Tag Archives: wyoming

Wednesday 14th February 2024 – IT LOOKS AS IF …

… I’ll be back in Paris at the end of April, despite what I said yesterday.

There’s a heart test already arranged for 24th April, so the doctor said “we’ll make it a stay for a few days and run a pile of tests on you”. Ahh well, can’t be helped, I suppose

All that way there and back and I was only with him for about 15 minutes, and even then he spent much of the time being interrupted on the phone by other people.

At least, it’s good practice, I suppose. Especially for me having to organise myself ready to travel.

Having had a good wash yesterday I still had plenty of things to do before I could go to bed so it was rather late when I finally crawled under my covers.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed to switch it off and then to take my blood pressure. A mere 16.6/9.5 this morning – quite a change from the 18:8/10.9 of the night before.

Once I was up I dressed and then went to make my sandwiches for lunch – nice thick slices of home-made bread that had been stored in the freezer and left to defrost overnight, and filled with cheese, hummus, lettuce and tomato with garlic mayonnaise.

The taxi driver was someone who had run me round to the Centre de Re-education once so I knew her. We had a very interesting chat during which I learnt that she is on good terms with one of the guys off the radio. As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" … – ed, the World is becoming far too small for my liking.

She’s not been taxi-driving long so she didn’t know the way very well, but I helped as well as I could and we arrived at the reception desk bang on time. And then I was called for the interview.

When I’d been there last time his office was right at the far end of the corridor and round the corner so I went to sit there. Today, his office was right next to the reception desk so he had to come to find me.
"Walk this way" he said, beckoning me in his direction
"If I could walk that way" I thought to myself "I wouldn’t be in this flaming hospital having this blasted treatment in the first place"

He went through all of my results with me, and everything seems to be an improvement (that’s not how it looks to me, but never mind) so he’s pleased with the progress of his cocktail of medication.

He thinks that an in-depth examination will be called for after a few weeks, and so he reckons transforming this day visit into a hospitalisation for several days.

One of the things that he suggested was another lumbar puncture – and I went cold at the thought.

As for all of my detailed and comprehensive notes about my blood pressure, he scarcely gave them a glance. So much for those then, I suppose.

Finding a nice quiet corner I ate my butties, went for a visit down the corridor and then found my taxi driver, and we set off for home.

Shame as it is to say it, I slept almost all of the way back and I’ve no idea why. But both the outward and the return journey were the most trouble-free that I have ever had. The traffic was slow-moving on the Prif but we weren’t ever held up, either on the outward or the return journey.

My cleaner was waiting for me when we arrived. She’d volunteered to help me up the stairs but strangely, I didn’t need it today. I could climb up all 25 steps without any help. So maybe there really IS progress after all. I must admit that last night, for the first time since my bad fall, I’d felt well enough to restart my musculation process with my elastic strap around my legs.

Back in the apartment I made myself a nice mug of boiling hot chocolate and then came in here to transcribe the dictaphone notes. And there were tons of them. No wonder I was tired. I’d travelled miles during the night.

We were managing a rock group last night. The drummer in this group was only very young but was a prodigy, extremely good at his job so one of the other teams in the league decided that they wanted to sign him. I said that he’d only go if they made a ridiculous offer and we had another drummer to replace him. My team in the transfer window arranged a few more transfers in, a defender, an attacker and one player whom I didn’t know. I didn’t recognise his name so I wondered where he came from and what he did, thinking that he might be a replacement drummer to replace the one whom we were about to lose but it wasn’t. In fact he was another outfield player. So I explained to the club that it doesn’t matter how much money they offer, they can offer as much as you like but if he’s still under contract with us and we don’t have a replacement then he can’t leave for another club.

And that really does make a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

Mr Teale, our geography teacher at school was telling our class about the Midwest USA. He was talking briefly about the Oregon and California Trail that they took. So when he finished I told him about the time that I’d visited there and seen it. I had my photos that I showed everyone. I mentioned the big baskets at the top of the hill where the descent into California starts, where back in the past they went through and found all old bits of wood lying along the trail. They picked them up and stuck them in this basket. It’s extremely likely that much of the wood in there comes from these crashed Pioneer wagons that failed to make the descent correctly and came to grief somewhere along there on towards the end of the trail on this downhill slope

Regular readers of this rubbish in another format will recall that we have spent a considerable time on the Oregon and California Trail. in 2002 I went to see the famous trail ruts and Register Cliff IN GUERNSEY, WYOMINGand then went back there IN 2019, and one day I’ll finish editing the … gulp! … 6,000 photos from my famous trip

Then I put some knock-out drops into the air when our Geography teacher and one of the other teachers were talking about the summit of the Oregon and California Trail. I’d been there of course and knew all about it but it seemed appropriate for the class to have a break and go to sleep so that the rest of the room could occupy ourselves for a bit

As for the summit of the trail, it’s not easy to know what is meant by it. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been TO SOUTH PASS which is the watershed, where rivers to the east drain either into the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico, and to the west where rivers drain into the Pacific, so I suppose that that might be described as the summit.

However you’ll never lose a wagon down the descent there. Edwin Bryant, in his book WHAT I SAW IN CALIFORNIA described the slope either side as being so gentle that you’d hardly know that it was there, and that was my opinion too.

I also started later on talking about my Will, where I was going to leave money and to who. Actually finding it is a bit of a struggle but it was above the treeline on the route that these Oregon Trails took. But I found it sure enough and opened it to read. It’s different from the one that I have at home. My property will just be left to my heritee whoever that will be, with no mention of sorting it out amongst the people who ought to benefit so I hope that other people will understand, if they find this document, exactly what I want to do. I’ll have other ideas but I probably won’t get them down

That’s something that I really need to do – to write my will. It will be pretty straightforward and simple, and won’t take long. But that won’t be the end of the story because there will be a lot of work to be done in its respect and also in the respect of carrying out my wishes.

Apart from a few bits and pieces, it’s all going to be dropped into the lap of one person, and that person will certainly earn their share of the inheritance at the end of it. Mind you, they’ll deserve it

So who will that person be? The answer is that even though there’s a lot of ground between us, there’s really only one person honest and reliable enough in my entourage upon whom I could in theory rely.

And if that person doesn’t carry out my wishes? Well, there’s not much I can do about it, except to come back and haunt them, rather like the two gay ghosts who really gave each other the willies one night.

But that reminds me of Liz (not “this Liz” but “that Liz” who died in 2009) going in for a serious operation, and writing down a list of names
"Is this the list of people you want us to tell how it went, mum?" asked Kathryn?
"No, dear" replied Liz. "This is the list of people whom I’m going to come back and haunt if it all goes wrong".

Liz would have known about all of this, though. Having served on many University committees she’s had plenty of experience of holding hands sitting around a table and trying to contact the living.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed – as I said … "when?" – ed … but didn’t record, the people making this programme … "which programme?" – ed … presented her … "who?" – ed … with a teddy bear afterwards as a kind of memento of a trip that she’d made. Of course no-one from that voyage is with us these days except of course the teddy bear. That’s the only survivor of that first 1840s voyage across from East to West

That looks like an awful mess, doesn’t it? It looks as if it’s related to the Oregon and California Trail, but what’s the rest of it all about?

And then I was back at my little house in Winsford as well last night, wondering how things would have been if I’d actually stayed in Winsford and not taken the opportunity to move to Gainsborough Road in Crewe.

That’s a really good question. I quite liked my little house in Winsford but for some reason I felt really uncomfortable there.

Nevertheless, even though it was a Barratt House, I won’t ever hear a bad word against them as they helped me onto the property ladder. I went in three years from living in a van to owning (with a mortgage of course) a brand-new semi-detached house and I wouldn’t ever have done it without them.

While I was writing out my dictaphone notes I fell asleep again. It’s one of those days, I reckon, so in the end I went and made my leftover curry. It was delicious and the naan bread was cooked to absolute perfection. I’d eat all of this again and again if I could.

But now I’m off to bed. And I go, as Joachim du Bellay said, "heureux qui comme Ulysse a fait un beau voyage" “happy is he who like Ulysses has had a good journey”.

What I’ll be hoping is for more pleasant dreams like I used to have when TOTGA, Castor and Zero used to come to see me. It’s all very well giving me medication that has a side-effect of blanking them all out but as Tennessee Williams said, "If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels"

Tuesday 14th November 2023 – WHEN THE ALARM …

… went off this morning, I was round at Liz and Terry’s. Two visitors came round, a young couple. The woman was a teacher at the same school as Liz. There was a big banquet that had been prepared but there wasn’t very much that I could eat so I had to pick my food carefully and then I ended up eating some feta cheese by accident. While I was sorting out my food I was listening to this couple recounting to Liz and Terry a tale of woe about how some kind of dirty deed had been performed against them. As I listened, a light went on in my head because I recalled from a previous conversation that I’d had with someone else that I’d heard this story before, told by a different person and from a different point of view which, nevertheless, didn’t put it in any better light.

So I made it to my feet and went off in search of my medication. I’m starting to run out of some of that now so I’ll have to contact the doctor and see what he can do about it. I’m going to have to be much more reliant on him these days if I’m not going to Leuven again.

Back in here the first thing that I did was to transcribe the dictaphone notes. And there were quite a few this morning. I’d had a busy night. I’d done some work on the laptop and gone to put the SSD back into it but it wouldn’t work. It took an absolute age to load up. I replaced the SSD with another one and then another one but each time it took really so long for the opening programme to load up onto the laptop – the homepage. I couldn’t understand why. Usually a clean install works quite well, the original hard drive was unaltered but the two other ones were new. There I was, stranded again with all of this going on again without a laptop for the moment.

And then a group of us had tickets for the European Cup Final. We arrived at the stadium quite early and found it fairly empty. We settled down on a couple of seats right at the very edge of where the stage was. There was a lot of discussion about football clubs – who was qualifying and where? Who did you need to support to get someone else, a long complicated discussion. I was busy looking at the speakers on the corner where we were sitting thinking that we’ll be deafened by these. They were in fact old PA speakers from The Who from one of their tours a few years ago. I couldn’t understand why they would be there. Slowly the hall was filling up as people were coming in and people were going. I was beginning to wonder whether we ought to make for a better vantage point than this because the music out of the PA speakers just by where we were sitting would be absolutely deafening.

There was something happening in my life about being divorced or separated etc. Catherine came to see me because we’d had a discussion the previous day or two ago about some kind of appointment. The Social Services had intervened early on that particular morning because the situation that I’d described to them had changed. Catherine asked me for the official date of my divorce or separation. There was no such thing as far as I’m aware. We agreed in the end that once the Social Services had found out the change in circumstances, should we say “5 minutes before that?”. It made no difference at all to me so I agreed. Then she suggested taking me off for an appointment with various different Social Services and Welfare people. She wanted to know about my personal papers, whether I had all of them. I replied “as far as I’m aware”. She asked “there’s no sign that your cupboards and drawers have been forced?”. I replied “no. They aren’t even locked”. She was astonished by that. I said “we aren’t that kind of people. We didn’t really have secrets”. She found a lot of it extremely difficult to believe. I don’t think that I was able to convince her of the truth.

With all this talk of divorce the fan must have been working quite hard. Just as we were talking about Labrador, the “Big Land” the head of the fan flew off and hit a dog that was standing close by us.

At some point I remember being in a motorbike race when I lost control of my bike on a band and skidded across the track and collided with the corner of a grandstand making some people sitting in there jump for safety

And then I’d found a mouse when I was round at someone’s house, a yellow golden colour, not exactly a mouse but something of that description. We managed to catch it and keep it in a jar. It was extremely friendly. We let it out at night when we went to bed. Next morning when we awoke it was still here. We caught it again. I decided that I’d keep it (as if that is ever likely to happen) and take it home. I went to the householder and asked if there was any food that the mouse could eat. They thought that there might be some bread or something but in the end when we looked through the fridge we came across half a cold cheese and mushroom omelette. We have it some of that. The person who fed it gave it an enormous amount, probably 3 times bigger than the mouse itself. I thought that if the mouse was starving you don’t want to give it that much food. It could quite easily kill itself. We put the mouse down to attack away at this cheese omelette.

And that’s pretty similar to the story of the Donner Party. In 1846 they set out on the Oregon and California Trail – a trail that I’ve been following bit by bit on foot over the last 20-odd years – from the Mississippi to emigrate to California, which was in those days part of Mexico.

Edwin Bryant, who travelled part of the way with them, wrote in his autobiography “What I Saw In California” that he was so dismayed with the slow progress that the Donners were making that he and his friends abandoned them and pushed on alone, and I had a lovely lunch in 2019 at one of their lunch stops among the same cottonwood tress where they ate their lunch along the Sweetwater River in Wyoming back in 1846.

Anyway, Bryant was not wrong. The Donner Party arrived in the Rockies so late that they were snowed in and ended up eating each other to stay alive.

But worse was to come. One of the few survivors so gorged himself on food brought by John Sutter’s relief expedition the following year that he dropped down dead.

And it’s a shame that I never made it as far as what became subsequently known as Donner Pass. I made it as far as South Pass – the watershed between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans – and a couple of miles further on, but that will have to be that.

Meanwhile back at the ranc … errr … apartment I went and had a good strip-down wash (I’m still wary about getting into the shower) and fighting off wave after wave of sleep I prepared for my Welsh lesson.

Today, I didn’t stay until the end. My first session at the Centre de Re-education was at 13:30 today so I had to finish early and prepare myself to leave. You really have no idea how long it takes me to put on my shoes.

At the Centre de Re-education I had a very long chat with someone who began the conversation with “how are things up on your rock?” and I don’t have a clue at all who he is.

But he clearly knows me, and that’s worrying.

There were just two sessions today, not three as I had been told last week. Someone had a chat with me about making some kind of plan to build up my muscle tissue, such as still remains, and then Severine pulled and tugged me about for half an hour.

It was later than I hoped by the time that I returned home, where I bumped into my cleaner who had run to LeClerc this morning and had taken a list of mine with her.

And thanks to her, we don’t just have the European Vegan Burger Mountain and European Potato Mountain but also now the European Vegan Cheese Mountain. She has done me proud.

But checking the spuds today, I shall have to do something with them. I suppose that there’s no reason why I can’t freeze them. When I’m freezing carrots, I wash, scrub, dice and blanch them and that works well enough for them, and also for the broccoli and sprouts that I have frozen from fresh.

And so I reckon that doing the same with potatoes will work well enough. If it doesn’t, I suppose that one of you lot will tell me about it

For the rest of the day I’ve been recovering from my exertions and doing a little radio work. As well as checking over the radio programme that will be broadcast this weekend.

It’s always a good idea to listen to the programme before it’s included in the stream to broadcast. I won’t ever forget when Liz and I were running Radio Anglais back in the good old days when I’d prepared a programme about “Yes” bassist Chris Squire, only for him to drop dead the morning of the broadcast.

That must have been the quickest re-write in history.

Tea was a taco roll with some of the leftover stuffing, with rice and veg. And while regular readers of this rubbish will recall the monotonous nature of my meals, they are in fact quite tasty.

So off to bed now, and tomorrow I’ll push on and finish the notes for the radio programme if I can. And then off to the Centre de Re-education. Coming back up the stairs was a little easier than it has been and I wonder if really is Severine who is doing her stuff that is working.

It’s all very well about healing the sick, but I wonder if there’s a massage that will raise the dead.

Saturday 27th May 2023 – WE ARE NOW BACK …

… in the position where we were a few months ago. The freezer is now full to bursting once more.

It was a good day round at the shops to-day and once again, Noz came up trumps as it does every so often.

But anyway, I didn’t beat the alarm this morning. I was somewhere down in Newcastle under Lyme at the PMT bus garage where I was to pick up a bus to work a local service around Newcastle. They’d given me the information and then given me a route map but the map was a kind-of abstract map. I couldn’t identify anything on this map compared to how it is in real life so I had to find someone to explain the route to me. I was wandering around this depot trying to find someone. I found one or two people but they were of no help whatsoever. I really needed an inspector or something but I just couldn’t find anyone at all. There were all these buses parked up. No-one had actually told me which one was mine. I thought to myself “I can see this being a disaster too if I don’t organise things quite quickly” and that’s something that is a recurring theme too.

It didn’t take too long to organise myself this morning, which is a surprise. and it’s just as well because Alison phoned. She needed to talk about things like kitchens and showers so we were there on the ‘phone for about an hour discussing various things.

As a result I was rather later than usual going out to the shops but who cares? I’d much rather talk to my friends than almost anything. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I don’t have many friends but those whom I have are the best in the World.

So at Noz, the first thing that I discovered was a pile of McVitie’s ginger biscuits, and the vegan version too. I know that I like to bake my own biscuits these days but I’m not going to miss out on several rolls of these.

And in the deep freezer they had carrot burgers from some Italian company and a pile of those breaded quorn fillets that I like, only a Findus variety with the labelling in Danish and Swedish.

My diet can be somewhat monotonous if I’m not feeling adventurous so I’m not going to miss out on the chance to add some extra stuff into it so I grabbed several boxes of each of those to shake things up a little.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, Noz is a chain of shops that buys bankrupt stock, surpluses, short lifespan products and the like and sells them off quite cheaply. I’ve had piles of stuff from there over the past 10 or 12 years since I first encountered one and there’s usually always something in there to add some excitement to my diet.

LeClerc came up with the goods too. Some of that sliced fondue vegan cheese in the clearance range so I liberated a pile of that too. I also bought some lasagne. It’s years since I made myself a lasagne and I had a sudden craving for one. I might have a go at that next week.

But there was something rather surprising in LeClerc today. They have a few assistants who roam around the store to help the elderly and infirm with their shopping, and one of them came over to me to ask if I needed help.

In the past I’ve been told, and on one or two occasions quite bluntly too, that I didn’t look as if I’m dying. But after my adventures last autumn everyone who saw me on my return told me how ill I was looking and how they were worried that I might not pull through – even my doctor. But I reckon that it’s becoming clearer by the minute now and if Regina is reading this, then “I told you so”.

It’s all very reminiscent of when I used to live in Brussels and one of my friends happened to see me
“Eric!” he exclaimed. “We thought that you were dead”
“Not at all. It just smells like it.”

Back here the first thing that I did was to clean and dice the 2kg of carrots that I’d bought and set them off a–blanching. I’m running low on carrots in the freezer so I need to stock up. And then I had breakfast – cheese on toast and some nice, strong coffee.

There was time to transcribe the rest of the dictaphone notes, because I’d been on my travels quite a lot during the night. I was in a group last night with a few other people. There was a keyboard player and a guitarist whom I remember. The guitarist was quite young. We took the stage and began to play. A girl came up and went over to the guy playing the guitar and singing and began to gyrate around him. It was clear that she was putting him completely off his stroke. When it came to the part where he was supposed to sing he turned to the keyboard player and said “you’ll have to sing this”. This led to an argument between the two of them. As soon as the concert finished and it was already undignified with a few spectators and someone was getting an awful amount of mileage out of this, teasing them both about their group, how disorganised and how bad it was.

And isn’t that a shame? I seem to have gone beyond the days when girls would come along and gyrate all around me – even when I’m off on another plane of existence. I’m losing count of the number of times that I’ve snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in this respect during the night, without counting the number of times members of my family have come along to queer my pitch in the middle of something exciting.

Later on I’d been staying in a cabin with a couple of old guys, the type of thing that you’d find on the frontier 150 years ago. Cabin fever was definitely striking and we were arguing about just about anything. One of the guys decided that he would let rip with a full-blown argument point out to me all my faults and defects. I had an answer for everything that he said but it was just one of those things that if you became involved in this argument you’d be there for ever and nothing would ever be resolved.

And that’s something else, isn’t it? Cabin fever is quite a well-known phenomenon in the High Arctic and there were several cases amongst some of us after several months on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. My suggestion that we round up the more cantankerous members of our party and send them ashore on the first zodiac to see whether there were any polar bears about did not however meet with universal approval, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Immediately after that little episode I awoke with a terrible pain in my right knee as if I’d over-exerted it yesterday. However it eased off after a while and I went back to sleep.

Once the carrots were draining and drying off I headed into town in the beautiful sunshine. And do you know – it’s taken me about 6 months to realise that if there is a set of steps with the handrail on the right, I can go down much quicker and easier if I go down backwards?

The Aranesp was waiting for me so I picked it up and headed home. Having struggled with my shoulder bag falling off my shoulder and knocking me and my crutches out of balance, I’d found a backpack that I’d bought ages ago to use as a day pack when I go out walkies (not that I’ll be doing much of that these days) and that was much better.

On the way back I fell in with one of my neighbours, Pierre, the one who owned the Spirit of Conrad on which we sailed down the Brittany coast FOR A WEEK a few years ago. We had a good chat about this and that. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I seem to be the flavour of the Month since I now own a share of this building.

From there I came back in a regrettably, at that point I … errr … had a little relax, just as I thought that I might. It’s all becoming rather monotonous, but there’s nothing that I can buy in Noz to alleviate that.

While Alison and I had been chatting earlier I’d told her that I’d sort out a few photos of the kitchen that I’d had installed in Expo so I had a rummage around in various old directories (yes, they are still “directories” – I haven’t recovered after learning DOS 5.0) and sorted out a few to send to her.

The rest of the day has been spent resurrecting an old project. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when they opened the road over Eagle Plateau in 2010 so that you could drive all the way across from northern Québec to the Labrador coast, I was one of the first TO ATTEMPT IT

At that time I went as a tourist and I had no idea what to expect so after I returned I did a pile of research and went again in 2014 and then in 2015 by which time I’d bought Strider who was a much-more suitable vehicle for going off-roading. The aim on those occasions was write a sequel but from a historical and social point of view.

Unfortunately that project ground to a halt because a few months after returning in 2015 I was swept up in all of this.

And as well as that, I went again in 2017 when I went out in a couple of small boats to visit some of the abandoned settlements that were cleared out under Joey Smallwood’s “bigger is better” policy of the 1950s and for which even 70 years later the people of the Labrador coast are still paying the price.

However, I digress … “yet again” – ed.

The task therefore, if I choose to accept it, is to resurrect what I was doing in 2015 and to add in the stuff from 2017 and start again. So this afternoon I’ve been trying to find all the notes that I made back in those days.

Tea tonight was a couple of small breaded quorn fillets that I’d bought ages ago and were festering in the freezer. Wo while I pulled them out, I stuck the carrots in. I had the fillets along with a salad and some fried potato cubes done in the air fryer. That was really nice.

Tomorrow is a Sunday of course so I’ll be having a lie-in. But I have some radio notes that I’ve written and I’ll dictate them tonight once the street outside is quiet. That’ll give me something to do tomorrow and on Monday, and then I can crack on with this and that.

But before I go, yesterday I was talking about South Pass. There’s one song that I always associate with South Pass and THAT CAME ROUND on the playlist.
“We rolled across the high plains
Deep into the mountains
Felt so good to me
Finally, feelin’ free
Somewhere along a high road
The air began to turn cold
She said she missed her home
I headed on alone, oh, oh”

(and who do those last two lines bring to mind?)

The song is all about “The High Plains” of Wyoming, which WE VISITED IN 2002 when I was on my course at the Solar Energy Institute but the photo in the posted extract is a long, long way from the High Plains of Wyoming. Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its earlier guises will recall having seen that image BEFORE.

“Next time
We’ll get it right”

Monday 21st June 2021 – I’VE BEEN EXTREMELY …

… active today, and that has surprised me as mush as it has probably surprised you.

sanding down of hull yacht rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact I’ve been down to the chantier navale this afternoon to have a look around the two boats that are in there.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there of course. It looks as if she is going to be having a new paint job. There’s a guy over there busy sanding down her bottom with one of these big industrial sanders and so I imagine that Rebelle is going to be in there for a good while yet.

But what is interesting about her is her port of registration. She’s registered in London so I’m curious to know what she’s actually doing here in Granville. It’s a very long way to come for a refit and a repaint.

gwenn ha ruz chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe fishing boat that we’ve seen for the last couple of weeks is actually called Gwenn Ha Ruz

And in case you are wondering what Gwenn Ha Ruz is, it’s actually Breton for “White and Red” and presumably relates to the colour of her hull and superstructure.

And whatever you do, you must not confuse it with Gwenn Ha Du, “Black and White”. These are of course the colours of Brittany and it is also the name of one of these organisations like the Free Wales Army or the irish Republican Army who led a very active life fighting for the liberation of Brittany and doing things like blow up statues and burning down Prefectures.

Although the Organisation was dissolved after World War II, it inspired the Talbenn Dieubiñ Breizh or “Liberation Front of Brittany”, a society that gained a lot of publicity in the 1960s and early 1970s during criminal trials against its leaders and led indirectly to a revival of the Breton culture and language.

But be that as it may, let’s start at the very beginning. Once again I was up at the sound of the first alarm and after the medication I cracked on with the radio programme that I was doing.

Despite stopping for a coffee and a little later for breakfast, I had it all finished and ready to go by 11:45, and I’ll go with that any time.

While I was listening to it and to the programme that will be broadcast this weekend (another live concert) I sorted out the music on the computer. There are piles of various albums and I hadn’t a clue who half of the artists were so I did some research and edited the file names of the songs to add in the artists.

Ad there’s another “various artists” album added to the collection now. I’d bought one in Canada a couple of years ago and hadn’t digitalised it yet. But I have now!

After lunch I spent a very pleasant hour or so editing photos of my trip to Wyoming in August 2019. I’m now in Wind River Canyon on my way back to Winnipeg, where I might arrive in a couple of days given a bit of luck, God’s help and a bobby.

But right now I have to go out to the shops.

patrol boat baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I don’t get very far before I’m side-tracked by some activity out at sea. In fact, probably not even 100 yards.

Just gently passing by the harbour entrance is what looks like one of the French Government’s patrol boats. There is one, called Les Epiettes, that loiters around here and we saw that in July 2020 when we were on the Spirit of Conrad out at the Ile de Chausey but of course I’m not able to tell you whether it’s the same boat.

Whoever she is, she’s towing some kind of boat behind her. That’s not her lifeboat of course – it’s rather too big for that so I wonder what that is all about. It might account for her coming up to the pleasure port – to drop it off at a pontoon.

trawlers waiting to enter inner harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on along the street I was brought to a shuddering halt again.

It looks as if I’ve arrived here just at the right moment. The harbour gates that control the mouth of the harbour are closed but judging by the gaggle of trawlers hanging around down there, the gates are about to open.

Once the gates are open the trawlers will swarm through into the inner harbour and go and unload round the back of the Fish Processing Plant.

Down the hill in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers I went and ended up at the chantier navale where I took the photos that you saw a little earlier.

From the chantier navale I headed off into town.

diver with aqualung port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hallmy little trek was interrupted by this strange sight at the inner harbour.

It looks as if one of the boats needs some work doing below the waterline because we have a diver complete with aqualung walking around on the pontoons. And so I said to him “don’t you start away, uneasy. You poor old sod, you see it’s only me”.

Down the road I went towards the town centre. At the Super U I bought a lettuce because that which I had brought home from Leuven was dead, and also some of that dried and candied fruit that I stick in my fruit bread. I’ve run out of Liz’s cake so I need to make some more fruit bread.

Over the road I went to the pharmacy where I stocked up on medication with the prescription from my GP. And it’s a good job that I didn’t collect that three months’ supply in Leuven because my GP has prescribed me three months’ worth of medication. Now I have enough to sink a ship and that’s exactly what I wanted.

While I was out there I kept on colliding with a couple who must have visited every shop in the town trying to find some “Eskimo” ice cream.

swimming pool port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLoaded up now with more stuff than I intended to bring home, I climbed up the hill in the Rue Des Juifs on my way home.

Half-way up the hill where the viewpoint is overlooking the loading bay I had a look down there to see what was going on. The swimming pool is there so we can assume that Normandy Trader has yet to put her sooty foot in the harbour.

However there seems to be nothing else lined up on the quayside so maybe she isn’t going to be coming in for a few days yet.

While we’re on the subject, on a few occasions Thora used to come into port with a load of scrap iron – old lorries, tractors, all kinds of metal. But I’ve not seen any of that lined up on the quayside for quite a while. Perhaps the price of scrap has dropped.

demolition of unsafe staircase square potel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, there’s some kind of activity going on across the road in the Square Potel.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in early summer 2020 the stairway that led down to the Square from up on the wall was closed off to the public as being unsafe. A while later, the spending plan of the town stated that restoration work on the stairs and the repointing of the wall would take place in 2020.

But looking at the little low wall around the Square, that’s been renovated and repointed, and the stairs have been brought down, presumably by that digger that’s there. So they are getting going with this earlier than planned, by the looks of things.

In a couple of weeks time it will be interesting to see how the square will look as the renovations proceed.

While we’re on the subject of proceeding, I proceeded on up the hill towards home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I arrived at my building I carried on across the car park to look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

There’s even less beach than there was yesterday but nevertheless there are some people down there on the rocks. They look as if they have been in the sea for a swim and they are braver people than me.

Back in my apartment I made myself a coffee and then went to listen to the dictaphone. There is stuff on there for the last four days which I transcribed and one of these days I’ll add in the detains to the previous three days whenever I can find a moment. I might actually have done it today but I … errr … had a little relax while I was riding the porcelain horse.

As for last night I was playing in a pop group last night, playing bass. I’d gone and bought myself a new cabinet, a 300-watt combo things. I was working out first of all how to make a cover for it out of plywood or something. Then I took it up onto the stage, took the cover off and took the plug out of my little amp and plugged it into the back of this big machine and started to play. The sound was so much better, as you might expect for the money but there was a flat spot where I played two notes but you could hear it waling down the street. Some guy had brought a …. I fell asleep here for 7.5 minutes … so where was I? Anyway, I had this bass cabinet and was playing it. Some Irish guy had this weird mouth harp thing but he was playing it but wasn’t getting any sound out of it. We were all joking about him getting more and more frustrated until suddenly he opened the top of it and found that he should be inserting a battery in there – a big PP9 battery from the 1950s.
But while I was asleep just now I was in Caliburn and I was in a seaside town looking up on a cliff. I was driving back to the town but I lost my way and ended up on a street full of semi-detached bungalows, obviously second holiday homes, all closed up and everything. Then I went back to the main road and back down the hill. There was a big chalk quarry with a couple of huge trees that had been blown down with the explosives and there were probably 1000 hunters there with guns. I had to thread my way through as I was on foot by this time. As I reached the other side I met two people – they might have been two people from work. I said to Lucien “I don’t fancy anyone’s chances here. As someone sees a squirrel there is 1000 people shooting at it. The skin is going to be no use for anything and the meat is going to be riddled with lead. But they were really lucky because they saw something moving and they were just about to shoot and it turned out to be a cat. Some little kids had to go and try to catch the cat or chase it away.

There was the hour on the guitar while I picked my way note by note through the bass lines of one of the tracks that I need to learn, and then for tea it was veggie balls with pasta and veg followed by apple turnover, which was delicious.

Now I’m going to prepare some dough for my fruit bread, and then I’m off to bed. Welsh lesson tomorrow – the last of the Academic year – so I need to be on form.

Saturday 12th June 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… good and productive morning today which was nice. And which was just as well because I had a pretty lousy afternoon.

But more of the afternoon anon. Let’s talk about the morning first.

As the alarm started to ring I leapt out of bed and wandered off for my medication. And then I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone.

And there was nothing on it from the night, which was a surprise because I had all sorts of vague ideas and images going around the margins of my mind when I awoke but they had all flown away as I had tried to grab hold of them.

There was however some stuff on the dictaphone from 30th and 31st May that needed transcribing and so I dealt with that and brought their pages in the journal up-to-date.

While I’d been doing that I’d been listening to music. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, a week’s radio programmes was lost in some king of confusion and my records ended up being out of order for a week. And rearranging it meant that I had a blank week.

Without confusing things any more, I was rather stuck for what to do. But then yesterday I had an idea. I have a load of music that is waiting to be digitalised and even more than hasn’t yet been sorted. So I went through and sought out the groups who are debuting in my playlist.

The CDs that needed digitalising were then digitalised and I made up a playlist of albums where the groups and musicians were debuting in my lists.

And so today while all of this updating of the journal was going on, I was listening to music. I’d already been listening it last night and I’d selected a few tracks from it but by the time I’d finished the updating this morning I ended up with a nice collection.

And so I selected my tracks, edited them to cut out bits I didn’t want and to regulate the volume and then I combined them in pairs. So that’s the music sorted for that programme. On Monday I need to start by writing the music which is good because I have an appointment at lunchtime and I need to have the programme done by then.

When I’d finished what I’d been doing I grabbed a Louis de Funes sound file and chopped that up for more soundbites and I’m now accumulating a nice bunch of soundbites. And there are plenty more to go.

When I’d finished it, that was when it all started to go wrong, because I almost immediately crashed out. And a good and proper crashing out it was too. It was a very late lunch today because I didn’t come round until about 14:20. And then I was staggering around like a drunkard for a few minutes until I grabbed hold of my equilibrium.

The rest of the day has been spent cutting up albums (and there are still plenty to go at) and editing photos from August 2019. And I’m now actually at South Pass – at least where Highway 28 goes through it.

It didn’t look like the description that I had though and while things can change since 1845 they don’t change that much so what I did then was to go back to find a hotel and make further plans and do further research. So unless I am distracted tomorrow you might get to hear a little of my adventures.

In between all of this I went out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I did, as you might expect, is to interest myself in what is happening down on the beach today.

And so girding up my loins I headed for the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down from my viewpoint. And as we can see, there’s plenty of beach again today because the tide is well out again today. As I go out most days at roughly the same time, it’s interesting to see how the tide evolves over a complete cycle.

And while the weather is better today than it has been, warm with hardly any wind, there weren’t as many people down there as I was expecting to see. After all, it’s the holiday season and the place is swarming with Parisians right now bringing their viruses with them.

marite english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut while I was admiring the people on the beach my attention was caught by some kind of movement away on the horizon.

It was a ship – I was pretty sure of that. It couldn’t be anything else at that spot but with the naked eye it was far too far away for me to make out exactly what kind of ship. I was intrigued to see what it might be so I took a photo with the aim of cropping it out and blowing it up (which I can still do despite modern anti-terrorist legislation).

And so there you are. It’s a large sailing ship with at least two masts. And according to my shipping radar, Marité, the old fishing schooner that lives in the port, slipped her moorings at 07:53 this morning and headed off towards Bordeaux. And I can’t say any more than that about the ship out there.

microlight aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd its not just people on the beach and ships at sea that is attracting our attention right now. Try to do something serious and concentrate and your reverie is immediately interrupted by a buzzing noise overhead.

It’s not a mosquito or an insect like that, but it’s one of these microlight ULM powered hang-glider things. These kinds of things have their origins in the pou de ciel or “flying flea” microlights designed in the 1930s by the Frenchman Henri Mignet and popularised in many magazines, with plans being produced for home-builders.

Ever since then the French have had quite a reputation for building light aircraft of all shapes and sizes and regular readers will recall that we have seen quite a few different types of light aircraft flying over our heads when we’ve been out and about.

Cessna F182P Skylane F-GBTS pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis on the other hand, is a real aeroplane and it makes a change to see one that not only was picked up on radar but is entered in the books of the airport at Granville.

She’s a Cessna F182P Skylane, a model that was introduced in October 1971 and powered by a Continental O-470 piston engine fitted with a carburettor and producing 230 HP, or 72 kW. With a range of over 1,000 miles, the models for the European market are quite often flown over from Wichita, crossing the Atlantic via Newfoundland, Baffin island, Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

This one though was noted as being at Toulouse Airport this morning at 11:59 and was picked up by the radar near Balma at 13:21. And I could follow her route from there all the way to Granville where she landed at 16:15.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut right now I haven’t finished with the air yet because there were other things going on too.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have a local bird of prey that we have seen quite regularly. I’ve forgotten what breed he might be because the birdwatching lectures that I had from Nerina weren’t about this type of bird, but it hovers about the edge of the cliffs because there are many small animals, including a colony of rabbits, that have made their home there.

And to my surprise, I noticed today that it had a mate. Or, at least, there was a second one working the cliff edge farther along. It will be nice if we can have our own colony of vultures or whatever they are.

men fishing from zodiacs baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLet’s turn our attention back to the sea now because there was still plenty going on out there too.

With it being Saturday,, then of course we can expect the local fishermen to be out in their droves this afternoon trying their luck from their boats just offshore at the foot of the cliffs. But doing my best not to make any tart remarks about their success rate, I pushed off along the path.

And the path was crowded with people today too. And despite the Préfet‘s instructions about masks being compulsory until the end of the month, many people were walking around maskless or with their mask tucked under their chin.

And seeing that many of them are holidaymakers from Paris, that will tell you all that you need to know about why the disease is so rampant in those places. And here they are, bringing their disease to us.

trawler beached port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I pushed my way along the path all the way around the headland until I reached the viewpoint that overlooks the harbour from where I could see what was going on in the port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have talked … “at great length” – ed … about trawlers left in the outer harbour to go aground when the tide goes out.

So here’s another one of them – one of the bigger ones too, tied up in a NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) position to the harbour wall underneath the red marker light for the harbour entrance.

There’s definitely something fishy about this, and I’m not talking about the contents of Baldrick’s apple crumble either.

gerlean l'omerta fishing boat port de Granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut to put your minds at rest L’Omerta and its friend, which is called Gerlean, are still tied up at the fish processing plant and are sitting on the mud.

But it beats me why they are there because it can’t be very popular with the other little fishing boats. With those tow moored there, there’s less space for the others to tie up to unload and so they’ll have to queue for longer.

But anyway, that’s not my problem. There’s a hot coffee and some ginger cake waiting for me back at home so I headed that way, and ended up having quite a lengthy chat with one of my neighbours on the stairs. That’s not like me at all, is it?

Tea tonight was interesting. There was some stuffing left over so I lengthened it with stuff that needed using in the fridge, added some tomato sauce and had it with some pasta. And as an ad-hoc meal it was surprisingly good.

But now I’ve finished and I can hardly keep my eyes open, and so I’m off to bed. A nice Sunday lie-in tomorrow and won’t that do me the world of good?

Friday 4th June 2021 – CAN YOU IMAGINE …

… the shame of crashing out and falling asleep while you are talking to someone on the telephone.

And not once, but twice too, and to the same person. And I was definitely away with the fairies too because the second time that I slipped off there was a young schoolgirl in a traditional blue girls’ winter uniform handing me a piece of paper.

Mind you, it was one of my marathon chats that go on for, in this case, almost … errr … three hours, and you know just how well I’m (not) coping with afternoons just now.

Mornings though, I seem to be OK just now with those because once again I was up and about with the first alarm at 06:00. Feeling extremely perky too, which makes a change. Yes, lucky perky. As long as pinky doesn’t become jealous.

So after the medication, which takes much longer than it used to, first task was to see where I’d been on the dictaphone during the night.

And the answer was “nowhere”.

But never mind, that means that I have to edit two day’s worth of arrears of blog rather than one. And you can see where I’ve been, nocturnal voyages included, by going to THIS LINK and then THE FOLLOWING PAGE.

With that out of the way I took the bull by the horns and spent an hour revising my Welsh ready for next Thursday’s exam. Yes, me revising! Whatever next?

Well, next was dealing with a pile of correspondence that had built up. And I hop that Sean received my mail this morning. I had trouble getting it through.

And with that done, I made myself some hot chocolate, grabbed a slice of fruit bread (which is delicious by the way) and attacked the photos, bringing myself all the way to Independence Rock in Wyoming. That’s a very big, prominent rock in the middle of the Upper Wyoming Plain by the side of the Sweetwater River near Avoca.

It’s one of the more important trail markers and the emigrants on the trail and the emigrants on the Trails West reckoned that they needed to be there by Independence Day if they were to pass over the Rockies before the snows.

Edwin Bryant and his party, having broken away from the Donners due to their slowness and pushed on on their own, didn’t reach Independence Rock until 8th July 1846 and travelling much quicker with mules rather than waggons, they were still caught in frost up in the Rockies at the end of August.

The Donners didn’t arrive until 11th July and with no sense of urgency whatsoever, plodded on quite casually meeting disaster after disaster until the end of October when they were trapped in the snow near Truckee Lake at the foot of the Rockies and with no provisions remaining, began to eat each other.

Talking of eating, by the time that I’d done almost 50 photos it was lunchtime so I went to have lunch. That bread that I made is beautiful of course so I had a lovely lunch, and then I set to make a pile of hummus.

Or at least, I would have done had I had enough tahini. I’m certain that I had a couple of jars of it last time that I looked but like several other things that I’ve looked for in that kitchen, they are no longer there. I did what I could with what I had and while it will be a rather strange hummus.

the amount of garlic that I put in it means that it will be thoroughly wicked.

Then I had to ring Rosemary. I have a cunning plan and for that I need a suitable apprentice. And so we had a chat – for about three hours. That’s all. And as a result I was extremely late going out for my afternoon walk. More like an evening walk if you ask me.

fishermen in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd of course I didn’t go far from my front door before I was side-tracked yet again by my favourite subject.

Fishing seems to be quite the thing right now, whether it’s men in boats or on rocks trying to catch the fish, or me making trenchant and pithy comments about them. Anyway this afternoon we have a couple of men armed with fishing rods in a zodiac cruising up and down looking for what I have no idea at all.

Eventually they found a suitable spot to park their boat and settle down. I really did think that they were going to cast their lines but another boat came up for a chat.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo that was that. I went about my business and strolled across the car park to look over the wall down onto the beach to see how things were going on down there.

There wasn’t very much beach for things to be going on on this afternoon. My rather late walk had meant that the tide was by now well in. But even so, a couple of people were down there enjoying themselves in the sun and, I hope, out of the wind because this afternoon the cold, bitter wind is back.

Not the kind of weather for me to be hanging around either. And not just that – I’ll be missing my guitar practice if I don’t get a wiggle on.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s a photo that I’ve been meaning to take ever since I came back from Leuven but always seemed to be forgetting.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been following the adventures of the roofers fixing the roof at the College Malraux across the car park from my place for longer than anyone cares to remember.

However, right now it looks as if they might actually have finished. All the tiles are on anyway even if the scaffolding is still there. We’ll have to keep an eye on that to see if it disappears.

Actually, I could do with a couple of bays myself.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s not just zodiacs that are out there on the water enjoying themselves today. I’d seen something moving on the water in the distance so I walked down the footpath and across the car park to the end of the headland for a closer look.

It’s actually a yacht that’s out there today, and there’s a full load of people on board by the looks of things. I bet that they are having a bumpy ride out there in the wind today. As you can tell by the whitecaps on the waves, it’s quite a lively sea this afternoon.

The sea is certainly more lively than I am right now. I feel as if I’ve aged about 20 years while I was in hospital. I staggered off down the path to see what I could see.

unidentified aircraft pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was on my way down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port, I was overflown by an aeroplane.

It was quite high up and I couldn’t see it clearly. I thought that it might have been the Ryanair flight from Faro to Newcastle upon Tyne that flies overhead round about this time, but in fact it seems to be a turbo-prop aeroplane, so that rules out Ryanair.

It’s hard to tell anything really at the height that it was flying. I can’t even read the registration number on this kind of resolution so I don’t have a clue as to what it might be, which is a shame. It’s the first decent-sized plane that we’ve seen for a while.br clear=”both”>

aircraft 55-oj pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s not just large aircraft that we haven’t seen for a while. There’s not been much in the way of light aircraft either. However one of them overflew me while I was looking down at the harbour

From this angle I couldn’t see the registration number, so I carried on with my observation of what was going on down below. And there was nothing new of any importance. The trawler Hera is still in the chantier navale along with that strange hulk, and that was my lot today.

Nothing of any excitement in port either Normandy Trader is of course long-gone and we haven’t seen Thora for quite a while either. I hope that she’s okay.

aeroplane 55-oj pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the small aeroplane that overflew me just now has done a U-turn over the Baie de Mont St Michel and is heading back to the airport at Donville les bains.

And I can see its registration number too – OJ-55 and we’ve seen her before, but I’ve still not found out who or what she actually is. That number isn’t any number of any series that I have ever seen or have access to.

Anyway I came home, grabbed a coffee and came in here because it was guitar time. And so ngrid rang me and we had quite a chat too although I was exhausted and couldn’t concentrate.

And that was the story of my bass guitar practice too. No concentration tonight. This isn’t doing me any good at all, all of this.

For tea I had chips and falafel, fried in Rachel’s microwave cooker. takes a while but does a good job eventually. With the little salad that I had, it was good stuff. Especially when followed down by apple crumble and thick custard. What can be better?

A good sleep would be a start, so I’m not hanging around. Despite the interruptions I had a really busy day today and yesterday. Shopping tomorrow, which will cost me an arm and a leg, and then Sunday is a Day of Rest.

And I can’t wait.

Thursday 13th May 2021 – IT’S AN ILL WIND …

kite surfing beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… that doesn’t blow anyone any good.

And sure enough, as the weather deteriorated after lunch and we ended up with high gusting winds and a torrential rainstorm, there were people out here who were able to enjoy it, as I noticed when I went to look at the beach on my afternoon walk.

They seemed to be enjoying themselves out there, which was more than I was doing with the rain falling down the back of my neck.

And during the night, I didn’t enjoy it very much either. I had another miserable night of suffering continual attacks of cramp that made me have to get up on several occasions to walk around to ease everything off.

It goes without saying that I knew that I was going to suffer for this during the day, and I wasn’t wrong either.

Nevertheless I managed to be up at the sound of the first alarm and after the medication I came in here to sort myself out.

One thing that I’d planned to do was to to sort out the music on the computer. I have stuff all over the place that needed tidying up and I attended to that first. That led to the rather unfortunate circumstance of renaming 13 files that I didn’t want to rename and not the one that I was trying to do.

Later on I went for a shower and then set the washing machine off on a cycle prior to going out to the shops.

trawler entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I seemed to have picked the right time to go out too because there was quite a lot of activity in the outer harbour right now.

The weather was quite nice and I actually went out without a coat. It was cloudy to the east and looked pretty dismal but with a westerly blowing the good weather towards me, I wasn’t too bothered about the clouds.

There was quite a lot of wind out there too and the yachts in the Baie de Mont St Michel weren’t half being tossed around. The trawler that was coming in to the fish processing plant was rolling about rather wildly as well and I was glad that I wasn’t out there in all of that.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was a lot calmer in the inner harbour of course. It’s well-protected from the wind and the waves.

I had the impression that the gates hadn’t been open all that long because there were one or two boats heading in, and a couple of trawlers moored at the Fish Processing Plant were now casting off ready to go out to sea.

But what’s interesting about this photograph is that Aztec Lady isn’t there at the moment. She seems to have slipped out on the tide overnight and headed off elsewhere out of the way. At the moment even as I write, according to my radar she’s just outside the harbour at St Cast le Guildo, one of the places where we slept when we were on board Spirit of Conrad.

swimming pool port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday I mentioned that the little freighters that come over from Jersey must be keeping a low profile as I haven’t hears of them coming over for a little while.

That looks as if it’s about to change. I know that Normandy Trader has the contract with a swimming pool manufacturer to take their swimming pools over to Jersey, and there are a couple down there on the quayside by the loading crane. That must mean that the arrival of Normandy Trader is expected some time fairly soon.

In town I bumped into Pierre, the owner of Spirit of Conrad, and we had a little chat. And then I headed off to the railway station to pick up my tickets for next week’s trip to Castle Anthrax. At the moment the trains are running normally so I don’t have to worry about an 04:30 start.

At LIDL I spent a little more than usual but they had no cocoa powder or frozen peas. And so I’m not going to get away with not going to LeClerc on Saturday. Mind you, it’s been several weeks since I’ve put my sooty foot in that direction so it won’t do any harm.

Coming back from LIDL was a struggle and it took me a lot longer than it normally would. I’m definitely not feeling myself right now which is just as well, because it’s a disgusting habit. It was so late when I returned that there was no point in having my fruit bread. I just made my hot chocolate and then emptied the washing machine and hung everything up to dry.

Unfortunately I also crashed out on the chair and was well away for quite a while – to such an extent that I ended up with rather a late lunch.

Fighting off another wave of sleep I carried on with sorting out the music. I’ve ended up with about 40 concerts that I can use for the radio shows without having to be inventive or imaginative. That’s quite a useful and will save me a considerable amount of work in the future, I hope.

If I can do three concerts on Monday I’ll be right up to date except for the concert that I’ll be doing for the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival and the “special” programme that I’ll be doing in respect of a CD that I found in a junk shop in Maine, USA a few years ago.

later on, despite the torrential rain, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSurprisingly there were quite a few other people out there too despite the weather.

There’s another very low tide this afternoon when the water level drops below the leased concessions so there were some folk out there with all of their equipment going for a scratch around in the sand and on the rocks to see what they can harvest.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we did an outside broadcast from the peche à pied last year, talking to the people out there scavenging and collecting recipes from them as to how to prepare their catch. There were even a couple of guys having a banquet among the rocks with fresh oysters and the like.

But despite what people say, oysters aren’t all they are cracked up to be. I had a dozen on my wedding night and only 9 of them worked.

jade 3 trawler chausiais ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’re back on the subject of NAABSA – “Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground” – fishing boats again.

Over there is a trawler (who I later identified as Jade 3 tied up to the wharf by the terminal for the ferries to the Channel Islands and the Ile de Chausey and left to sink onto the silt now that the tide is out. It still bewilders me as to why there are so many boats left out in the outer harbour rather than being tied up properly in the inner harbour.

Behind her is moored Chausias, the little freighter that runs supplies out to the Ile de Chausey. She seems to be living there at the moment, which I suppose isn’t too much of an issue seeing as the Channel Islands ferries aren’t sailing right now.

Back here I had a coffee and then started on the photos from Wyoming in August 2019 but unfortunately I crashed out yet again and missed some of my guitar practice. I’m doing no good at all right now.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice and vegetables followed by more of my delicious chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce. And fool that I am – I’d had the laptop on all day editing a rather large concert and after tea I forgot myself and switched off the laptop. I lost all of the work that I’d done and had to do it all over again which made me late for everything else.

Rosemary rang me too for a chat while I was doing it so I was rather distracted and it took me longer than it should to set it all up and prepare it ready to do again. But now that I’ve set it up, it can spend all of the night doing its stuff now though while I’m asleep (I hope).

So while that’s doing I’ve written up my notes and I’m off to bed. Much later than I wanted but it can’t be helped. There’s plenty of work to do tomorrow but at least I have all day to do it.

Part of the work was to listen to today’s dictaphone notes that somehow slipped through the net, and find out where I’d been during the night. I’d actually been to rescue Nerina. She’d been out somewhere in the beige Cortina and I finally caught up with her around Nantwich/Acton way. The lights had gone out, the headlights, so I pushed the connectors back in and they came back on but they weren’t very bright but she managed to get back going home. I mentioned to her about the time all the lights had gone out at such and such a time. She replied that she knew that she had gone out before then but “I knew that I could drive because I knew where I was. It wasn’t difficult” but I couldn’t imagine her driving all the way around Warmingham without any lights on. She was laughing about one of her friends saying “driving tests and driving regulations are all important because that’s how you pass your test” and yet her friend had followed all the rules and regulations and failed. We got near to a town that might have been Nantwich and we were talking about Hughie Green and Monica Rose, how Hughie Green used to give specific instructions to Monica so that she knew exactly what was happening, where it was happening and when it was happening and why it was happening so that everything went off really smoothly. We were confusing him with Wilfred Pickles. Just then she noticed that he was around somewhere so we thought that we’d go to see him. We walked down that way and came to one of these food caravans that we knew. I asked her if she wanted a drink. She said that she would have a pineapple, but she said it in French ananas. As she got there she went to a special machine where they had some kind of home-brewed hot drink of some description and she poured herself a big glass. I asked “get one for me as well” which she did and we could get some food in the inside and then go and have a chat with Wilfred Pickles

Wednesday 12th May 2021 – DESPITE HAVING HAD …

… something of an early night last night (although not as early as I was hoping) I didn’t have a very good day today.

Sure enough, I was up and about just after the first alarm even though I didn’t feel much like it, and after breakfast I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. Planning on taking over a couple of ships (who was?) by piracy down in the Tennessee area and that was something that hadn’t been done since the 30s. I got on board and a few others got on board and by the time we’d gone very far we were about 40 people. But then before it set sail one of the people had had a bad attack of cramp and that gave the game away as far as the munitions went. The captain immediately shouted for all hands on deck and a spirited defence, even though I could see on the radar that the other trips had been a success and the other boats had been captured. We were hard at it trying to capture this one now that we had been caught at a disadvantage.

As you can imagine, I don’t have a clue what was going on in the middle of all that.

Next task was to deal with the outstanding correspondence. There has been piles and piles of it building up since I last had a good clear-out. If you are expecting a reply from me and haven’t received it, don’t worry because I’m a long, long way from catching up. In fact I’m surprised that I did as much as I did.

One of the strangest items of correspondence was to write to the Greenwich Maritime Museum. I recently attended a virtual funeral on the internet and the assistant director of the Museum gave a speech to the assembled multitude.

Unfortunately, for reasons known only to himself, he addressed himself to the half-dozen people in the church, totally ignoring the microphone that was there. Consequently no-one watching on the internet heard a single word of what he said in his eulogy and so I was nominated to contact him and ask him for a copy in writing.

Another thing that needed doing was to contact the holder of my web server. I’ve run out of room again so I need some extra space freeing up.

And that reminds me. My web hosting isn’t cheap so if you have benefited from or appreciate the content of these pages, please make your next Amazon purchase by using the links on the side. It costs you nothing extra but I receive a small commission on sales and it goes a long way.

The re have been considerable arrears of stuff on the dictaphone that have been building up and so I’ve had a bash at all of those. All of the arrears on there have been brought up to date and you can go back now for several weeks and found out where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing during the night.

Well, not everything. I went through a spell of having some really disturbed dreams and you won’t want to know about them if it’s anywhere near your mealtime. There must be a load of things preying on my mind and I wish I knew what they were.

And I would have done a lot more had I not had another dismal crash-out for about an hour. Right out too and I’m rather fed up of all this nonsense as well. It never seems to end.

But anyway I was able to take myself off for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs you might expect, I went to have a look down on the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

And it’s not the usual viewpoint, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall. I didn’t go round the headland to day. Instead I went for my afternoon walk around the medieval city walls and so I could gaze down onto the beach from the viewpoint on the Rue du Nord.

The tide is quite far out at the moment so there is plenty of beach for people to be on, but there weren’t all that many folk down there. It was cooler and more overcast of late and the temperature had fallen. It’s no wonder that people had forsaken the outdoor life today.

bouchot beds donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were quite a few people out on the beach much further down the coast at Donville les Bains this afternoon.

With the tide being well out, the beds of bouchots were clearly exposed this afternoon. This is just a small proportion of the amount of bouchot beds that there are altogether along the coast just there. The guys who manage the beds were out there with their machinery doing some harvesting and it must be keeping them very busy when the tide is out.

There’s also a horse harnessed to a small trailer over there too. There’s a hippodrome (that’s a horse-racing course, not a place where hippopotamuses come in to land) over there too and they do these trotting races there. A few of the horses and their carts train on the beach when conditions are suitable.

drainage spouts medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLeaving the viewpoint I passed through the old gateway in the wall and passed along the path underneath the walls. No chance of going for a run (although I was tempted) because there were too many people about and I don’t want to embarrass myself.

The local council has been out and about for the last few days trimming all of the grass and they have even done the top of the cliffs beyond the parapet. And one thing that I hadn’t noticed before was the system of overflows pierced into the walls presumably for draining the water that builds up on the path.

Although that doesn’t seem to work so well judging by the number of times that the path was flooded out during the winter and I had to take the long way round.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were no obstructions along the path today though, except for the groups of people strolling around, so I was able to make my way down to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

It’s a Wednesday afternoon so the schools are out. And as the promenade down at the Plat Gousset is quite well protected from the wind, it was no surprise that there were so many people out there having a wander around to take the air.

None of the cafes seem to be open as yet so there isn’t all that much to do. It’s rumoured that they may well be open in a week or so’s time and I imagine that there will be a stampede in that direction when they finally do.

And that reminds me – I mustn’t forget my appointment at the bank next Tuesday afternoon.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will also recall that the builders’ compound across the road from where I live was dismantled last week so I wanted to go to round to the Rue St Michel to see where they had reached with the work.

On my way that way I went down the Rue St Jean where I met Minette, the old black cat. She had a stroke from me on my way past and her owner had a cheery greeting .

In the street itself, I was pretty disappointed to see the mess that they have made of the surface. I would have liked to have seen them put some cobbles down to match the rest of the streets in the medieval city but instead they have left us with this shambolic finish.

The fact that it’s not even would seem to indicate that they might be back to finish it off. Let’s hope so because this surface is pretty dismal.

street repairs venelle st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you think that what we have seen is pretty bad, then this must surely take the biscuit.

There has been a trench dug in the alley – the Venelle St Michel – at the head of the alleyway, and that now seems to have been filled in and the workmen have gone. But you can see that while this alleyway was previously nicely cobbled, they’ve just filled in the trench with almost anything to hand and just left the cobbles piled up at the side of the street.

There are probably 100 reasons why they have not finished it off correctly but one that goes through my mind is that they can no longer find the workmen qualified to do the work.

Having seen the state of the city walls and the fact that they are having to run training courses to teach people how to do pointing, it must be quite a major problem finding the right kind of qualified people around here. All the old skills are dying out.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAround the corner I find myself back on the city walls again where there’s a good view over the port and further down along the cliffs towards the chantier navale.

And we have had another change of occupant down there this afternoon too. And quite a major change too because the final boat of the batch that has been in there just recently, the little fishing boat, has now gone back into the water. The work that was being undertaken on it seems to have finished.

But as far as the port goes, there’s nothing of any interest going on in there this afternoon. Everything in there is exactly as it was yesterday. Still no sign of any of the Jersey freighters coming into town right now. I suppose that they are keeping a rather low profile too.

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut out in the Baie de Mont St Michek we have another trawler out there working away.

There were a few in the passage between the Ile de Chausey and the Pointe du Roc as well but I couldn’t photograph them easily from this end of the town. But the ones down in the Baie de Mont St Michel were easier to see. And I forgot to check the radar when I returned home to find out which boat this one was.

Back here I had a coffee and then had a go at the photographs of my trip around Wyoming in August 2019. A few more of those have now been dealt with and I’m now admiring the signatures of the early pioneers carved into the rocks of Register Cliff, some of whom subsequently became famous (or notorious) due to events that might have happened further along the Emigrant Trail that were recorded in old Pioneer diaries.

As it happens I have copies of several Pioneer diaries (albeit facsimiles), the most famous being the diary of 12 year old Virginia Reed, one of the few survivors of the tragic Donner Party that were snowed in in the Sierra Nevada in the winter of 1846-47 and ended up eating each other.

After the hour on the guitars I had tea – burger on a bap with baked potatoes and veg, followed by more of my chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce. And it really is good too. I’m pleased with this and I shall certainly make some more for another time

But not tonight. I’m off to bed. Although it’s a Bank Holiday tomorrow the shops are open so I’m off to do my usual shopping. I have no sugar and very little cocoa power and I can’t make any chocolate sauce without those.

Friday 30th April 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… slightly better day today. Not very much, but something of an improvement. Mind you, not that things could have been much worse than they were.

And they probably would have been even better had I not had several attacks of cramp during the night, a couple of which dragged me out of bed.

But anyway, I made it up and out of bed just after the first alarm again. And after the medication I listened to the dictaphone. There was some kind of TV programme during the night featuring me. It was like a festival of all my old vehicles. They had managed to collect a whole pile of old vehicles that I used to own and they were all being filmed arriving at this venue where we were supposed to be having this party. The thing that surprised me was that out of all of these old vehicles turning up, they hadn’t managed to go and get Caliburn. I was really surprised by it. I mentioned something like “it’s a shame that I don’t have a boat, isn’t it?”. They said “you do have a boat and it’s on the canal over there” and they were pointing to the canal on Henhull Bridge. I said “God, do I have a boat as well?”. There was something about me getting a boat for going over the sea. And that was one of the times when I awoke with an attack of cramp.

In between all of the wicked attacks of cramp I was visiting a girl, someone like my friend Sue, and I ended up spending the night there, separate beds. I was really tired so by the time that I got up it was quite late in the morning. I went to ‘phone my boss to tell him that I was not going to be in work that day but first of all she had to move an animal out of the bedroom with its pet snail so that I could use the ‘phone in there. But every time I tried to dial I kept on getting a wrong number. In the end I went to dial up on my mobile ‘phone. There was something about the animals she had, a cat and a mouse and a dog and I was training them to eat bits of chocolate that I used to do with my cats, giving them a bit equal and having them sit and wait until I gave the word and this was surprisingly successful. This girl had never seen anything quite like it at all. I went to ‘phone him and ask for Friday off as well and make a few days of it out here with this girl but every time I went to phone I couldn’t get through. This auto-dialler was dialling the first number that I put in that was wrong.

At that point, I went off back to sleep again, leaving the dictaphone running. And my apologies to Percy Penguin (who doesn’t feature in these pages as often as she deserves) for doubting her word when she complained that I snored in bed when I was asleep (not that I ever did too much sleeping if I was with Percy Penguin).

Transcribing that was about all that I managed to do this morning. Not even a mug of coffee was sufficient to galvanise me into action and after I’d had my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread, I actually crashed out again.

Not for as long as on the two previous days, but it may as well have been, for all the good that it did me from a working point of view.

After lunch I made something of a desultory start on editing my photos from August 2019. Doing anything is better than doing nothing, of course.

Not that I did too many but right now I’m emulating thousands of pioneers on the Trails West to Oregon and California during the Gold Rush years of the late 1840s and 1850s by “nooning” at Cottonwood Creek near modern-day Guernsey in Wyoming. It was an eerie feeling sitting there eating my sandwiches on the same spot where the Donner party had once eaten their lunch just four months before they began to eat each other.

There was the usual pause for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach near fish trap rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual I went over to the end of the car park to look over the wall down onto the beach to see who was about down there.

Just a few people walking around down there today and I’ve no idea why because the weather wasn’t unpleasant at all. There are a couple of people walking around on the beach who caught my eye. Not because of their white jackets, but because they were walking past the medieval fish trap.

You can see that it’s doing its job retaining the water that’s come in with the tide. When it was working correctly back in the olden days the water would slowly filter out leaving the fish behind. And then the fishwives would wade in and pull out the fish with their hands.

And they would probably have much more luck than the modern-day fisherman with his rod and line. Who says that modern methods are more efficient?

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance to the port, was looking very nice today.

It was the first thing that I noticed when I walked around the corner and onto the path that leads down to the car park. The tide was not yet right out so there was still plenty of water in the bay. We’ve seen HOW EMPTY THE BAY CAN BE when we are at very low tide.

For a change there weren’t too many cars on the car park. Just three, in fact, this afternoon, and none of them were of any interest. It wasn’t very busy at all so I walked off quietly down to the end of the car park and the end of the headland.

people on lower footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere may not have been anyone about on the cliffs where I’d just been walking or on the car park, but the lower footpath today was heaving with people. There was even someone making an attempt to cycle around it on a mountain bike.

Even more surprisingly, there were no fishermen today on the rocks. It’s too much to suppose that they have given it up as a bad job and gone to the fishmonger’s.

And that reminds me of the story about the mermaid who appeared on the rocks down there. Someone asked what her vital statistics were and the reply was “36 – 24 – €3:60 per kilo”.

On that note, I walked off along the path on top of the cliffs on top of the other side of the headland. I forgot to notice if there were any fishing boats out there working this afternoon.

digger with tractors and trailers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the viewpoint I could see the digger and the tractors and trailers working away at the end of the harbour wall down in the tidal harbour.

It looks as if they have finished digging away at the mountain of sand that had built up at the harbour entrance and were now digging away at a kind of trench further inside the harbour. It’s going to be interesting in a couple of days time to see what they are doing right now.

Incidentally, digging away at the mountain of sand apparently isn’t anything new. It’s a regular task that they undertake every five or so years to keep the passage free.

You can see that the tide is still a fair way up. The waste pipe that they are laying from the pleasure port is still part-submerged in water and the two white diggers haven’t made it out there as yet.

fishing boat out of water chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom this viewpoint I can see down into the chantier navale

There is no change in occupancy there today – Aztec Lady and the smaller trawler are still parked up on blocks down there and that’s your lot. But there’s something else in there too that looks as if it’s just been hauled out of the water. We can tell that by the amount of water down there behind that little fishing boat.

She’s been dropped onto the trailer by the portable boat lift and is about to be whisked away by the pick-up. That’s presumably the driver inside the cabin making the boat secure before they leave. And I was ready to leave too, and have another mug of coffee.

fishing boat grounded out port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBefore I did, I walked past the quay at the fish processing plant.

And there today we have another fishing boat left to go around on the mud as the tide goes out. That’s becoming quite a habit right now.

Back here I made myself a coffee and then carried on with my photographs, such as I was able, and despite another little relaxation for half an hour, and then I had a play on the guitars. And despite how I was feeling, I enjoyed every minute of it too. And I wished that I felt better than I do.

Tea tonight was nothing special. A burger with rice and vegetables with onion gravy followed by apple crumble with the left-over custard from yesterday.

But now I have the opportunity for an early night. After last night, I’m going to have another one of those pills that they prescribe me to have a good night’s sleep. We’ll see how this one works in the hope that I can have a better night’s sleep than I did.

Tuesday 6th April 2021 – JUST IN CASE …

trawler heading out to sea english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… you are wondering what the weather was like this afternoon when I was out for my afternoon walk, this photograph will tell you everything that you will need to know.

You can see the white caps on the waves as this trawler batters its way out to sea. Th wind from the north-east was probably about as strong as it has been for the last few weeks and despite, or maybe even because of the bright blue sky with barely a cloud visible, it was absolutely freezing out there. I was dressed in my winter clothing and I was absolutely perishing out there.

But let us turn to this morning, such as there was of it because having broken the habits of a lifetime and spent a Bank Holiday working, and with no Welsh lesson this morning, I had a lie-in instead.

And it was necessary too because it wasn’t until about 04:30 this morning that I felt myself dropping off to sleep.

Juqt for a change I’m not going to tell you what time I awoke because it’s rather embarrassing. But there was plenty of time to go off on a nocturnal ramble. So first thing after the medication was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from yesterday and today.

Yesterday’s are now on line for those of you who missed them but as for this morning I was at work in a new office somewhere. We were talking about the training and so on that we were getting. Someone was talking about how in a previous job she had to answer the phone and it had taken her 6 months to learn how the switchboard operated. I explained about my job where i worked once and just put at the switchboard and told how to work it out. They all looked astonished and asked why. I explained that in that job you just basically did everything and they wouldn’t wait a minute on saving a penny to make sure that the fewest number of people did the most amount of work there. The work drifted on, talking, and I was watching a video of some people assembling some things. They were using soldering, electric TIG welding and a few other bits and pieces to do these jobs. I was soldering mine and I wasn’t much good at it. I thought that I’d have a go at TIG welding one of these days when I had a moment. This conversation was going on and this guy looked up and saw me soldering. He said “God! Soldering! Did you do that?” I replied “soldering? That’s nothing! Just wait until I bring a plasma cutter in here!”

After that I went for lunch – porridge and toast which was very nice, followed by hot chocolate again. And then I attacked the radio programme from yesterday. Now that’s corrected and all runs together pretty well. In fact it’s even better than it was before.

The rest of the day, such as it was, was spent dealing with the photos of August 2019. I’ve dealt with the photos that I should have done yesterday and half of today’s batch. I’ll hopefully do the other half tomorrow along with tomorrow’s batch.

Right now, I’ve been to the site of the Waggon Box Fight in Story, Wyoming, and I’m now pulling up at the gates of Fort Phil Kearny, the scene of a disaster that befell the US Army that was second only to the humiliation of Little Big Horn.

There was a break for my afternoon walk of course, and I actually made it outside on time too.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing to do was to look over the wall at the end of the car park down onto the beach below and to see what there was going on.

Actually, today there wasn’t all that much beach to look down upon. The tide was quite well in just now. Nevertheless there were a few people down there sitting on the rocks. But pretty soon there will be one person less down there because someone was making for the steps that lead back up to the Rue du Nord. He’s clearly had enough of the weather this afternoon.

And it won’t be long before the other people join him in climbing up to the street because the tide will be there in a very short space of time and they will need to make good their escape.

jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite the bitter, wild wind this afternoon the views out to sea were terrific.

Away in the distance we could see the island of Jersey quite clearly. And it’s been a good few weeks since we’ve seen that. It wasn’t so clear that we could see the buildings of St Helier, something that we can do every now and again. We’ll need a better day than this in order to do that.

Once more, there were very few people around this afternoon on the path so I made my way quite freely along the top of the cliffs without anyone else getting in my way – quite a novelty for just recently.

trawler le coelacanthe english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was going about my business along the path on top of the cliffs, around the corner of the headland another trawler came a-chugging.

From my viewpoint I could see that it was one of he trawlers whom we know very well, and on enlarging the photo when I returned home later I discovered that it’s our old friend Le Coelacanthe

In fact there were several trawlers heading out to sea today, not just the two that we have seen so far. It seems that the Easter break is now over and with the ink now dry on the agreement to prolong access to the Channel Islands fisheries for the local boats, they are all heading out that way to take advantage of the situation.

man sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound on the other side of the headland we were in the shadow of the wind so it was reasonably warn there. This gave one or two people the opportunity to sit down on a bench and admire the view.

Not that there was very much of a view to admire right now because all of the trawlers that had set out from port had passed the headland and were now well out at sea, hidden from view by the headland. There wasn’t anything else going on in the bay and while the Brittany coast and Cancale might look really nice, it’s not exactly riveting over there.

To such an extent that I pushed off along the headland path towards the viewpoint over the port.

anakena hermes 1 lys noir notre dame de cap lihou aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint I had a good look down to the chantier navale to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

And we have a change in occupancy down there today.Hermes I, which I suspected was being prepared to go back into the water is still there up on her blocks along with Anakena, Lys Noir and Aztec Lady but they have now been joined by Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, the local lifeboat.

While I was watching her they were revving up her engine and two guys down there were observing the smoke that was coming out of her exhaust. Another couple of men were spraying her hull with a pressure washer while a couple more were examining a part of her superstructure.

So what’s the matter with her then?

crane ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was even more activity going on over at the ferry port.

Chausiais is over there right up at the end of the quay but there are none of the Joly France boats were there. However the red crane is partially extended so it must be doing something interesting.

Just for a change just recently I wasn’t overflown by any aeroplanes this afternoon. I was able to come home quite tranquilly for my hot coffee and to carry on my work editing the photographs.

That took me up to guitar time where I had an enjoyable time working out the chords to Led Zeppelin’s “The Battle of Evermore”. Of course I don’t have Sandy Denny here to help me, but this would be just the kind of thing that Castor would be able to do were she here.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice followed by a slice of my jam roly-poly and soya coconut dessert. And I’ll tell you something, and that is that the roly-poly is cooked to perfection and it tasted absolutely delicious. That was a good idea for dessert, that was.

Now that my notes are written, I’m off to bed. The alarm is set for the morning and I’m due to restart work properly so I need to have a really good sleep and be on top form.

That’s not going to be easy because if I can crash out like I did today after all of this sleep and a late start to the day, I can certainly do that with a 06:00 start, can’t I?

Sunday 4th April 2021 – THIS IS …

crowds place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the kind of thing that is annoying me right now, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Hordes of people milling around on the car park outside my apartment building, masks and social distancing optional of course. I really don’t understand it.

What I don’t understand even more is that with France supposed to be closing down in quarantine as of midnight last night, the SNCF ran a pile of extra trains on Friday and Saturday to bring all of the holidaymakers and second home-owners down to the coast. And that surely defeats the whole point of the quarantine and people staying where they live.

Now of course, they are going to be spreading the virus about like wildfire. No wonder the Government can’t bring it under control.

This morning, I was spending much of the time trying to bring my cramp under control. I was hit by a particularly bad attack or two during the night.

And by 07:40 I was wide awake, but no chance of me leaving my bed at that time of the morning. 10:00 is much more like it these days when I’m having a Day of Rest.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’ve been during the night. I was in Eastern Europe somewhere having a bad attack of cramps. In the middle of all of these I got up to go for a walk around. I ended up in a cafe. It was pretty late, about 04:00 in the morning and I was sitting there trying to ease off these cramps. I went into the toilets to take out my thermos flask and pour myself a coffee. There were these guys hanging around there. One of them opened the door and invited me to come in. I said “no thanks. I’m just going to get my coffee”. I put my coffee mug on the side there and went to pour my coffee out of the flask but this guy just went and sat on the table thing and knocked my coffee mug everywhere. I thought “this is a waste of time” and went back into the café part and sat down. The waiter came over and said something basically along the lines of “you can’t drink your own stuff in here” so I said “I’d better have a coffee the. You can fetch me a coffee”. There was then a dispute about where I could sit. The table I had chosen was for residents only and the waiter saying “I’m only serving this part. I’m not serving the rest of the café”. He and the manager then had a dispute about that. In the end I asked “can I sit here or can’t I?”.

At that point I had another bad attack of cramp that awoke me and meant I had to get up and walk around a little.

Later on I had another really bad attack of cramp and ended up walking around the apartment for 10 minutes to get it to ease off but some time during the night I was asleep. I remember vaguely something about 4 old Lambretta scooters, pale yellow with the 2 individual seats, being parked up each in one corner of a yard somewhere. What that was about I really have no idea but that was what was going through my head. One parked in each corner with the rear wheel parked in the apex and the front wheel pointing in towards the centre.

Later still there was a funeral taking place in the family and I ended up discussing all of the arrangements with one of my sisters. We were getting things ready and I had a load of frozen vegetables that I was trying to make something with. We talked about asparagus and I had some jars of asparagus tips (which I actually do) so I went over to her and said “how about we have these with garlic butter to dip in”? She said “it all depends if they are very small and how many other people would be coming”. My brother turned up as well and he joined in the conversation. I had another thought about the food that I wanted to mention to her as well but when it came to tell her I couldn’t think of it. It slipped right out of my head. Of course that was rather embarrassing. The discussion continued and she said “you know that you are going to be a great uncle again. There’s a new girl being born to one of her kids in the family. I said “no” and I turned to my brother and said “you remember that little girl that I used to bounce up and down on my knee a few years ago? She’s having a baby in May – at 14”!

There was more to it than this too but as you are probably eating your meal right now, I’ll spare you the gory details.

Part of what was left of today I spent working on the photographs from August 2019. I’m still on my way to Fort Phil Kearny but actually at the moment I’m at a wayside fuel station and café at a place called Spotted Horse in Northern Wyoming where I’m admiring some abandoned vehicles.

Half an hour earlier I’d passed through the small town of Recluse. It is something of a ghost town with a population of 7, and every one of them came out to watch me as I drove through. It was like a scene from THE SHINING.

There was a break for lunch of course. Porridge and a couple of toasted hot cross buns, all of which went down a treat. These hot cross buns are delicious.

After lunch I made a start on the baking for the next week. I made a pile of dough for some pizza bases for the next few weeks and also half a load of dough because for pudding next week I fancy some more of that jam roly-poly that I made a few weeks ago.

While I was at it, I had a drink of my home-made ginger beer which was absolutely delicious, and I also fed the sourdough and the ginger beer mother solution.

Leaving the two lots of dough to fester, I headed off for my afternoon walk around the headland, a few minutes later than usual.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown on the beach there were plenty of people wandering around in the afternoon. Some of them were picnicking down there on the rocks too.

It was a really nice afternoon today and it would have been even better had the wind dropped because it was yet another day when we were being beaten about by a mini-gale. And aren’t I fed up of those this last few months.

Regardless of the weather though, there weren’t any people actually in the water. The weather wasn’t anything like as nice as that, although regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen plenty of people in the water just recently despite the wintry conditions.

girl painting people playing boules or petanque place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I set off along the path. But as I passed by, my attention was drawn to this rather large group of people.

Sitting on the wall on the top of the cliff was a girl in a purple anorak. She was either sketching or painting the scene in front of her – I couldn’t quite see exactly what it was.

As for the men, they were playing either boules or petanque, I couldn’t see what. But as you can see, face masks are completely optional, as is social distancing. This is the kind of behaviour that is spreading the disease like wildfire and I wonder how many people are going to have to be infected or die before they finally get the message.

My route continued along the top of the cliffs on my way to the end of the headland. And near the end of the path I was accosted by four guys on bikes who asked me to take their group photograph on the top overlooking the sea.

That’s not a problem for me, as long as it makes people happy.

floating object pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days ago I mentioned that I had seen something like a plastic 25-litre oil drum bobbing up and down offshore at the Pointe du Roc.

hen I was down at the end of the headland today, there was the object bobbing up and down again. It certainly wasn’t there yesterday or any other day except for the day when I mentioned it. And so I’ve concluded that it’s been brought there specifically and it must obviously be tethered to stop it floating away.

It must therefore probably be a marker for a lobster pot, even if it is of a very ambiguous colour and very close to the foot of the cliffs. And that is a little surprising for me. I’m have expected the marker buoy to be a bright yellow or orange or something so that people could see it easily and steer clear.

speedboat le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s a speedboat roaring past le Loup out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Surprisingly, despite the beautiful sunny weather and the fact that it’s a Bank Holiday Sunday, there was almost nothing whatever going on out at sea. Apart from this speedboat and another one that was following it across from the Ile de Chausey where this one had apparently come from, there was nothing else whatever out there on the sea anywhere that I could see.

What I was expecting to see were hordes of yachts and other water traffic out there this afternoon. The tide was well up this afternoon as we have already seen, and there wouldn’t be any other reason to prevent all of the pleasure boats putting out to sea.

chausiais ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, there must be at least one boat out at sea somewhere this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiais and one of the two Joly France ferry boats that run the ferry service over to the Ile de Chausey moored up over there at the ferry terminal.

Today though, the Joly France boat has gone and there’s only Chausiais. Joly France must be taking a load of tourists out to spread the disease amongst all of the local inhabitants of the island which will go down really well seeing as there is no medical service over there

And if you look in the harbour, you’ll see the mooring boys bobbing up and down and with the sea being so clear, you can see the mooring chains to which they are attached. It’s a few more of those that they will be adding in the harbour when the diggers come back and they finally get round to carry on with the work.

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner F-HRBD baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, as I walk along the footpath on top of the cliffs on the south side of the headland I’m being overflown by a pretty big aeroplane coming from the east.

She’s actually a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner registration number F-HRBD registered to Air France. She’s flying over my head at a height of 34,000 on her way to Bogota in Columbia with Flight code AF428 /AFR428 , having taken off from Paris Charles de Gaulle about half an hour previously. She is currently on bearing 261°

Surprisingly, there was nothing else happening anywhere else in the harbour so I turned my attention to heading off home. There was all of my dough busily festering away and awaiting my attention when I return.

Airbus A320-251N G-UZHB english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t make it all the way back home straight away as I was overflown by yet another large aircraft heading north-eastwards.

Playing about with my image-editing software I managed to make out that she is in Easyjet livery and that means that she must be Flight Code U22036/EZY48ZM, having taken off at 12:15 from Tenerife on her way to Luton Airport.

She’s an Airbus A320-251N, registration G-UZHB and she’s going past me at a height of 38,025 feet.

When she’d gone out of range I went inside to make myself a drink and to attack the dough. I rolled out the dough for the roly-poly, coated it with a thick layer of strawberry jam and rolled it.

With the pizza dough, I split it into 3, rolled two in oil, wrapped them in baking paper, put them in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer. The third part I rolled out and put it into the pizza tray that I had greased, and folded the edges back in.

For the next hour or so I carried on with the photos and then I went back into the kitchen.

With the oven on and heating up, I cut the roly-poly into 2 and put the parts onto a greased baking tray. Then I bunged the baking tray into the oven when it was hot.

Meantime I prepared the pizza and when the roly-poly was cooked I put the pizza in and let that cook away for the next half an hour or so while I did the mountain of washing up that had accumulated. You’ve no idea how much washing up I can accumulate when I’m baking.

vegan pizza jam roly poly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the pizza was cooked I attacked it with gusto. And it was really delicious too. But as for the roly-poly, I’ll have to tell you all tomorrow what that was like because the pizza was quite filling and I had no room left for pudding.

Now, I’ve written up my notes and I’m ready for bed. I’ve not had a hard day by any means but I’m still pretty tired. I’ve no plans for an alarm tomorrow seeing as it’s a Bank Holiday so I’m going to have a lie-in, if the cramp lets me.

Maybe I’ll feel better if I have had a couple of decent lie-ins. I Can certainly do with a couple, and I’ll fit the radio work around the rest of the day, breaking the habits of a lifetime for once.

Saturday 3rd April 2021 – HAVING HAD …

… a rather late night last night, I’ve had rather a hard day today.

Despite all of that I was still able to stagger to my feet at the first alarm and take my medication. And then after that I dashed off another batch of photos from August 2019 and my trip around North-Eastern USA.

By the time I finished I was crossing over the Powder River and approaching the border between Montana and Wyoming on my way to Fort Phil Kearny, the scene of probably the greatest defeat of US forces prior to the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

A shower followed that and I set the washing machine off on a cycle (pretty clever, my washing machine) and I set off for the shops with Caliburn. And as I slammed the door the rattle and tinkle inside told me that the handle mechanism has disintegrated.

Now I’m having to scramble out of the passenger door until I can take the interior padding off the door and find out what’s happened.

old cars alpine renault noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut never mind that at the moment – let’s admire what I found parked up outside NOZ this morning.

It’s been quite a while a while since we’ve featured an old car on these pages, so here’s one to be going on with for now. It’s an Alpine Renault and by the look of the rear spoiler it’s an A310 fitted with the 2664 cc V6 PRV engine. The alloy wheels would date it from the late 70s.

The earlier models were fitted with the old Renault 1605 cc or 1647cc 4-cylinder in-line engine but it was woefully underpowered. The new engines made them go like stink but they had a great deal of trouble keeping the back end on the road – hence the rear spoiler.

old cars alpine renault noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was France’s answer to the baby Lotuses and German Porsche 911s but never really caught on. Its rather unusual rear engine and front wheel drive didn’t endear it to the public.

All in all there were about 9,000 examples of the V6 model sold, most of them sold in France. And the small numbers of sales and 40 years since the last one was manufactured make it quite surprising to actually see one still on the road in a place like this.

Now that I’ve taken my photos of the car I went off into NOZ to do my shopping. And it was rather a disappointment in there because there was nothing of any interest in there. All I came away with was a couple of cartons of that smoothie stuff. No Banana this time, just strawberry, but that’s nice too.

Having parked up in LeClerc I went across the road to Intersport where I bought another roll-up rain jacket like the one that I lost somewhere in Canada (a different one and a different place to the one that I left in a Hotel in Calgary).

Now that the weather is warming up I won’t be wearing my winter coat to Leuven. But I’ll still need something light, comfortable and durable to roll up in the backpack in case it rains.

Leclerc came up with nothing whatever of any interest so I bought the minimum that I need and then I drove on home.

But talking of driving, with France going in to a tighter lockdown tonight, the roads into Granville were in gridlock with Parisians fleeing to the coast to escape the lockdown, bringing the virus with them and infecting all of us. Going to the shops was difficult – going home was a nightmare.

Armed with my hot chocolate and slice of sourdough fruit-bread, I came back in here and ended up having a lengthy chat with Liz on the internet.

After lunch I sat down to start on the arrears of my Central European trip but unfortunately crashed out completely and definitely for a good hour or an hour and a half. This meant a rather late walk around the headland.

bathers coming out of water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLooking down over the wall at the end of the car park down onto the beach, I was rather surprised to see a group of people running out of the sea.

Whilst I hadn’t actually seen them in the water I had no doubt whatsoever that they had been in there. And even if I hadn’t been as nesh as I am you wouldn’t have caught me being in the water today. Despite the sun, there was a howling gale blowing and it was freezing. I was dressed for an Arctic winter and I was still cold.

Despite the cold, there were hordes of people prowling around outside. Most of them tourists, I imagine, come over here from other parts of France. The car park for mobile homes was absolutely full and there were vehicles turning up and turning away, disappointed.

f-gbai Robin DR.400-108 Dauphin 80 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking along the path on top of the cliffs, I was overflown by an aeroplane flying in the other direction towards the airport at Donville les Bains.

This aeroplane is F-GBAI, another one of the Robin DR 400s of which we have seen plenty around here. This one is a model 108 Dauphin 80, construction number 1289 and is owned by the Aero Club de Granville. She took off from Granville at 11:11 this morning for an unknown destination.

She took off again from Avranches Le Val Saint-Pere Airport at 16:09 and landed back at Granville Airport at 16:25. That flight corresponds with the time that I saw her.

There was nothing at all going on out at sea that I could see. Not one single boat, so I headed off across the lawn and the car park.

bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the reinforcing in the concrete on the roof of one of the old bunkers here at the Pointe du Roc.

This is the actual bunker concerned. Unfortunately the entrance has all been filled in so it’s not possible to go inside it. But I was interested to see the round aperture just to the left of centre in this photo. It’s actually, would you believe, a periscope so that the people in there could have a good look around without exposing themselves to enemy fire.

And I was right about the tourists. Just looking at the number plates on the cars I could see reference to départements from all over France. It seems that so very few people here care whether they spread the virus around or not and that’s a real disappointment.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I would have had the army out patrolling the roads and preventing so much movement a long time before this.

With nothing at all going on out at sea I walked around the path on the other side to see what was going on in the port.

chausiais joly france ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver at the ferry port we have not only Chausiais but one of the Joly France boats that provides the ferry service out to the Ile de Chausey.

It’s no real surprise to see them over there at the terminal today. With all of the tourists appearing in the town today I would imagine that there are many who will be travelling out to the island today, some of whom will be staying for quite a while.

That would mean that not only will there be plenty of passengers wanting to travel out there as soon as time permits, there will be a lot of freight, like food for example, going out there too and for that they’ll need the services of Chausiais to ship it all out there.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut what doesn’t seem to be going out today are the fishing boats.

There are so many in the inner harbour that they are even having to tie themselves up in the loading bay underneath the crane. It’s a surprise because despite the wind the sea isn’t all that rough and it’s a bright sunny day, just the right kind of day to be out there hauling in the nets or the dredges.

It’s even more of a surprise too when we hear that the temporary agreement made a few weeks ago between the fishermen of Normandy, Brittany and the Channel Islands has been renewed for another short while, and also when there are so many tourists in the town who might be interested in trying some of the local produce.

Having seen or there was to see outside I came back in for my hot coffee and to carry on with my work until it was time to knock off for tea. Taco rolls with the rest of the stuffing from Thursday and followed by the last of the apple crumble with the remains of yesterday’s custard. Thoroughly delicious.

Bedtime now, and a nice lie-in because it’s Sunday. And with it being Easter, more hot cross buns for breakfast. I’m looking forward to that, I can tell you. And then I’m having a baking day, seeing as I’ve run out of pizza dough. I need to sort that out.

Friday 2nd April 2021 – IT’S BANK HOLIDAY …

… today. Good Friday – the day that follows Maundy Thursday, which presumably follows Sheffield Wednesday. And so I had a lie-in and didn’t surface until about 10:30.

Mind you, I didn’t go to bed until 02:30 this morning. And that wasn’t a wasted time either because I spent the couple of hours when I couldn’t sleep working on today’s batch of photograph and probably did about 20 of them too before I went to bed.

Plenty of time for me to go off on one of my travels. Abd hello, Rhys. It’s been a while since you’ve been on a nocturnal voyage with me. I was on a holiday with a group of people and part of this holiday involved a train trip across the USA. There was the opportunity to step out from this train ride for 24 hours and catch the train the following day so I made arrangements to meet Rhys. The train pulled into the station and I climbed out. A couple of other people climbed out as well and went their separate ways. I was waiting because I couldn’t see Rhys’s car. In the meantime I had my rucksack and everything so I took a photograph of the train. Then I noticed Rhys sitting in the bar with a pint of beer in front of him. We said “hello” and he got up to go. I said “no, we don’t have to go – get your drink, drink your beer”. he replied that it wasn’t his beer but the beer of a friend of his. He’d bought it though. Anyway so we came out and started to get my stuff. I had the idea that I would follow him in Caliburn because for some reason Caliburn was there. Then I thought that I didn’t have the insurance on Caliburn so it probably wasn’t a very good idea. We got my stuff and threw it into Rhys’s car. He asked “are you staying the night with us?”. I replied “I don’t have any plans at all” which was quite true. The train was a steamer and had a huge load of freight, oil tankers, that kind of thing on the front of it before you reached the passenger accommodation which was at the rear of the train.

After I’d had my medication I came in here and transcribed the dictaphone notes and then finished off today’s photographs. There was a break for breakfast of course.

With it being Easter I’d dragged out a pack of frozen Hot Cross Buns from the freezer. They’ll keep me going for the Easter period. After all, Easter isn’t Easter without Hot Cross Buns. A big thank you to Liz and Terry for bringing them to me from the UK at Christmas.

When I’d finished the photos I had to go back again and amend some of them. For some reason that I have yet to understand, I never synchronised the times on the two cameras that I was using.

With being in the car now, I’m using the NIKON 1 J5 much more than I did before while I was in the Arctic and there’s a one-hour difference between the time on that camera and on the big NIKON D500.

What’s happening is that I’m editing a batch of photos on one camera and suddenly discovering that I’ve missed a batch off the other, so I have to go back and do some renumbering in order to keep everything in sequence.

But anyway, now they are in proper order to date, I’m now heading down a dirt-track road near the border between Montana and Wyoming looking for the site of the Battle (if you can call it that) of Powder River in 1876.

After that I started again on the arrears of my Central European trip last year. By the time that I knocked off there are just another 12 photos for which I need to write the text, and then it’s all done and I can turn my attention to the trip on Spirit of Conrad down the Brittany coast.

There was a break of course while I went off on my afternoon walk around the headland.

man on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis particular guy down there on the beach is very well camouflaged and it’s difficult to pick him out amongst the rocks down there.

But I don’t blame him at all for being wrapped up like that because while the sun was bright and there were very few clouds, we were back with the wicked wind again and the temperature must have dropped 15 degrees since yesterday. There weren’t any people out there sunning themselves on the beach and I wasn’t surprised at all about that.

It might be a Bank Holiday in the UK but it isn’t in France so the schools are still in and there weren’t all that many people wandering around. I had the path on top of the cliffs pretty much to myself this afternoon as I wandered along.

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut while there weren’t so many people walking around on the ground, there was a lot of activity going on in the air.

As I was walking along the path I heard a very familiar noise in the air and, sure enough, a minute or two later an autogyro flew past overhead. I was expecting it to be our old friend the yellow one but in fact it’s one that I’ve never seen before – a bright red one. A different one, unless it’s the yellow one that’s been repainted.

She’s probably on her way to the airport at the back of Donville les Bains, although I’ve no idea where it is that she will have come from. She never seems to file a flight plan and flies so low that she’s underneath the radar.

concrete reinforcement bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAcross the lawn I went, via a different route today that took me across the ruins of a bunker that housed 15 German soldiers during World War II.

What caught my eye was the wire meshing in the roof that reinforced the concrete that they had poured for the roof. It’s a good heavy duty stuff probably about 10mm in diameter and would withstand most things when set in concrete.

The construction of the Atlantic Wall was supposed to be Hitler’s great secret but what he didn’t realise was that he was betrayed by this even right at the very beginning. The company that had the contract for supplying the concrete was a Belgian company that was run by a guy who was actually a Secret Agent for the Russians, so he told the Russians and they told the British.

Of course the British never let on that they knew, because to admit that the Communists had helped them would have been a terrible thing to do, and it wasn’t until the British wartime papers were released in 1994 that the world knew about it.

f-hgsm Robin DR400 160 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs if the autogyro wasn’t enough, while I was there standing on the roof of the bunker an aeroplane flew past overhead.

This one is F-HGSM, Robin Dr400-160. She is owned by the Aero Club Des Grèves de Mont St Michel and took off from Rennes Airport at 11:49 this morning. She disappeared off the flight radar when she was half-way along the route to Granville so I imagine that she’s been doing a little bit of low-flying exercises as well.

Having photographed the plane I walked down to the end of the headland to see what was going on out in the bay. But the answer to that was “nothing at all” so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs down towards the viewpoint overlooking the port.

lorry load of chains unloaded by pallet lifter rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere was something extremely interesting.

There was a lorry parked down there with a pile of chains in the back. And there was this pallet-lifter nearby, and another small pile of chains on the ground at the back of the lorry. It looks as if the new mooring chains for the harbour have arrived at last and the pallet-lifter is taking them out of the back of the lorry.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw at least one of the diggers being taken away by a lorry. Today, it seems that both of them have gone now. I wonder if they will be back after the Easter Holiday.

joly france victor hugo fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe diggers might have gone from the harbour but most of the fishing boats are still here, tied up at the pontoons.

Now idea why they weren’t out working today. There was plenty of wind but the seas weren’t all that rugh so I would have expected them to have been out working.

The two Channel Island ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville are still in there tied up. They won’t be going anywhere for a good while yet, and not at all if the Channel Islanders refuse to put their hands in their pockets and contribute towards the subsidy to keep the ferries running.

And one of the Joly France boats is over there too. There must be nothing going on at the Ile de Chausey either.

Back here there was football on the internet. A really important match in the Welsh Premier League between Penybont and Haverfordwest County. This is the last weekend in the first half of the season. The League splits into 2 after this weekend – the top 6 compete for the four European places and the bottom 6 compete to avoid the two relegation places.

These two clubs were 6th and 7th in the league and whoever won would go into the top half and whoever lost would be in the bottom 6. From the kick-off it was quite clear that Penybont would win this – barring accidents of course. They were fitter, keener, much more organised and played the ball around between themselves with much more skill and confidence.

And I was right too. The final score of 2-0 to Penybont was exactly what I would have expected from the play. The only surprise was that Penybont were as low in the table as 6th because they looked much better than that today.

While I was eating my tea – more of those soya nuggets – I was at a party. My friend Esi was having a Zoom party and I’d been invited. It was nice to see her, even if it was via the computer, because we haven’t met since Christmas.

And while I was washing up, I dropped and broke a storage jar. I’m not having much luck with that.

So now I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow at Noz and Leclerc so I need to be on form. I won’t be having another lie in until Sunday and Monday. Can I survive until then?

Tuesday 26th May 2020 – WE’RE BACK TO NORMAL …

mcdonalds rubbish rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hall … again, aren’t we?

For eight glorious weeks the planet has been in lockdown, the earth has breathed again and all was right in the world. But the gates are opened for about a week or so and already the humans are back to their disgusting habits.

It’s as if this last eight weeks has taught them nothing at all and it’s totally shameful.

For eight weeks there’s hardly been a paper out of place and the whole area has looked so nice. And now this!

I despair.

As for me, I managed to beat the third alarm to my feet, which is always good news. it was “only just” – but that’s enough for me right now.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone. At first there was a army unit. There had been a unit of a sergeant and a few other people. They were getting rather tired of the war and had been doing things rather independently. One evening they’d come back to us in their tractor. They had a load of their supplies and they were just arranging them in a pretty formation, using them as wickets. There was some talk of distributing them among the poor. While this was going on there happened to be a general inspection and all the generals were there with this old tractor chugging past and they wondered what on earth he was doing. He was setting out all of these things. We expected there to be some kind of argument or discussion but the general went over to look at it and started to make suggestions about the best way to deploy his field to defend against it. It looked very much as if instead of having a huge argument about this old sergeant we were just going to have a peaceful game of cricket. A few people inside were telling all of their stories and there was one guy who was moaning away that he’d only qualified for 8 weeks and he’d spent 4 of those weeks in the army. We asked him what he was and he had qualified as a doctor so he said but he had come in as a private. Then people started clamouring for me to tell them my story
Somewhat later during the night we were doing something out on an island somewhere. One of the boats that was doing the connection between the mainland and the island was this yacht run by this woman. She was a bit domineering and bossy, and it wasn’t very pleasant having to work anywhere where she was in control. Anyway, at the end of the period we all left. A year or so later I came back to do something and found that the woman and the boat were still here. For some unknown reason I had a different opinion of her by then – maybe she wasn’t as bad as she was made out to be and we were probably as much to blame about things. I was interested to get to see her and talk to her and that took a lot of doing.

After breakfast I tidied up in the living room and the kitchen to get the place looking tidy (that’s the one thing about video-conferencing – I have to make the place look nice), reviewed last week’s Welsh notes, and then swatted up on the notes for this lesson.

And you’ve no idea how quickly time goes when you’re trying to concentrate like this. I had to dash the last page or two, and then I couldn’t find the invitation to the chat.

But eventually I was sorted out and we had our two-hour lesson. And we’re getting quite good at it. However we’re going at a cracking pace so heaven alone knows what it will be like when our 10-week course finishes. Fluent but totally exhausted, I reckon.

For lunch I attacked my loaf and now there’s just an end that’s left. So tomorrow morning I’m going to have to make another loaf. This will be version 4 and I wonder if this will be any improvement on the previous three. We’ve seen improvement week on week so here’s hoping.

This afternoon I attacked the radio project and by the time I came to knock off I’d written the text, dictated it and edited it. Tomorrow morning after my baking, I’ll join everything up.

marker buoy english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual break mid-afternoon to go for a walk around the headland. And in the sun and the wind too.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on many occasions we’ve seen marker flags and buoys bobbing up and down in the sea just off the coast. There’s another one out there today in the English Channel.

One of these days I’ll work out what they are for. I reckon that it’s something to do with fishing equipment, but I would have expected them to be painted in a bright colour that’s easily seen rather than black that no-one can see so easily.

sunlight reflecting off a window brittany coast trawler granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen I was in Wyoming last July following the traces of the battles between the US armed farces and the native Americans, I was intrigued to read a report to say that in the clear conditions of the Plains of Wyoming the flash of a heliograph signal could be seen 50 miles away.

Once or twice I saw some decent reflections out there, but this one here today over on the Brittany coast was even more interesting. That’s about 20-25 miles away, which may well be only half the distance, but it’s from a window I reckon, not from a pre-focused mirror.

And regular readers of this rubbish who have followed this stuff for years will recall that when we were at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on the Outer banks of North Carolina and one or two other lighthouses out there, we had a very interesting discussion about pre-focused Fresnel lenses.

So with the right equipment, imagine the distance that the flash of a heliograph would travel across here. From hill to hill of course, otherwise you’ll be confounded by the curvature of the earth.

ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t just the flashes from the Brittany coast that were looking impressive today either.

In all the time that i’ve lived here I don’t think that I’ve ever seen the Ile De Chausey looking so clear at this distance. It’s 20-odd kms away over there.

And the yacht in the long distance has come out surprisingly clear too. That was quite impressive too.

giant cranes rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk carried me on around the headland and back down the south side of the headland.

No change in the chantier navale – still the same four boats in there – but there seems to be an incredible amount of activity down in the rue du Port with the two giant cranes at full stretch across the harbour.

It’s not easy to see what they are trying to do, so I’ll have to creep up quietly a little closer to see if I can have a better view.

giant cranes rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThis is better. I can see what they are doing from here.

And it’s as I suspected. They are putting in the finishing touches to the floating pontoon that they have built out from the rue du Port. I was wondering when they were going to finish that.

But it really is depressing. This is costing them a fortune all of this equipment. But a couple of years ago they had the harbour drained for a couple of weeks. They could have done all of this then at a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the time with working on what was effectively dry land.

Back here I carried on with my radio project and then had a play on the guitar as usual.

But I missed out on my session on the bass, and for a very good reason too. I’d been playing the chords to U2’s “One Tree Hill” and was interested in trying to fathom out the fiddly bits in it. And after a few minutes, it hit me as to what they were.

And it’s simple – the lower four notes of the G chord and the upper 4 notes of the C chord and the D chord. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But you try playing it at the speed that they play it when you’ve never done it before.

So I spent all of my hour trying to master t and at the end of my hour there is just one interchange that I cannot get tight no matter how hard I try.

But then when I started to teach myself the 6-strin guitar back in late August I couldn’t play bar chords and that was a great disappointment too. So I’ll just keep on persevering.

Tea was an old “anything curry” out of the freezer with rice and veg.

There should have been a dessert made today but if I’m baking bread tomorrow the oven will be on so I’ll make an apple pie as well. I’ll be brave and use the last of the pastry rolls in the fridge. So for dessert I had a go at making a rice pudding in the microwave. However that was a disappointment and I shan’t be doing that again

The high winds had calmed down this evening so it was very pleasant outside.

The first run up the hill was the same old struggle as usual and it isn’t getting any better with time. I remember when I started back running when I went to live in Belgium. After a couple of weeks I could run miles and miles with no problem. But then again that was when I was healthy and it was 25 years ago of course.

trawlers baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallMy run took me across the lawn down to the clifftop and then I walked across the lawn to the other side through the crowds.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that just recently we’ve been seeing whole fleets of fishing boats down in the Baie de Mont St Michel far deeper than we have seen them before.

And again today, there was probably seven or eight of them down there working.

At the fish processing plant there were four large refrigerated lorries so they must be anticipating a large catch today. And I’m just wondering how long they are going to keep on exploiting the harvest out there.

fishing from pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallIt’s not just from boats in the Baie de Mont St Michel that they are fishing.

In the beautiful evening sunshine we had someone perched on a rock with a rod and line. The other day we saw the seagulls on there waiting for the tide to go out, and here’s someone taking full advantage of the tide being in.

For my part, I took advantage of the fact that what wind there was was now blowing from behind me so I took to my heels down along the clifftop

trawlers port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd I was right about the anticipation of a really good catch today, by the look of things.

The fishing boats were queueing up to unload at the quay. We had one boat reversing away and another one pulling into its place and we ended up with a fascinating nautical danse macabre as they maoeuvred around each other.

So, with no shipwrecks and nobody drowndin’, I headed off for the next part of my run down the Boulevard Vaufleury.

yacht baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut here was something totally magnificent heaving into view while I was stopped for a pause for breath.

It’s probably the most magnificent yacht that I have seen for quite a while. I’ve no idea where it came from because I hadn’t seen it out at sea earlier. It took me quite by surprise.

There was nothing much going on at the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord so I didn’t hang about, and ran on home instead to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I’m going to be busy because there is so much that needs catching up and I really don’t know how I’m going to find the time to do it all.

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.