. I was ready for a good, hot mug of coffee and a little relax back at my digs after walking all of this way.

storm mountains upper vorarlberg lech zug austria eric hallAnd have you noticed how the sky has dramatically changed colour over the last few photos?

All the way down the path I was hotly pursued by a low cloud and thunderstorm. Not only the sky but the weather had changed while I was out, and changed quite quickly too. That was another reason to be back in my room as quickly as possible because that lot looks quite nasty..

I just about made it back to the hotel before the heavens opened and drenched the town in a storm of epic proportions. You can understand how come they have these severe flash floods around here with weather like this.

Back here, looking at the storm, I actually crashed out for a while, which was no surprise given the bad night that I had had and the fact that I’d walked almost 10kms today into the mountains and back in the lovely, fresh alpine air.

Tea was a tin of potatoes, a tin of mixed veg and a tin of lentils with some mustard sauce, and it was delicious.

An early night tonight because it’s my last night here. I’m pushing on tomorrow as I still have plenty of places to go and plenty of people to see. Unfortunately June is not available. Her husband is not too well and she’s afraid that any non-urgent meeting might expose him to risk – something that I quite understand.

But still, I’ll be sorry to leave. Lech is one of my most favourite places in Europe and I struck gold with this hotel – I really did. We’ll have tu see what the next 10 days or so will bring.

Thursday 25th June 2020 – I CAN’T SEE …

grinder for electric vegetables lidl granville manche normandy france eric hall… just what use this particular product would be to anyone.

believe me, I hunted high and low but I have yet to encounter a shop that sells electric vegetables. There certainly weren’t any in LIDL where I saw this appliance.

What I did see in LIDL though was someone pick up almost every melon in the shop (with his bare hands) and hold it close to his face to sniff it to see if it was ripe.

Note to self – don’t buy melons from LIDL. I really don’t see what is so hard to understand about behaviour in the middle of a pandemic.

Something else that I don’t understand is why I found it so hard to leave my bed this morning. Another day where I missed all three alarms and that is more depressing that anything to do with this pandemic, that’s for sure.

After the medication though, I had a listen to the dictaphone.

last night we were all on a yacht (I’m getting carried away with this idea, aren’t I?) and the question of some kind of news came up. We were talking about the weather, storms, all this kind of thing. At fist I couldn’t understand it but later I began to get to grips with the message and started to understand it. The project really wasn’t very bright. They asked me if I would go on the TV and speak to them, say something about it in Welsh but I declined the offer as I really didn’t know enough off the top of my head to be able to hold a conversation in it yet. The British all left and it just left this boat bobbing around and I was on my own for a while. Then more and more people started to come back and it wasn’t the same tranquil little scene that it should have been. I was annoyed about that as well.
And what that was all about I don’t have the faintest idea.
A little later on I was looking around at houses, in Sandbach, a house on the corner of that street that leads into Park Lane, an old terraced house. A friend of mine had been to see it so there was some thing about “this house is Private Property” and for any inspection please telephone “so and so” – Keep Out – all that kind of thing. It was from the Estate Agent who was showing me around. he told me about the house on the corner of Carter Street. I said “yes, a friend of mine had seen it”. he said “it’s good value isn’t it?” I said “it’s good value if you have the money to spend to do it up, I suppose”. He started to he a bit derogatory about my friend, saying “you could soon come up with the money if you wanted to”. I said “he hasn’t had his inheritance yet”. he replied “what kind of guy is it who sits around waiting for an inheritance? he should be out there making his own way”. I pointed out that he was making his own way if he was renting an apartment pro-tem and had his yacht, all this kind of thing. But this conversation just went on in a very deprecating tone towards this guy and I didn’t like that at all.

Later on I had a shower and a general clean-up. And a weigh-in too. And my weight is going back up – in fact i’m almost back up to my old target weight, having stayed below it for two weeks. I must do something about that.

marite normandy trader men with fishing net port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallLike go for a walk up the hill to LIDL in the early morning heat.

And here I am – right again. My assumptions from yesterday were correct. When i saw that lorry and the fork-lift truck preparing to unload it, I suspected that one of the Jersey freighters would be in port very shortly.

And here in the harbour this morning, having presumably crept in on the early morning tide, is Normandy Trader bringing in more stuff from the Channel islands and ready to take more stuff back

man in rigging marite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut something in that photo caught my eye so I went for a closer look.

And there up in the rigging of Marité there’s someone messing about with a mast. Had this been the UK then the Health and Safety inspectorate would have a field day with this.

And the guys with the fishing nets are still having an enormous amount of fun trying to untangle it over there. They still don’t seem to have sorted them selves out.

First stop was at the Railway Station. I’ve ordered and paid for my tickets but I need to collect them from the machine. I need to do that because there have been times when the machine has been out of order and the Booking Office doesn’t open until after the train has departed.

So if I can’t obtain the tickets from the machine then I am well and truly stuck.

Next stop was LIDL. I’ve mentioned some of the excitement there, but what was more exciting was that peaches are on special offer, and they had grapes in at a reasonable price.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m a big grape fan and I can demolish a kilo of grapes at one sitting with no problem at all.

fixing roof on building Rue de la Fontaine Bedeau granville manche normandy france eric hallThere’s plenty of home maintenance going on all over town right now.

But ehre’s some adventurous stuff that’s worthy of a photo. It looks as if the guttering or the fascia board has come adrift from the fron of that building in the Rue de la Fontaine Bedeau.

Seeing as it’s Thursday I went on to la Mie Caline for my dejeunette and a chat with the guys in there, and then headed off for home

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the way up the hill in the Rue des Juifs, something caught my eye.

We’ve had another change of occupant in the chantier navale today. Or maybe I should say “changes” because there are two extra fishing boats in there now that must have been lifted up this morning.

So it’s all go in there then.

By this time I was roasting so when I arrived home I made a smoothie. There was a peach left over from last week, quite ripe, so I put it with some soya milk and ice into the whizzer and whizzed it all round.

That was something that I called extremely tasty, although maybe an extra peach might have given it more flavour.

This afternoon I started on the final week of my music course and that is now finished despite several interruptions. In theory I should be able to play 32-bar sequences in 5 scales using 2-5-1 progressions to change scale but of course the practical application of this course left me behind a long time ago. I can’t play the piano to save my life.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOne of the interruptions was to go for my usual afternoon walk amongst the crowds in the glorious sunshine.

Strangely though, there was nothing whatever happening out at sea today, although there was plenty of activity in the chantier navale. We saw that there were four boats in there at lunchtime. This afternoon they seem to have multiplied.

There’s now five of them over there up on blocks for work to be carried out. This is really good news as far as I’m concerned. Nothing wrong with all of this activity at all.

men fishing in boat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallRound on this side of the headland there was some activity in the water.

We had a few men in a boat yet again all equipped with all kinds of tackle looking as if they meant to do some serious harm to the piscatorial population.

Whether or not they will do of course remains to be seen. I’ve yet to see any one of the huge number of rod-and-line fishermen actually pull anything out of the water. Not even an old boot.

26 aew aeroplane pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was out there admiring the fishermen I was interrupted yet again by some more air traffic.

A light aeroplane, presumably from the airfield at Donville-les-Bains overflew me. This time I managed to take a good photo of its registration – 26-AEW – but that tells me nothing because it’s not on the national database.

Apparently there’s some kind of local register for small light aircraft and the 26 in its number relates to the fact that it’s registered in Départemente 26, which is the Drôme, down in South-East France.

stenaca trawler port de granville france manche normandy france eric hallMy walk carried me on around the path where there’s a good view of the fish processing plant.

And it looks as if someone has forgotten their fishing boat. Stenaca is here tied up to the wharf at the plant but the tide has gone out around it and she’s now grounded out.

We’ll have to wait for the tide to come back in before she can sail off into the evening sunset. But while she’s there they could be giving her hull a really good scrub.

jcb digger place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallBack round in the Place d’Armes there’s more activity going on with the pipelaying in the Rue Lecarpentier.

We now have the digger here moving big slabs of rock into the back of the pick_up. I wonder if this means that the work is almost finished and they are now tidying up.

But anyway, I came on in to carry on with my music course. I wanted to finish it.

And I did too, although I could have finished it much earlier had we not had the other usual interruption of me crashing out on the chair for a while. It’s the kind of thing that is filling me full of dismay that I can’t keep going for a whole day.

In the time that was left before guitar practice I had another play around with the web pages that I have been editing. That’s a job that i’m looking forward to restarting tomorrow in earnest.

After the guitar it was teatime. I’d forgotten that I’d bought some endives at the weekend so I made myself some steamed veg with some of those frozen vegetable balls, all covered in a cheese sauce.

So filling was it that I didn’t have any pie for afters either.

My run this evening was much, much later than usual. And for a very good reason.

It had slowly begun to cloud over during the evening but round about 20:00 there was the most astonishing clap of thunder that blew the window right open, knocking the fan onto the floor.

That was followed by a torrential downpour of epic proportions with flashes of lightning and claps of thunder that I hadn’t heard for ages. No chance of my going out in any of that.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallBy about 21:30 the rain had stopped, the wind had died down and the ground was starting to dry out.

That was the signal for me to go out for my evening runs just in case the weather worsened again. And I’m glad that I did because I was treated to a really gorgeous sinking sun tonight

So anyway, off I shot and ran all the way up the hill and down to the clifftop past a rather sodden itinerant who still won’t seek shelter out of the rain.

normandy trader le loup baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were a few people there admiring the sunset but my attention was drawn elsewhere.

From behind me I’d heard the familiar thud if a couple of old diesels and sure enough, Normandy Trader was heading off out to sea past Le Loup – the light at the harbour entrance that marks the sunken rocks.

The way in which she was bathed in the late evening sun was so impressive and that was something that is always worth a photograph.

It surprised me that none of the others there were interested in it.

normandy trader baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallAs she sailed past me, I stood on the headland and watcher her go.

And then I set off for my run down to the viewpoint over the cliffs. apart from the fishing boats in the chantier navale, which hadn’t multiplied yet again during the late afternoon, there wasn’t an awful lot else going on.

having recovered my breath I walked over to the Boulevard Vaufleury and ran off all the way down to the bottom and then through the medieval town and back up to the viewpoint in the rue du Nord.

normandy trader ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallFor some reason or other, it was a much more difficult run that it has been of late, and i was glad when I reached the viewpoint.

My arrival coincided with that of Normandy Trader rounding the headland. She was well on her way out to sea now for an arrival in Jersey in the small hours.

The background of this image, a beautiful pale pinky orange colour and the Ile de Chausey fading away in the distance looked quite impressive too and I was getting all nostalgic about it yet again.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen I arrived, there was no-one down on the beach having a picnic, nor anyone perched on the rocky shelf either.

But during the course of the next fifteen minutes a couple of people ended up down there and the crowd slowly swelled are more and more people came down to watch the sunset.

By the time that I was ready to leave there was quite a crowd down there enjoying the view, and with every good reason too.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe rainstorm that we had had had left plenty of clouds hanging around in the sky and the sun was playing peek-a-boo with everyone here tonight.

The spectacle was pretty amazing so I stayed to watch it for about 15 minutes and then I came on home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I’m going to make a start on the current projects that have been in abeyance since I started my series of courses. The Welsh course still has three weeks to run but the others are all now finished.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallMind you, I have plenty of ideas of things that I need to do which i shall have to put in motion for when I’m free of all commitments, whenever that might be.

But that’s not for this evening. It’s already quite late and I’m going to have another bad day tomorrow if I don’t get a move on and go to bed soon.

So what I’ll do is to leave you with all of the photos from later this evening with Normandy Trader disappearing into the sunset while I go and catch up with my beauty sleep.

See you all tomorrow.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall
beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall
beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall
beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall
beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall

normandy trader beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel  granville manche normandy france eric hall
normandy trader beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall

normandy trader beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall
normandy trader beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall

Friday 12th June 2020 – BRAIN OF BRITAIN …

… strikes again!

Yes, guess who put a load of washing in the washing machine on Thursday morning before going to the shops – and then forgot all about it?

It’s out airing on the clothes airer right now, but when I go to the shops tomorrow I have a feeling that I shall have to buy some nice perfumed fabric conditioner or something similar and put them through again.

As for my part, much to my own (and everyone else’s) surprise I actually beat the third alarm call to my feet this morning. I was in the kitchen organising my medication when it went off.

Back here afterwards (still no breakfast!) to look at the dictaphone – and … phew!

Last night I put in an appearance in an office where I used to work and went into one of the rooms which was room D and it was absolutely heaving with people. I’d been for a while in another room and getting a few things organised in there watching a couple of videos that kind of thing but I didn’t really want anyone else to know what I was doing so I was hunched up in a corner where no-one could overlook me. In this room it was crowded with people, hundreds of them. There was one little girl about 5 or 6 and a pile of these white fish fillet squares that she had got down all over the floor. There were a couple of guys in charge and they didn’t seem to be paying the slightest bit of attention. Before i’d gone in there I’d had a look out of the window and I’d seen someone disappearing off in a car towing a trailer pulling a petrol pump so I wondered if that had been something that had come off the beach around the corner so I went there to find out. I was told “yes” but the person didn’t seem to want to elaborate on it.
Later on during the night something had happened about something or other in Aberystwyth. It meant that I had to go home and fetch something and come back again. I was in an old mark V Cortina so I put my foot down i Aberystwyth and drove all the way back to Crewe where I got what I wanted . The journey back should have taken me about 45 minutes (well, yes!) but by the time that I had everything ready it was now exactly 1 hour 05 after I had left so I was going to have to do something about catching up this time. So I put my foot down. I hadn’t gone more than a couple of hundred yards before I ran straight into one of these processions. Even though it was something like 01:00 – 01:30 in the morning there were all these processions like a Miners’ Parade or something. And of course as I set to move off a group of motorcycle policemen came round pushing their bikes following this parade. Of course I had no seat belt on and the car wasnt in any particularly good condition so the captain of the motorcyclists came over and asked me a couple of questions about the car. I’d only had it a couple of days so I couldn’t really answer him so he asked to see my documents. I gave him my driving licence which was stuck inside my purse and took ages to put out. he invited me to come in to his office. Of course I didn’t have time to do all of this but he interrogated me a bit and he got on his radio and radioed my licence number through. I asked “am I clear to go?”. he replied “you’re clear to go. Some guy said “that will be £50:00. I thought “£50:00? What the hell is this for?” He replied “it’s just for having your hair cut”. “But I don’t want my hair cut”. However a girl came round and threw a towel over my shoulders and sat me in the seat. I asked “what the hell is this all about?”. “It’s just something that he likes to do when he’s caught someone and letting them go. It’s a way of raesing funds”. I thought “yes, I bet it is”. And all the time I was supposed to be going to Aberystwyth. I was already running late, I had these things, these people would probably be long gone by the time that I get there and that will be a wasted journey. There I was being trapped in this seat having my hair cut for £50:00
When I went back to sleep I stepped right back into this dream where I’d been before and set off again. I was once more waylaid on the route but I don’t remember anything about it now. I do remember though thinking that this is absolutely ridiculous and I’m never going to get to Aberystwyth at this rate.

A little later still I was on my way to South Wales. I pulled in at Knutsford Services and there I had to hire a car for the weekend and get some food to eat on the journey, get some fuel and sort out some gearbox oil for my car. I’ve no idea why I wanted a hire car but I went into the office and started to make all of the arrangements. They said that they had a Crusader so I said that that was fine by me. They said “hang on, we’ll see what else we’ve got” but I said “no, a Crusader is fine”. They wandered away and I was talking about which guy it was who knew which car they were. They said “it’s the girl over there – the one who’s big enough to be a girl guide”. I thought “what the heck has this got to do with me renting a vehicle”. I thought that i’d better drive my vehicle somewhere, come back, pick up this hire car, go off and I have to be back before Monday. So I told them to make the booking until Monday. Then of course I could work out about what I needed and what I had to get.

After all of that, it was quite a surprise that I was out of bed so sprightly.

Today has been spent working on my music course. And by the time I reached the end of the afternoon I’d done a whole week’s work. And now I can play the blues on the piano in the Key of F, Fmin and F7 with the left hand playing 7/10ths and 7/13ths.

Or, at least, I could if I were any good at it. But you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

At lunch I had some more of my bread. And it’s still tasting quite good. This was, I reckon, something of a success although, as I have said … “on many occasions” – ed … there is still plenty of room for improvement.

What I might do, when I run out of cake, is to make a smaller loaf but crush some banana in it, or else add a pile of sultanas, and make a kind of snack bread. Apricots in it might be good too of course.

After lunch I took some time off work and made myself some orange and ginger cordial. The honey that I’m using isn’t very good though, but I’m hoping that soon I’ll be back in Belgium where I can find some more Manuka honey.

jersey english channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallIt had been pouring down for most of the morning but by the time that I went out for my afternoon walk, the rain had stopped.

There’s a strange kind of light when it’s just stopped raining in the summer. And with the air being cleaner these days, the views are generally better. Once more, Jersey is standing out really well and you can see the houses at St Helier.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall a few weeks ago I mentioned something about the lockdown helping to clean up the air.

joly france ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallThe ile de Chausey was standing out really well today too.

The houses over there were quite clear to see too, and we could even see Joly France setting out of the harbour there on its way back to Granville.

There’s no doubt whatsoever that I’ve never taken a photo as clear as this of the Ile de Chausey from the mainland. We could do with a few more days like this.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallThe photo that I took, I split it into two parts. The previous photo that you saw was the left-hand half, and this one is the right-hand half.

You can see the houses in the little village at the northern end of the island and if you look just to the left of them you might just be able to make out the church. It’s said that there’s a bit of a Liberator bomber in there – one that was shot down over the bay just after D-Day.

The building on the eminence in the middle, that’s the chateau I reckon, a converted fort that was at one time owned by the Renault family.


crowds lighthouse pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThe fine weather that we were having now that the rain had stopped had certainly brought out the crowds.

As you can see, the path around the cliff and up by the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall were heaving with people this afternoon all catching what sun here was.

The lighthouse is looking good today , and the four flags are still flying up by the war memorial – the British one hasn’t yet made good its bid for freedom

pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t just on the lawn by the lighthouse that there were the crowds either.

The steps down the path round the end were pretty busy, and there were people here down by the old watch cabin enjoying the view and the sunshine. And who can blame them?

You’ll notice that the cabin still has its roof and it’s pretty watertight. It’s just one of half a dozen places where our itinerant could seek shelter from the rain if he so chooses.

speedboat baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallSo despite the crowds, I headed off on my walk down the other side of the headland.

Nothing much going on down there this afternoon – still the same three boats in the chantier navale and nothing else of interest. But there was this speedboat roaring past with le feux dans ses fesses – a fire up his … errr … posterior – as they say around here.

It’s quite stimulating being out on the sea at that kind of speed, but it’s not so good for the wildlife and the Noise Abatement Society would have something to say about it too.

heavy equipùent being unloaded rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last few weeks we’ve been seeing all kinds of heavy plant parked up at the side of the Rue du Port.

Today there are a couple more things that have arrived. In fact the lorry that dropped them off is just pulling away as you can see. We seem to have acquired a kind of cherry picker and a fork lift elevator.

But I’ve no idea what they are doing with them. We see all kinds of weird things arriving or parked up there and after a day or so they just disappear.

traffic lights place du parvis notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallYesterday we saw the installation of a set of traffic lights to control the traffic in the old town while the roadworks are taking place.

It was my intention to go round to see where the other end was, and sure enough, it’s here at the edge of the Place du Parvis Notre Dame – not where I was thinking it would be at all.

So traffic at this end of the rue Notre Dame can come out of here the wrong way dow the one-way system and the lights are there to stop any unfortunate encounter.

les ilots cafe restaurant hotel rue st jean granville manche normandy france eric hallIn for a penny, in for a pound. I decided that I would go off and see how the roadworks were doing.

But down the rue St Jean I saw something that I hadn’t noticed before. In the good old days, it was the fashion in France to have huge advertising notices painted on the side of the buildings and it’s always been my regret that the practice has ceased. Here’s an old one advertising “Les Ilots” – café restaurant, with furnished rooms.

That’s going back a few years, isn’t it? Another lifetime ago, I reckon.

cobbles rue notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallBut at least there’s some good news at the roadworks.

Everything seems to be done and dusted now and the cobbles have been recemented into position. It looks now as if they are just waiting for the cement to dry and the road will probably be open tomorrow or Monday.

So in that case I’m glad that I came and photographed it today.

Back here I carried on with my coursework and by about 17:15 I was finished. I even managed to find the time to do a few photos from July 2019

Only a few though. Most of the time was spent hunting down the name of a church that I had photographed from The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour. And it took some doing too.

Nothing is straightforward with me, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

My half an hour on the bass was spent playing along to Arthur King’s “Born Under A Bad Sign” – which is how it feels sometimes. And the half-hour on the six-string was spent playing along to Springsteens “No Surrender” and also Bob Dylan’s “Times They Are A’Changin'”

A couple of lines of the lyrics leapt out at me from the latter.
“Come writers and critics”
“Who prophesize with your pen”
“And keep your eyes wide”
“The chance won’t come again”

Yes – “the chance won’t come again”. I’m back on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour again aren’t I – one night at the beginning of September in the North-West Passage of Canada. All I need now is Kris Kristofferson and “I’ll give all my tomorrows for a single yesterday”

And do you know what? I would as well!

For a change, I had tea tonight. The last aubergine and kidney bean whatsit from April. I’ll have to buy another one and make some more. But I have peppers and potatoes that need using up so it looks like a pepper, potato and spinach curry is on the menu next week.

no parking place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallWe’d had a tremendous thunderstorm earlier on in the afternoon, followed by a really heavy rainfall. But when I went out for my evening walk, it had stopped and the weather was reasonably bright.

But my eye had been caught by a few notices like that dotted around outside. It looks as if something exciting is going to be happening here on 15th June – maybe roadworks or something.

Anyway, anyone who has a car parked there has been instructed to move it and no-one else can leave their vehicles there.

“That’s something to look forward too” I mused as I ran off up the road.

storm at sea english channel brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallThings were a little (just a little) easier tonight as I made it up to the top of the hill, I felt that I had a little left to spare in the tank.

But I recovered my breath and ran on down past the itinerant to the clifftop. The storm that had battered us earlier is still there – just out to see and round by Bréhal-Plage and Montmartin sur Mer.

It looks as if it’s having a right old hammering over there and I’m glad that I wasn’t out there earlier in that. And it beats me why the itinerant is sticking it out.

yacht baie de mont st michel pointe de carolles granville manche normandy france eric hallhaing recovered my breath again I walked on around the corner.

Where we saw the speedboat earlier, we now have a yacht strutting his stuff just offshore. But apart from the boat itself, I was intrigued by the colours now that the rain has washed out the sky.

The whole coast round from Kairon-Plage through Jullouville round to the Pointe de Carolles is really brightly lit this evening. And the white hotel buildings down by Mont St Michel are really clear too.

It really was nice.

chausiais victor hugo port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe next couple of legs of my run took me all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury and round the corner – and once more I overran my mark by a good 20 metres. And I could have done more too I reckon.

But I walked back to have a look down at the harbour and see what was happening. And once more, nothing much. Chausiais is there moored up against the harbour wall so she won’t be going very far very soon.

And Granville and Victor Hugo, the two Channel Island ferries, they are still there too. I’ve not had a latest update as to when the service will start again, but I’m going to try to hitch a lift on Thora or Normandy Trader one of these days.

beach bolwing plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom here I ran on all the way round to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord.

There didn’t seem to be the crowds of picnickers down there tonight – I did look – but instead we have a young couple who are playing beach bowls down there. You can see the guy tossing the “ball” at the pins.

It looks as if they have been having a party too. I can see a bottle of wine down there and with no cork in it, I’ll fathom a guess that it’s empty.

ile de chausey sunset english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere wasn’t a decent sunset tonight – not even an impressive cloud formation.

But that’s no surprise either. Not with the weather that we’ve just had. And as I said yesterday … “and on many other occasions too” – ed … we’ve had some beautiful ones recently, and we can’t win a coconut every time.

Back to the apartment I ran but seeing that I was up to 90% on the day’s activity, I went for an extended walk to clock up the 100%

Hence the reason that I’m rather late tonight.

But I had an interuption this evening. Someone from the radio contacted me – someone not actually in my list of top 10 contacts. Would I like to go for a drink with him before our big meeting on Thursday night?

So what’s that all about, I wonder. Why would he want to see me before the meeting? I smell a rat, and I’m not talking about the contents of baldrick’s apple crumble.

Tomorrow it’s shopping. And I don’t need that much stuff either. A good start, I hope, and then a relax as we have football on the internet tomorrow afternoon.

High time we had some live football too. I’m missing my football fix.

Friday 17th April 2020 – WE DIDN’T HAVE …

storm english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall… a beautiful sunset tonight.

Instead, we had the distant, ominous rumblings of a major thunderstorm of the type that we are most used to having on a hot summer evening, but some really intense, heavy grey clouds.

It was impossible to even see the Ile de Chausey this evening beacuse of the rainstorm that, judging by the direction of the wind, was heading my way. And so i didn’t hang about too long tonight just in case I got the lot of it.

Mind you, I did hang about rather longer than I intended this morning. I heard all of the alarms go off but instead I told myself that I deserved an extra half-hour in bed. I’m not sure why, but anyway, I did.

The dictaphone was interesting this morning. I’d had an attack of conscience and released 11 hostages that were being held prisoner. There was one in particular who caused me a great amount of grief and when it was filmed they said that they would continue with the story of this particular relief next week. Bit it was all something like a Hobbitesque-Lord Of The Rings-type of situation with mysterious people in it and I know that this one – a lot had gone on prior to this and this guy was something of a late entrant into this scenario.

And if you can make any sense out of that, you’re perfectly welcome to it.

After breakfast I had a go at some more digital file-hunting. And I’m really getting down to the dregs now because I’m right in the middle of more obscure stuff which I can’t find anywhere at all.

There’s so much that I’m going to have to digitalise myself, and the music industry will owe be a big favour when I’m finished because I’ll upload them onto the databases. All kinds of obscure stuff.

And it took an age too. Hunting stuff down, trying to make it load up (which wasn’t easy), waiting ages for some really painful uploads. In the end it took me up to lunchtime to do it all.

And the sad part about it all was that there were only two or three tracks out of all of this that are suitable for playing on the radio.

But at least I managed to deal with a pile of photos from July 2019 in Iceland. I’m now back on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour heading out of Akureyri on our way to our next stop.

After lunch I unpacked the hard drive that had come in the post the other day. I’ve now uploaded all of the files from the laptop that I use as a DVD player in the dining room and I’m currently uploading the files from the laptop with the broken screen.

While all of this has been going on, I’ve tidied up all of the post that hasn’t been filed away for a while and, having stumbled across a power block and extension cord that I’d forgotten, I changed things around in the apartment so that all of the amps and guitars are now in the bedroom. That means that I can play properly and hear myself properly while I have stuff going on on the computer.

This actually meant SHOCK! HORROR! I had the vacuum cleaner out on the bedroom. And it needed it too.

After the hour on the guitars, working out a couple of Lindisfarne numbers, I went for tea.

It was another Anything Curry seeing as there were some mushrooms left over that I had forgotten to use yesterday. A potato and a pile of spinach with all of that, and some rice and veg and there we go.

Apple pie and banana sorbet for pudding. Delicious.

storm english channel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd then off for my evening’s exercise.

A rather dramatic run up the hill as I struggled for most of the way. but it was worth it because the storm was raging away in the distance. The Brittany coast round by St Malo was taking a real bashing and you won’t see very many storms like this in this part of the world.

And I saw just four other people this evening, with just one guy admiring the storm in the distance with his field glasses. So we exchanged pleasantries for a minute or so – at an appropriate social distance of course.

support pillar for floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving recovered my breath, I ran on back home again.

When I stopped for breath halfway along, I went to look to see what, if anything, had been going on down at the harbour with the new supports for the pontoon.

although it was lighter this evening, I couldn’t really tell if there had been any change in the work. I hadn’t heard any suspicious noise today.

And so I have it up as a bad job and ran on home

Having had a good run tonight, I was glad that I was back early because there was football on the internet.

Yes, someone had found a video of the final match at farrar Road on 27 December 2011 before Bangor City moved to their new stadium and so we had a watch party to see them beat Prestatyn Town.

But I don’t think that anyone realised the vast improvement in standards of play, of pitches, of grounds and of facilities until you watch a match like this. It really was antediluvian.

So an early-ish night tonight, sort-of. Shopping tomorrow, fighting my way through the queues of course and then a relaxing weekend. There’s nothing on the agenda so i’m hoping for a decent weekend for once.

We shall see.

Monday 9th December 2019 – I HAVE NEVER EVER MET …

… so many people so gifted with the art of expanding so little thought into so many words.

It’s true that I have said this before, but here I am saying it again under different circumstances. Like at another one of these volunteer meeting things.

Following my exploits at that meeting with the kids from Greenland the other day, I was invited to take part in this twinning committee because “my mother tongue is English and I speak French pretty well”

And so there in the upstairs room in the Grand Café they were going on about “we could do … (X, Y and Z) … but the stuff is in English so if only we had someone to translate it into French” – and there I was sitting right next to and right opposite the two people having this discussion who both had totally forgotten that I had translated from the English to the French at that meeting the other week. “There’s someone here who could translate it for us” said another person, and pointed to … another (French) woman sitting at the corner of the table.

And in order to introduce myself to the others, I had to make a little speech of introduction to the rest of the gathering, so I began with “there are six people in Greenland who I know really well …” and named them. And a few minutes later someone said to me “surely you know … (Mr X) and (Mrs Y) and (Master Z) and (his pet gibbon)” who were not among the people whose names I had mentioned.

Obviously, people not taking the slightest bit of interest or notice of what I have been doing or saying.

The conversation carried on about not very much for two hours, except for who could speak the longest and say the least. I was effectively shunted off into obscurity, musing to myself that these are the kind of meetings that should be held standing up, outside, in the pouring rain. And then all of the work would be accomplished in probably a tenth of the time, and much more effectively too.

But it’s my own fault. I paid the €15:00 membership fee as soon as I arrived. Had I held out until the end before waving the folding stuff about, I imagine that they might have made more of an effort to engage with me until they had managed to chisel the cabbage out of my sweaty little mitt.

This morning though was just as bad. Apparently I had to go with someone to interview someone in English. I thought that we were doing that a couple of weeks ago but it was merely a telephone call. Today it looked like the real thing but when we arrived, it was simply a case of going for a meal with this British guy with the purpose of arranging a date for the interview.

It’s all complete, total and utter chaos and what made it worse was that when we were outside this restaurant the British guy and I were having a chat and the French guy who was trying to set up this interview said afterwards to me “if only we had the gear hear to record that. It was exactly what I wanted!”

Had I not needed him to drive me home from Avranches, I would have beaten him to death on the spot.

That’s not the worst of it either. The way to do this interview is to prepare a list of questions. I ask them of this English guy and we record the answers. We then superimpose a French person asking the questions into the recording and then I do a translation into French with a nice British accent and it’s overdubbed so you can hear the British guy talking in the background but hear the French (with accent) over the top.

It’s such a simple thing to do and I can do it all in half an hour here at my desk but the guy who thinks that he’s running the show (as distinct from the guy who is supposed to be running it) feels that he needs to be there and to do it in a way that is about 10 times more complicated and gives nothing like the same effect.

As I’ve said before … “and you’ll inevitably say again!” – ed … the lack of professionalism is really annoying me. And these are hours of my life that I won’t ever get back and I don’t have all that many to spare.

The proof of all of this was that I was up until quite late last night working, trying to catch up with the arrears of work (some hope).

And just as I was about to go to bed the gale got up, we were hit by a tempest and as I opened the bedroom door there was an enormous flash of lightning – just by way of a spontaneous greeting to me.

Despite the late night I was off on my travels last night, with Batty Bat (and it’s been YEARS since she’s accompanied me on a nocturnal voyage) and TOTGA. I’ll spare you all of the gory details because you’re probably eating a meal right now and I don’t want to turn your stomachs. But what was surprising about this particular journey is that encompassed several events that have or had a parallel with events that have or had taken place in real life and one event in particular that has been going through my conscious mind for the last week or so. It was quite surprising when I heard it on the dictaphone.

With a Herculean effort I was out of bed before the third alarm and after breakfast I attacked the outstanding project that needed to be done by today.

And ohh me miseram“well, puer amat mensam!” – ed … I miscalculated the timing and ran 5 minutes short of my hour. A frantic search found a piece of music exactly the correct length, and then I needed a vocal explanation to go with it. Which I recorded incorrectly.

strange sunlight effects baie de mont st michel st pair sur mer granville manche normandy franceToo late now for my shower, I shot off for my meeting at the Centre Agora.

One thing about being late for my meeting is that had I been on time five minutes earlier I would have missed this glorious light. I’ve spoken … “at great lengths” – ed … on several previous occasions, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, about the peculiar lighting effects that we can sometimes have around here and we’ve seen a few examples, but there has been nothing quite like this one.

This is one of the best that I have ever seen.

At the Centre Agora I made another suggestion but this one suffered the same fate as the other suggestions that I have made – viz kicked into the long grass. And then this abortive drive to Avranches with people who have nothing better to do with their lives.

Back here again I cracked on and finished the project that needed finishing and then I attacked the following one that I had already prepared. The music was ready and just needed the sound so I dictated that and began to edit it when i discovered that I had forgotten a track.

Down into town for this other meeting and on the way back I had a text message – “your train on Thursday is cancelled due to a strike”. So much for that!

aztec lady omerta spirit of conrad chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOn the way back home after the meeting I went the long way round in order to clock up the kilometres and also to see what was going on in the Chantier Navale.

We stall have our three boats in there – Spirit of Conrad, Omerta and Aztec Lady but never mind them for a moment. Just admire the photograph.

It’s quite true that I’ve taken many photos that have come out far better than this one, but the fact is that this one was taken with the little Nikon 1 and if it could take photos like this all the time I wouldn’t be so reluctant to rely on it.

Whenever I go out on foot for any distance I take that one with me because it fits nicely in the pocket, but its night-time photos have usually been something of a disappointment.

With my train being cancelled, the first task when I reached home was to see what Flixbus had to offer me.

Nothing at all from Avranches, but there is a bus going from Caen at … errr … 08:00 that morning. So it looks as if Caliburn and I will be having an early start. The station car park at Caen is quite expensive but I’ll be badgered if I’m going to leave him in the street for four days.

But something happened to me today. Walking up the hill towards my meeting at the Centre Agora this morning, I suddenly came over all queer. And then tonight, I had another fall. Luckily onto a raised grass surface so I did myself no damage. But what’s happening here?

Tea was the rest of the leftover curry with rice and veg followed by the last of the pineapple with sorbet. Now I’m carrying on working as I listen to a “Traffic Live” concert. A brilliant band, Traffic, especially live.

Tomorrow I have a couple of things to do in town as well as cashing in my rail tickets, but I want to finish this project on which I’m working as well as doing another one at least before I go.

There’s tidying up to do too, so I’m hoping to be on form. But I doubt if I’ll have an early night. Far too much to do!

Saturday 10th August 2019 – I WAS RIGHT …

… about the latitude and longitude co-ordinates! And, much to my surprise, so was the American Geographic Survey of (1869?). We both came up with the correct answer TO THE FOOT and that was impressive.

Another mystery that I solved this morning too is why there’s a difference of several dozen feet in the altitude for South Pass commonly cited by those who have access to the trail documents and the US Government Survey and those who rely on modern measuring techniques.

And that is that they are measuring the altitude of the Pass at different places. Where the modern highway crosses South Pass (and where the modern figure is given) is about 2 miles away from where the emigrants crossed over the Pass.

Bryant noted “The ascent to the Pass is so gradual that … we should not have been conscious that we had ascended to and were standing upon the summit of the Rocky Mountains” and he was right too, because I walked over the crest (such as it is) without noticing it at first.

So in my expensive Palace last night I had a reasonable night’s sleep with a couple of interruptions, including an attack of cramp in the left calf this time.

Breakfast was provided so I stuffed myself with free food and then collected my frozen water bottles and packed everything away.

Much to my own surprise more than anyone else’s I was on the road by 08:30 and that’s not something that happens every day.

The Lady Who Lives In the Satnav directed me to almost where I had ended up yesterday but about 200 or so metres from the modern summit she directed me off down a track to the left.

After about 2 miles down this track she announced “make your way 300 metres to your right” but I couldn’t see anything at all that would give me a clue so I drove on to a fence about 300 metres further on where I parked.

I walked back to where she had indicated, but couldn’t see anything at first. But closer inspection revealed that the sides of the track had been grubbed out and drainage ditches dug.

And so I crossed the ditches and there we were. Unmistakable signs of wagon tracks in each direction. Right by where I had expected them to be.

I walked several hundred yards along the tracks in each direction and they were certainly heading to and from where they were supposed to be, in the footsteps of emigrants from 170 years ago.

And the provenance of these tracks can be authenticated to a certain degree by the fact that they continue in a straightish line right across where the road and the drainage ditches are, broken only by these more modern constructions.

I was tempted to walk on to Pacific Springs, just a couple of miles further on. Its waters are known to be cool and invigorating, and I could have done with some of that, but I’m not as young as I used to be and I didn’t have much time.

Back on the road and back to Lander where I fuelled up the Kia and bought myself one of those ice-slush drinks. The day wasn’t hot as yet but I had a feeling that it might be.

The road north from Lander has its moments. Some of it is quite sterile but other parts are magnificent and I don’t have the words to describe the Wind River Pass. It’s one of the most phenomenal places that I have ever visited.

This afternoon we had a tremendous thunderstorm – just like the arrival of the Demon King – and it accompanied me for miles well beyond Billings. But round about 40 miles north I started to flag and a motel loomed up in the little town of Roundup.

Much more like my kind of motel this. Old, tired and cheap. But then again so am I. As for “value for money” which is always the most important consideration for me, it’s spot-on and just what I wanted.

The air conditioner blows right past the clothes rail so I had a shower and washed my clothes. They’ll dry pretty quickly now.

Lentil soup with pasta for tea and now I’m off to bed. It’s been a long tiring day and I’ve done 600 kms, all but about 20 of those being done on normal roads.

Tomorrow should see me back in Canada but I still have a long way to go.

Wednesday 19th June 2019 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what happened today.

It was rather a disappointment because I had another early start. And that was despite not being in bed until after 01:00 – not being tired despite having had a long day yesterday.

What probably caused me to wake up was the most impressive thunderstorm and torrential rain that was going on outside. I haven’t seen or heard anything like it for quite a while.

But it didn’t last long.

Despite it being a short night, there was plenty of time to go off on a travel. Last night I was reliving the plot of an old “Saint” television programme during the night where I had met this girl. But people considered her to be beneath me. But I didn’t care – I decided to take her anyway but no-one could understand this, no-one knows why I have done this. They all think that it’s wrong and they are all trying to persuade me otherwise. I’m in hospital and she brings me some fruit but a lot of it is wrotten and I have to throw the rotten fruit away and simply keep the good stuff. But after she’s been and gone the others look through the bin and say things like “this is the same kind of fruit that your girlfriend has thrown away in the bin and what’s happening? Why is this the case? Of course they already know what’s happening and why it is the case – she doesn’t know what fruit is rotten and what fruit isn’t. It goes on all like this, having these shortfalls because she doesn’t know any better, with people immediately pouncing on them and exposing her to ridicule and stuff like that.

I had to loiter around for a while until the nurse came for my blood test. That gave me an opportunity to do some tidying up in the living room and make the place look quite presentable. Having these visitors coming round is a good thing.

Once she’s gone off with my sample I sat down to start work. But someone with whom I was hoping to chat came on line and that led to an interruption in my workflow.

An interruption that for some reason that I have yet to understand, the interruption seemed to last for much longer that I was expecting and much longer than I thought that it did, for after I’d been back working for a short while, I glanced at the time and it was 12:40.

Where on earth did the time go to?

Liz came on line too and we had a little chat, and then I went off for lunch. Taken once more indoors because it was cold and foggy outside.

After lunch I cracked on with the dictaphone notes. I had a good go at that and I’m now down to 47 entries. I doubt however if I will have enough time to finish that before I leave next Thursday morning.

Once I’d done that, I headed down into town. I needed some more rolls of sticking plaster because I didn’t buy enough on Monday. And I wanted some potatoes too because those that I bought last week have gone off already.

The potatoes were a shocking price in Carrefour so I ended up with a bag of oven chips. For 600 grammes, I pad €0:90 whereas a kilo of potatoes would have set me back €1:99.

Back here I wanted to carry on with the photos from Monday but I didn’t last long. By about 17:00 I was in bed and there I stayed until about 19:00. Totally out of it.

And that’s a big disappointment because for the last few days I’ve been doing so well in fighting off the fatigue.

Tea was oven chips with beans and a vegan burger in a bap, followed by one of those coconut desserts that I made the other day.

It was a nice walk around the headland this evening and I took a few photos. When I’m up-to-date with this and that, I’ll post them on here.

But it’s rather worrying as far as I’m concerned because I don’t seem to be able to catch up with the stuff in the immediate past, never mind what is outstanding going back more than 10 years.

I’m reminded of the last words of Draza Mihalovic, a Yugoslav freedom fighter who was killed in 1946, and which I consider to be so appropriate –
“I wanted much – I began much, but the whirlwind, the whirlwind carried me and my work away.”

I hope that that isn’t going to be my epitaph.

Sunday 3rd June 2018 – PART THREE …

stade croissant as st pairaise ET S Du Terregate Et Du Beuvron football manche normandy france… of this week’s footfest saw me head out to St Pair sur Mer.

There were two matches there this afternoon – the 3rd XI playing ES Trelly QC and the 2nd XI playing ET S Du Terregate Et Du Beuvron. But the matches were being played simultaneously which is a shame and seeing that the 2nd XI were playing in the Stade d’Honneur where there is a grandstand in which we can sit, I chose to sit down and eat my butties in comfort.

The final score was 2-2, which was a very fair reflection of the play. But three of the goals were scored due to mistakes by the defenders and the fourth was another one of these disputed penalties (and I was too far away to be able to give my opinion).

In fact the 1st half was quite error-strewn and I wondered where it was going to end. 2-1 wasn’t the half-time score that I was expecting.

St Pair equalised in the second half, which was a much better half than the first one, that’s for sure. The teams seemed to be concentrating more.

But we had another little … errr … dust-up between a couple of players late in the game. And the St Pair bench rounded on the ET S Du Terregate Et Du Beuvron trainer to express their opinion of his players. “Did I say any different?” was his measured reply. And that took the wind out of their sails.

So we left them examining the woodwork of the goalposts at the southern end of the ground, which had been clouted more times than enough by a few of the more-powerful shots of the attacking teams.

And I told you wrong about last weekend. It wasn’t the final weekend of US Granville’s 2nd XI. It was their final home match. They were away at Caen this afternoon and had I known last night, I would have stayed over somewhere for a weekend out.

So they still had to do better than FC St Lo Manche this afternoon, and the impressive 4-0 victory that they recorded gave everyone bags of home.

And then the news filtered through – FC St Lo Manche 1 – AS Tourlaville 1. A draw. And US Granville win the championship by two points and are promoted to Regional 1. Well done them!

So exciting days out next season to places that I don’t have a clue where they are.

I didn’t have a clue where I was this morning either. But at least it was 09:20 which is a very reasonable and respectable time to be waking up on a Sunday morning.

And with it being a Sunday I took it easy too and didn’t have breakfast until late. Later than intended too for I had run out of muesli and had to make some more. There was just enough stuff too, but I’ll have to add some more stuff to the shopping list for next time.

After breakfast I actually SHOCK! HORROR! did some tidying up. Clean clothes all over the place and the stuff from Thursday on the clothes airer was dry. So all of that went away. And that led to a rearrangement of the wardrobe.

Not only that, I uncovered my missing external hard drive – the one for which I have been searching for about a year with all of the missing images on it and which has been a regualr subject of discussion on here, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

But I was mistaken here too. It wasn’t an external drive at all. It was an old internal drive off an old desktop model that I had stuck in a caddy which I thought was empty. And that’s why I couldn’t find it.

And another external drive – the one with all of the old photos from 20 years or so ago that I couldn’t get to work – I had a play with that and got that to work too, so before I went out I set it up to copy everything over to the hard drive wih the more modern stuff.

Making a butty or two and an icy flask, I went off to the football and nearly squidged several pairs of grockles who just aimlessly amble into the middle of the street without looking and then stop to admire the seagulls. I hate grockles absolutely.

Back here later, I made another pizza. And this one was cooked perfectly. How I managed that was that I had taken a handful of frozen mushrooms out of the freezer before I went otu, to leave them to defrost. When it was time to make the pizza they had defrosted perfectly, and you have no idea the amount of water that came out. That’s where all the heat of the oven has been going – evaporating all of this water.

passenger ferry ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceAfter tea I went for my usual evening walk – around the headland tonight. Just in time to see the last passenger boat come back from the Ile de Chausey with some more unwelcome tourists.

Over Jersey, which was clearly visible – the best that I have ever seen it – it was clear. But more and more cloudy the further south you went Round over Mont St Michel it was stormy with lightning and rainstorms everywhere.

I didn’t hang around outside then. I wasn’t going to get caught in that.

There was srill some cold drink left in the flask so when I returned I went to drink it. And to my surprise, the ice cubes hadn’t completely melted. That’s about 8 hours and it was still freezing cold in there. A good move that – getting it to do cold drinks as well as hot ones.

So bedtime now. I have to go and pick up my kitchen estimates tomorrow afternoon . Tomorrow morning then I might just make a start on tidying Caliburn. We shall see.

Saturday 26th May 2018 – I HAVE JUST SEEN …

… something that I have never ever seen before.

One of US Granville’s attacker bursts into the EC Tessy Moyon Sports box, and goes down under a challenge from a defender. The referee blows hiw whistle and points to the penalty spot.

The match is being played at the Stade Louis Dior despite it being the 3rd XI. I’m in the grandstand, absolutely level with the incident and quite high up, so I have a perfect view. And in mt opinion that was one of the best challenges that I have seen at this level of football.

The Tessy Moyon players are furious, their coach is livid, The US Granville player comes to the touchline and shouts something to his captain. The captain takes the kick – and kicks it to the corner flag.

Apparently the referee was the only person in the whole stadium who thought that that was a penalty. But I’ve never seen a team kick away a penalty before. The Age of Chivalry isn’t dead after all.

It was another struggle to leave the stinking pit this morning, We Went through the usual morning procedure followed by a shower, and then Caliburn and I hit the streets

We went the long way out to the garage, out to near Bréhal and down the by-pass. The idea is to get the engine stinking hot so that it burns more efficiently and shows a better reading on the air meter. The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley, as Robert Burns would have us believe. I ended up being stuck behind a load of grockles crawling along the road.

However, none of this caused a problem and at the Controle Technique, not only were we early but we were in and out and finished even before the time of the appointment. Caliburn passed with no problems and there is nothing to worry about as far as his bodywork goes. He’ll be 11 on Tuesday by the way

Sopping today was just Noz and LeClerc. I didn’t feel like going all the way round to LIDL. And it didn’t take me long to buy what I needed (and to buy nothing else) and I was home by 11:30. Maybe I ought to go out this early again.

Having put everything away and having had a coffee, it was lunchtime. Beautiful weather for it too, sitting on the wall watching the shipping, eating my butties, reading my book and chatting to the lizard. He was enjoying the weather too.

Back here, shame as it is to admit it, I crashed out yet again for a good hour too. Perhaps this early start wasn’t such a good idea after all. But I was up and about and ready for my trek up town.

Some of the trek involved following a couple of beautiful young maidens. They stopped somewhere along the route and gave a kiss to some boy who was clearly a friend.
“Could I have a kiss too?” I enquired. But the trouble today is that no-one has a sense of humour.

stade louis dior us granville ec tessy moyon sports manche normandy franceIt was a beautiful evening for football and we were lucky enough to be at the Stade Louis Dior for this. It’s not very often that the 3rd XI get to play here.

No-one on the gate at all of course so we could just walk in and go anywhere, so I blagged a seat in the stands where the view is quite good.

US Granville were 8th going into the match and EC Tessy Moyon Sports were 7th, and eo we expected a hard-fought tight match and that’s exactly what we got.

stade louis dior us granville ec tessy moyon sports manche normandy franceGranville had most of the play but couldn’t convert the chances that they were making. And it seemed that fortune might have been on their side when Tessy Mosson were obliged to replace their goalkeeper with an outfield player after a collision.

But the new keeper was actually quite good – he’d clearly played in goal before and at a reasonable standard too. He was coming out for crosses – and catching them too – and his handling and distribution was quite good too.

But he was eventually beaten by a ball over the top and a Granville player running on for a one-on-one. No-one could complain about the keeper there.

thunder rainstorm stade louis dior us granville ec tessy moyon sports manche normandy franceBut the real highlight of the evening was the weather.

There had been some rumbling and grumbling in the distance, and then a huge dark cloud started to blow over the ground.

And you can see, if you look closely, the torrential rain that is falling, away over there in the distance. We were going to be in for it.

The rain waited until we were leaving the stadium before it let go. And then we got the lot.

Luckily there was a strong wind blowing so I kept in the lee of the buildings at the side of the road. Had I been in the open, I would have been a drowned rat before I’d gone 50 yards.

But it was quickly over. And we had one of those unusual phenomena of a sharp weather front, where you could see the end of the rainstorm like a curtain as it drew away from me up the street. It’s been a while since I’ve seen something like that.

sunset granville manche normandy franceBack here, I hadn’t completed my 100% daily activity which is a surprise. There’s definitely something wrong with the fitbit.

And so I went for a lap around the block until the 100% came up, and this enabled me to watch the sun sink slowly into the sea, surrounded by flashes of lightning and rolls of thunder something like The Return Of The Demon King.

But I was too tired to do much back here. I even fell asleep talking to someone on the laptop. So in the end I went to bed.

Sunday tomorrow. A day of rest. And I need it too.

Wednesday 23rd August 2017 – ANOTHER EARLY NIGHT …

… is called for tonight.

I’ve had a hectic day.

It all went wrong at about 04:00 when we had the most tremendous thunderstorm. That, I reckon must have awoken almost everyone in the neighbourhood. And the torrential rainstorm made it almost impossible for everyone to go back to sleep.

I was still awake when the alarms went off and at 07:00 I was up and about, breakfasting and making my butties.

We had a rush to get into work this morning but eventually everyone arrived there and for the first time for quite a while we had a full house (excepting Ellen of course).

And so I was something rather supernumerary so I carried on with a little project that I had started yesterday on the laptop as well as chatting to one or two customers who were waiting.

Apparently there’s a family of ospreys who have made a nest in the pipework of the cornmill and we were admiring their handiwork.

Later on this afternoon Rachel ran me down to Fredericton to pick up Strider where he was having some work done.

And that wasn’t as straightforward as it might seem. There were piles of queues on the roads, roadworks, a police stake-out, and eventually the road that we needed was blocked off by road works so we had to back up and go the long way around.

And all the time we were dealing with telephone calls from the office about accounts enquiries. No wonder we were all so stressed out when we arrived.

I went to the Atlantic Superstore for some groceries and then picked up some fuel at Keswick before coming back.

And my odyssey isn’t over because there seems to a be a shock absorber that has burst judging by the bizarre handling from the nearside rear that had me all across the road on a couple of occasions.

So now; totally exhausted, I’m off to bed. I”ll need my strength to sort out this rear end tomorrow.

Tuesday 18th July 2017 – CRASH! BANG!

No, I’m not doing the washing-up.

There I was at lunchtime sitting on my wall at lunchtime eating my butties and admiring the view (and watching the Grima depart for Jersey with a full load of stuff on board) and thinking to myself “it’s going a bit dark across the bay round by Cancale”.

Back here at about 15:30 the most enormous hurricane sprang up – totally astonishing; I stuck my head out of the window and I could see the wild storm lashing the rocks.

About 5 minutes later it went as black as pitch and I thought “hey up – we’ll get the lot in a minute!” and I hadn’t even finished saying it when there was the most impressive flash of lightning followed by an incredible thunderclap.

And then we had the rain.

Sheets and sheets of it, with the orchestra and light show rumbling on and on.

It all cleared up after about half an hour and we were then back in the sunshine. But that was so impressive. I really enjoyed the show.

What else that was impressive was that I was out like a light last night and slept right though until the alarm went off.

I don’t remember too much abut my little voyage last night though. Except that it was in Luxembourg – or was it Liechtenstein – and a visit to the country’s tax office, only to find that because of the small size of the country there wasn’t enough room for the Government offices there so they were all in the next town in a neighbouring country.

Today, I’ve been pressing on with the blog. And most of the time has been spent on just one particular page. 2300 or so words on there, and it’s hard to believe that there wasn’t even a placeholder there before.

Not only that, I’ve probably done another 9 or 10 too and I’m in April 2011. And I would have done even more had I not … errr … had a little rest.

Won’t be so easy in a bit though because there’s a huge mess of pages to untangle from when I was in the UK. It’s hard to believe that I went from March 2009 to early summer 2011 without setting foot in the Perfidious Albion except for a day trip to pick up the tile cutter.

But then again, apart from a quick day trip for Terry’s slates, I’ve not been there since December 2012. And I can’t say that I miss it any. My future is well and truly here.

And those of you with long memories will remember me moaning a while back about a data cable for my Canadian mobile phone, and Rhys using the medium of the “comments” page to show me on that he had seen?

Well, it arrived in the post today.

So many grateful thanks from me, and you will be receiving a plain brown envelope in the post shortly after I set foot in Montreal.

The comments facility on this blog is a powerful thing. Why don’t you try it some time?

Monday 29th May 2017 – LAST NIGHT …

… we had the most tremendous storm that I have seen for years.

It started off at 23:00 exactly with the most terrific crash of thunder that rattled just about everywhere in the vicinity. And then the heavens opened and we got the lot.

I’m not sure how long the storm went on for but it was a good couple of hours at least – although I did eventually go to sleep.

And I was on my travels too. A Rock concert that I wanted to see and I ended up seeing it from backstage. A group of about five young men who should have been a rock group but it was more like a Boys Band with them dressed in suits. And I was horrified to notice that they were actually miming, not singing or playing their instruments.

After breakfast I headed off out, and had to swim across the entrance hall as it seemed that the whole of last night’s rain entered the building. Good job I’m on the first floor, isn’t it? It was still raining when I went to pick up the baguette.

Back here, I spent the morning shortening the lace curtains. Well, not exactly shortening them but measuring them and pinning them up so that they don’t drag on the windowsill. In time, I’ll sew them up and cut off the excess. That’s a nice job for a cold winter evening I reckon.

Apart from that, not much else. I rigged up a printer (and that was no easy task either) and printed off a form that I need to complete – which I duly did. It needs a rubber stamp from the Bank and that was my project for this afternoon but I wasn’t going out anywhere in this weather.

As for the oven chips, they were a disappointment. They had been in there for 30 minutes, not 20, and at 230°C, not 210°C, and they still weren’t cooked. It’s rather a disappointment if you ask me.

Another item of interest is that every now and again I develop a raging thirst. When I was in that hostel it was almost perpetual but I’ve not noticed it for a while. However today, I’ve had four or five mugs of coffee and demolished 1.5 litres of soft drink. Is this a sign of something?

So now it’s bedtime. And if the weather is better I’ll be off on a Great Trek down to the Bank and, subsequently, to the Post Office.