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About kenw

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  • Birthday 15/05/1950

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  1. You must be choke-ing, mon petit choux.
  2. Would you allow Keolis daft names in Scrabble? Mrs W vetoed Twisto a long time ago, but I might try Irrigo if feeling brave.
  3. Edeis is an interesting business, or should I say collection of businesses. AIUI they began life as an infrastructure business, and from there to design and build, and thence design-build-operate. That gave them the knowledge base to move into what call operate-maintain-develop and improve. (A bit like Caen's tram and bus operation – although in this case the starting point was the existing Keolis operation, complete with strange Twisto branding.) Hard info from the Mallouines is still a bit thin on the ground, but I suspect that the Edeis contract will follow this three-part model: Run the existing port operations Beef-up the maintenance Develop and manage enhancements [although possibly in a role more akin to client than "main contractor" – if only for the sake of transparency] HTH Ken
  4. Thanks, Colin I'd heard that the Chambre had lost the port concession, so we will have to wait and see what changes if any are brought in by Edeis, about whom, so far I'm afraid I'm a total knownowt. Other than a passing comment from someone in the tourist trade saying they were "expecting improvements" in facilities next year. I will do a bit of digging.
  5. Thanks for all the additional info – I should have consulted the port website at the start. AIUI from my yachtie chums, the work at St Malo was described as "detailed investigations" required for "future installations intended to serve fishing, pleasure and passenger vessels including fuel supply and loading." I think that's a third-party trans[liter]ation of some kind of official notice - judging by the formatting the source was a copy and paste from an email. The yacht folk had planned to have a few days based in St Malo but the noise of the work was intrusive. So they moved to Granville. [It was a training exercise, no guests on board, so they were free to go as they pleased.]
  6. Some more info on the future for Ouistreham. Those with a keen interest in the port will know that the area opposite the ferry berth is to be redeveloped as a maintenance site for a proposed wind farm off the coast at Courseulles. https://actu.fr/normandie/ouistreham_14488/eoliennes-offshore-sur-cote-nacre-enfin-debut-travaux-ouistreham_29273546.html To summarise: Three hectares [7.4 acres] is being reclaimed from the sea, and work enlarging the strip northeast of the locks [opposite the BF berth] is already under way. Hervé Morin, President of the Normandy Region says the rockfill will begin on 20 November next and should be completed in March. "Once the rock is placed and the work is advanced, we'll have to wait for it to settle a little, so we must give time time to do its work." EDF's maintenance operation should get under way in 2021/2022 with installation of the wind turbines in 2023. Other works will allowing the port to accommodate larger vessels (up to 27.4 m wide instead of 24 m currently), and there will be 30 to 40 lay-by waiting spaces for visiting boaters, new slipways fishing pontoons and mooring, particularly for fishing vessels. All of this, the port authority says, should improve the working conditions of the port community and the reception of boaters. M Morin also mentioned extra works required at the BF berth to prepare for the arrival of Honfleur, which he described as one of the most environmentally friendly ships operating in the Channel. Separately, I'm also told there is to be some work on the locks, but don't have any further details. And I'm afraid I don't know [can't remember if I ever did] what exactly the additional works are relating to Honfleur. Can someone fill in the blanks, please?
  7. Buried among the tourist info the other day I came across Portsmouth Port’s economic impact report. It makes interesting reading. Among friends here, we probably think of the port as the UK home of our favourite ferry operator and the departure point for business and pleasure trips. But there’s more to it than that, as a quick flick through the report reveals. Among the interesting statistics: PIP supplies half of Britain’s bananas, supports 5,590 jobs and delivers a gross value added of £390m a year. In the words of councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the city council – which owns the port – it is “a significant contributor to both the local and national economy, and a critical industry for many businesses in the supply chain”. You can read it for yourself here
  8. Departing Portsmouth 24/10/19 - 22h45 My flying visit to Portsmouth (on foot) was disrupted by severe muscle spasms – but all well thanks to great work by port staff, BF team and the crew of NORMANDIE. By the time I arrived back at the port shortly after 20h00 my back was in severe spasm and I could hardly walk. After a quick trip to the loo I half sat, half collapsed into one of the balcony seats labelled for pax with limited mobility. No problem, I thought, an hour or so rest and a couple of painkillers will do the trick. In any case, with Assistance pre-booked, boarding would be simple, or so I thought. In fact the reverse was true and by the time came to head for the departure gate I couldn't stand up. That was when the port staff came to the rescue. The cleaning supervisor and a colleague – who turned out to be her mother – saw me struggling as I passed and immediately came to help. Turns out they had years of experience as carers and in the emergency services. Without hesitation they used the correct under-arm lift to get me up, then helped me along and carried my bags down to the gate, explaining my situation to BF and port security. A wheelchair was brought to wheel me on to the assistance minibus and thence on board. There were no cabins available (school hols?) and the wait-list at Reception also came up blank. "No problem, we will take you to your overnight seat in the lounge and come back with the wheelchair in the morning" was the response. On arrival in the lounge the helpful crewman realised my seat was inaccessible, in mid-row. Another, almost empty, lounge looked promising – except that the seats were so low we realised that I could not get in and out. So with a smart about turn I was wheeled up to the bar, parked at a table and a barman summoned. Next morning he was back to roll me back down to the car deck, waiting to ensure that I was safely loaded on to the minibus. So a BIG thank you to all concerned, ashore and on board. Demonstrating yet again why BF will always be my favourite way to travel. Although as I agreed with my wife when she met me at Ouistreham this will probably be my last cross-channel quick trip on my own. Thanks again, Brittany Ferries and Portsmouth Port. Ken
  9. Dear all Belatedly, here's the Google Translate version of the report in Vigo Atlantico referenced by TonyMWeaver. Sorry for the delay, distracted and diverted by work stuff. [Tony commented that the site crashed his PC, but I've consulted it several times using Opera or Chrome on Mac without any probs]. As friends have noted, much confusion and little clarity so far. HTH
  10. As a local, I can tell you: no problem with migrants at Ouistreham. Come over and have a stroll on the beach, or the harbour and canal. The port area is not a temple of gastronomy, but there's plenty of good value food and drink. You will just see these poor folk in odd ones and twos hanging around, but they're no bother. If you're a foodie don't miss the fish market – not sure you'd be able to take any home, but fascinating to watch. And see the speed with which the "fishwives" [to use the ancient term – but probably correct since several at least are married to skippers/crew] can clean and fillet a fish. When you see the price of turbot! Don't scream too loudly. In England, a luxury dish – but here if not eat-anytime certainly an easy and affordable choice. When we lived in the UK we spent many a short break over here. Sometimes getting the bus into Caen, sometimes just staying in Ouistreham. For the ultimate in convenience, we can recommend the Ibis Styles across the road from the terminal. If you come with a car turn right as you leave the terminal and head along our favourite coast (D-Day's Sword and Juno beaches). Lion, Luc and Courseulles are are all worth a look, with the latter the most interesting. Courseulles has several decent restaurants (some with rooms) and hotels. And a fish market that's even better than Ouistreham (pictured). For a break without a car, take a look at Bus Verts – the Calvados "county" bus service. Comfortable and incredibly cheap.
  11. Reaction from a transport specialist here in France who is close to the local / regional political scene :
  12. If you're likely to use French long distance trains (TGV or InterCités) more than a couple of times a year, there's a whole range of discount and regular traveller cards. We spent Christmas in Marseille, saving a third off the first class train fare Caen-Paris-Marseille and return. We paid €204 each and then had €30 each refunded because the train set on the Paris-Marseille leg was formed of fewer coaches and we lost our top-deck seats (which give spectacular cross country views ). The senior cards cost £50 a year, so we more than got our money back with that one trip. If you've got a working knowledge of French, the main site https://www.oui.sncf/ gives access to a huge amount of info. If you have one of the discount / regular traveller etc cards, register for the site and when you log in it automatically shows you the applicable fare for your journey, so you don't need to do any maths. BTW we sent the luggage in advance – and it was waiting for us when we arrived at the hotel.
  13. Over the last couple of years there has been a series of essential works in the harbour. Not all of these works directly impact BF, but are important for the overall operation of the port – for fishing, yachts heading into the marina or up to Caen, and the limited commercial traffic. The latest is dredging the approach to the main lock. Regular watchers of the Fleet Finder or other AIS sites have probably seen repeated appearances of a vessel called Combattant. She's the hopper that carries away the dredged material and also works in and around Havre and the Seine. Here's a couple of pix of her at work last weekend – sorry it's taken so long to post-process (the Normandy Channel Race pix were in front of the queue). I'm told the material is used for reclamation / defence work somewhere along the coast, acting as new foundations for beaches and foreshore that are being eroded; this sounds interesting, if anyone has more details. I will try to do some more research later. (Apologies if this is in the wrong forum… it does say "discussion of BF ships, ports…" Mods pls feel free to move).
  14. We moved to France in summer of 2016 and applied for our residency card last autumn. They are valid for one year from end-November, the date on which our completed applications – with all correct docs – were officially submitted to the Prefecture here in Caen. This is the Carte de Sejour Citoyen EU. A friend who has recently been issued a similar card elsewhere was told by the official handing it over that when it expires he would qualify for a new CdS "Etrangère Britannique", although exact details and indeed name were "waiting for Madame May".
  15. As you approach the terminal, the left-hand lane takes you to the (payable) car park in front of the terminal building rather than the check in lanes on the quayside. BF's Ouistreham info page links to the port's parking charges list - from 2–6h the charge is €1.50 an hour – but this notice dates back to 2014, so may not be current. Some colleagues of mine used it a few days ago, dumping the car and then walking back through the fish market to enjoy a few drinks at Le Phare while waiting for Le Roulis to open. The downside for Mme of course is that as the designated driver – not by choice – she had to exit the car park and then navigate on to the ferry, a task normally delegated to Monsieur. But she assures me that she claimed her compensation in the bar on board.
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