Yesterday had been a steel grey day but the weather forecast had told me that it wasn’t going to rain so, I had gone out with my camera to capture some moody shots of Calais. Last night I went out and took some long-exposure shots, across Pont Georges V, of the Canal de Calais a Saint-Omer.

So, today, I figure that it might be a good day to get some moody seascapes. It’s bright and sunny so why not, right? Problem, where’s the nearest beach? Google maps tells me to head north-east, past the ferry terminal, along the N216. Get off the road when it turns inland and continue along to the coast. Easy-peasy. Right?

Every village, town and city has its good bits and its not-so-good bits. Sometimes, the not-so-good bits are completely run down. This is the part of Calais that I’ve stumbled into. It’s where the original port must have been, I can see this from the abandoned and derelict warehouses, administration buildings and, perhaps most eerily, the disused tram and railway tracks which have been left in the roads. The whole place is like an archaeological exhibit of what was once Calais. Also, many of the houses are either boarded up or barely look like they are inhabited. They are inhabited, they just don’t have any kind of “lived in” look.

Part of this journey, this project, that I’ve undertaken is to figure out what I’m going to do when it’s over. Where am I going to live? How am I going to survive? How am I going to provide for myself? So, I look at some of these buildings and think about what it would be like to renovate one and actually live here. I look into the shop windows of every estate agents that I come across. Maybe for €100k to €120k I could make myself a home here. After all, Hertford is only a few hours away.

I never make it to the beach, the walk is much longer than expected and I’ve taken a number of wrong turns along the way. But, I do get some pretty good shots. I still haven’t found a story to tell so, no article yet. But maybe just a gallery. And these musings make a good journal style blog. We’ll see.

On the way back to Rue Royale I see security guys doting the streets and some of roads have been cordoned off to traffic. I ask one of the security guys what’s going on. In his broken English, he tells me that there will be a Christmas procession at 05:00pm.

By about 05:30pm the street outside Le Citadel is packed with people. The procession is well under way and it looks amazing. One Christmas themed float after another, after another, after another. There is singing and performers dressed in all manner of seasonal costumes. Santa and his elves are well represented. The performers interact with the pedestrians, especially the children. Everybody is having a great time and enjoying the spectacle. Why can’t more places do stuff like this?

All too soon the procession has passed by. And, in its wake come the clean up crews. Not that there is any rubbish to clean up. But the cordons and pedestrian barriers are quickly removed, and Rue Royale goes back to normal.

Awesome!