Tuesday 1st December 2020 – I HAVEN’T …

… had a very good day today. Not at all.

In fact I haven’t done anything at all that was productive and even managed to pile up another load of arrears, like today’s dictaphone notes which I have yet to check, never mind transcribe.

Mind you, if I don’t awaken until 08:30, what was I expecting? After doing so well on Monday morning too. It’s enough to fill anyone with dismay.

So once I finally managed to sort myself out this morning, I had to crack on with my Welsh preparation and revision and that took me straight up to the start of class without any time to think about anything else.

And there, we overran. And not just by 5 minutes too. So that put a brake on a few more things that I needed to do.

After a very late lunch, I had an urgent phone call to make. This was, well, not a matter of life and death, but pretty darn close as there’s a deadline for this and I couldn’t afford to let it slip. I knew that it involved a long and complicated matter and would take some time so after lunch I made the ‘phone call.

As I said, I knew that it would take quite a while but what I wasn’t prepared for was the length of time for which I had to wait for my call to be answered. I was queued for hours and I couldn’t let my place go by hanging up and ringing back again.

Eventually my call was answered and while the situation is, shall we say, “disappointing”, it’s not the end of the world by any means. And had I had a decent life expectancy instead of this couple of years that I have left, I would have won out by it anyway. So “spend spend spend” has been put on hold for a little while longer and with a little less money.

Had I rung up yesterday it would have been a little better, but had I left it another 4 weeks it would have been much worse.

trawlers english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was long after walkies time but that wasn’t going to prevent me from going out. I took to the streets.

There were several people wandering around outside, the workmen were still on the roof of the College Malraux and there was plenty of activity out at sea with several of the fishing boats in the Strait between the Pointe du Roc and the Ile de Chausey, as well as a larger boat way out to sea that despite what I tried, I couldn’t identify.

It’s not been this busy out at sea for quite a while, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. maybe the fog of yesterday kept them all in port.

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe brats weren’t out there orienteering tonight, which is hardly a surprise in view of the time so I walked on across the lawn, undisturbed, to the headland to look out across the Baie de Mont St Michel to the Brittany coast.

And you can tell just how late it is this afternoon by how low the sun is in the sky. We’ve been out at 22:00 in summer and it’s been higher than this. But we are now in December (only just) and there’s merely three weeks to go before the days start to lengthen again so I suppose we can expect this.

But it really did look beautiful out there in the Bay this afternoon with the sun behind the clouds. A nice red sky too. Probably because St Malo is on fire or something like that, I suppose.

waves on harbour wall Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver the last few days or so the wind has died down considerably, although it was blowing quite hard last night.

Not a raging storm like the kind that we have had so often, so I was really surprised to see a heavy, rolling sea out there this afternoon with the waves coming in with some force against the harbour wall, especially with the tide well out.

There must have been a storm blowing quite strongly out at sea somewhere, I reckon. There’s nothing out at sea to the west of us except the open Atlantic and then the North American coast so the waves can reach quite a speed if they are whipped up by a storm out there somewhere, with nothing to break their flow.

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe mentioned fishing just now … “well, one of us did” – ed … and you can see what I mean about the boats being out today.

They are still out there where we saw them earlier but there are quite a few that have already come in and are busy unloading at the fish processing plant. All of the vans are there to take away the catch for the local market and there’s a refrigerated lorry that’s there to take the produce to the main wholesale market, presumably in Paris.

But see what I mean about how late it is? The street lights are on and reflecting off the water. That wasn’t what I was hoping for today. Not at all.

Back here I just about had time for a coffee and then it was guitar practice time for an hour. And being all adrift as I was, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I have been doing which was a shame.

Tea was more of my fresh cauliflower with vegan cheese sauce and veggie balls followed by apple pie, which all told was a really delicious tea.

Just as I was about to go out for my evening run, Rosemary rang for a chat with some good news. And by the time we finished chatting, it was 2 hours and 40 minutes later. So I could forget going out.

So no evening run, no dictaphone notes, no baking a cake, no catching up of any arrears. All in all, what a disappointing day. And to make matters worse it’s now almost 01:00 so I’m going to have another bad day tomorrow and the internet seems to be down right now.

It’s just not my day, is it?

Monday 30th November 2020 – WHAT I SAW …

fog college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… when I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last night when I was out and about on my travels I noticed the fog creepign in to cover the harbour. When I went out for my afternoon walk you can see that not only did arrive, it stayed around too and slowly settled on the town. That fog isn’t going anywhere at all.

As for how long it has been there, I can’t really say. That’s because this morning when I left the warmth and comfort of my own bed, it was still dark. Despite not going to bed until 01:00 or thereabouts, I still managed to beat the 3rd alarm. And that’s quite impressive these days.

After the medication I listened to the dictaphone (I haven’t forgotten that there is still Sunday’s to do)

One of my sisters and I were together. We were the only 2 in the house and I’d made tea. I’d served it all up and set it out and we ate it. But I must have dozed off in the dream because I didn’t remember very much. But I suddenly awoke with a start and remembered that there was pudding to eat. I went to put the pudding out, a fruit pie type of thing. I cut a slice off and put it n a bowl for her and went to get the coconut dessert stuff for her, but found that she wasn’t there. I went into the living room and she was there drinking a cup of tea in the dark. I asked her why she hadn’t awoken me to tell me that there was pudding. She said she just fancied a cup of tea and came in to sit down.

On a couple of occasions in the same dream (which dream do I mean? Have I missed something?) we were on a bus and I think that we must have done the same route twice. We were basically divided into 2 groups, the bus did one and then the other. There were these 4 Asian girls on there and 1 in particular caught my eye. She was gorgeous. Whoever I was with was a woman but only a friend, not a girlfriend. I made a beeline for this Asian girl as much as I could and we ended up sitting side by side on the seats at the back chatting. Then they stopped to take a couple more but everyone else got on and the bus was crammed. They were talking about they’d been out yesterday somewhere and I’d deliberately not gone on this particular group because I didn’t want to make it too obvious that I was after her. This girl was saying that they’d been doing some kin0n of primitive wrestling and was talking about the guys who wrestled with her. I thought “I missed my chance there didn’t I? I should have gone all the same regardless”. We drove out of this town up a hill past some fortifications and an old castle. For some reason I thought that it was Durham which was strange because it was a seaside town. Then we were walking somewhere on this railway viaduct and to get down we had to jump or else it was a really long and involved scramble. The jump was about 30′. The first time, the people who were with us just jumped down and I had to scramble my way around but the 2nd time there were just 3 of us, me, this woman I was with and this Asian girl. The woman I was with just took a running leap, leapt off and landed in a pile of dust and she said to this Asian girl “are you going to jump off?” She replied “yes” and she jumped. The woman I was with said “what about you, Eric?” I said “come on – with my knees?” (when I was an adolescent I’d broken my knees on three occasions – twice on motor bikes and once skiing, or was it the other way around?) and I mentioned her name – it was the wife of a friend from the Wirral so I went to scramble down. But suddenly out of nothing an Asian guy with a little baby sitting on his shoulders, he just ran down this embankment, which I thought was extremely dangerous, I wouldn’t have considered it, but he just ran down with this baby on his shoulders and made it look so easy.
One of the things that we were discussing was names of towns. She asked what was the English name for Abertawe (it’s Swansea by the way). For some unknown reason I didn’t really want to tell her, I don’t know why. Someone else piped up with a few long explanations that were totally wrong but I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t going to say anything to this girl about this.

There was much more to it than this but as you are probably eating your tea right now I’ll spare you some of the gory details.

pointing wall foyer des jeunes travailleurs place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst task once I got myself going was to deal with the sourdough that had been festering overnight.

But not before my attention was diverted by a noise outside. I’ve seen a van and a workman here on a few occasions just recently. It looks as if it’s a “nothing much else to do” job of cleaning out and repointing the old medieval walls near the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs. If you peer through the trees you can just about make out his flourescent jacket.

he was here for an hour or so raking out the joints, and then he cleared off. Next time it goes quiet, he’ll be back, I bet, to do another hour’s worth.

So I kneaded the sourdough again for about 15 minutes and shaped it, and then put it in a mould for the second stage of rising. Then I went back to attend to the radio programme that I’d started yesterday, armed with a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of my chocolate cake.

Round about 11:00 I knocked off and went to see how the bread was doing.

It hadn’t risen up all that much but it will have to do. I switched on the oven to warm up and while it was doing its stuff, I made an apple pie. Plenty of pastry left over so I made a much smaller one as well and whatever was left I prepared an apple turnover.

When the oven was nice and hot, the loaf went in, and when the apple pie was made, that followed it.

No room for the little pie and the turnover, unfortunately. They went in the fridge for whenever I bake my next cake. I really do need a bigger, better oven and I really am going to have to look into that pretty soon.

While everything was doing, I fed the sourdough and did the washing-up, a whole mountain of it too with everything that I’d been preparing.

home made apple pie sourdough loaf Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually, the oven pinged and switched itself off and I went to see how everything had done. The bread was rather depressing. It hadn’t risen all that much, and was rather lopsided, which I suspect points to uneven heating of my oven, even with a circulating fan.

On the other hand, the apple pie looks done to perfection and I’m quite impressed with that.

But as for the bread, it might not look all that much, but in fact it was exactly as it should be as regards texture. And it tasted delicious too when I had some for lunch, still warm out of the oven with my home-made hummus and salad.

It’s a shame that I can’t make it look nicer.

After lunch I finished off the radio programme and then I went for my journey into the unknown, my woolly hat on top of my woolly head. It’s winter.

seafarers monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhatever was going on out at sea, I couldn’t see it. It was pointless trying to do anything about that.

One of the things that I did though was to go and look at the seafarers’ monument to see if the wreaths are anything to do with commemorating any of the disasters. But apparently not. The two disasters that are commemorated on there are 23rd December and 10th January.

Having dealt with that, I went for a walk along the path on top of the cliffs to se what was happening in the chantier navale but that was rather a waste of time.

refrigerated lorry fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along the path I could hear a racket coming from the direction of the Fish Processing Plant.

One of the refrigerated lorries that calls in there was just leaving and eventually, it came out of the gloom and onto the main road. I’ve no idea what it might have on board though because I wouldn’t have imagined that there would have been too many fishing boats out in this weather.

Groping my way through the clag I made my way back home for a nice hot mug of coffee. I felt like I deserved it after all of this.

The hour on the guitars passed quite happily. And I found that I’m beginning to ejoy playing the bass again, especially as I can now sing as I’m playing. A couple of weeks ago I spent some time trying to work out the bass solo in the chorus of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream”. Today I spent almost all of my little bass guitar session trying to sing in time to it.

It’s not at all easy but eventually I found that I could do it, although I’m going to need a lot more practice at it. The first time that I’ve really been able to do this for about 40 years.

Tea tonight was stuffed pepper. The stuff that I’m using instead of bulghour or quinoa is really different with a much better taste. And as for my apple pie, it was delicious

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went out for my evening walk and runs. By now the weather had changed. we had quite a strong wind,, the fog had gone from the immediate vicinity and it was raining.

With the fog having lifted somewhat, the view down the coast was fairly clear as far as I could see. The lights of the promenade at Donville les Bains were quite visible tonight from the viewpoint along the walls where I stopped for a breather.

Only one or two people wandering about so I managed all of my runs. And things might be looking up a little because instead of breathing in fours, on a few occasions I was breathing in sixes and once or twice in eighths A far cry of course from 25 years ago when I started running again and I was breathing in eighths for miles after only about a fortnight. I won’t ever reproduce that but it’s nice to think that just occasionally I can do it.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was much clearer in the port tonight too. Although there were no boats about and nothing moored up in the unloading bay, it made quite a nice photograph.

There was nothing else going on anywhere so that was the only other photo that I took. After my walk around the walls, I ran on home in the rain to write up my notes and then to have an early night.

Tomorrow I have my Welsh lesson so I have to organise myself and so I also need a nearly start. In the afternoon I’m going to have a go at baking another cake and as I have a recipe for biscuits and everything that I need, I might have a go at that too.

But let’s have this early night first.

Sunday 29th November 2020 – JUST BY WAY …

… of a change, I’ve been working today.

Yes, even though Sunday is a Day Of Rest around here, it became a necessity when I failed to show a leg this morning until about 11:30. By then it was way, way too late to start off the sourdough (you’ve really no idea just how long this process takes) mix and as I have no bread in the house and shall be needing some for Monday lunchtime, I’ll have to swap my hours around a little.

Plenty of time in bed therefore to go off on a whole series of nocturnal rambles but not having had time to transcribe them, you’ll need to check back in here in a couple of days to find out where I went. I’m curious to know too.

So after a rather desultory start while I pulled myself together I made myself a mug of hot chocolate and with a slice of my chocolate cake, sat down and chose the music for the next radio programme. And then I had to edit it, remix it all, reformat some of it and then combine them all in pairs.

What didn’t help matter is in this respect was that I had “computer issues”. One of the files that needed reformatting was a *.mkv file and is regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it makes my window explorer “hang”.

In the end I had to save all of my work (which is not easy with a dozen different programs and “alt-tab” doesn’t work) and then reboot the computer.

Finally I made a start on writing the text notes.

It’s not a lot for an afternoon’s work but it will save me a couple of hours in the morning while I deal with the bread and make a pie for pudding.

hauteville sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallof course, there was a break in mid-afternoon for my usual walk around the headland.

The weather was really nice outside and the sea fog that had been lingering around on and off had lifted slightly. In fact there was a view farther down the coat today as far as Hauteville-sur-Mer. Although there wasn’t much that you could see beyond there.

There were a few people wandering around there this afternoon too, and not all of them wearing their face masks despite the Préfet having announced that the compulsory wearing of facemasks has been extended to 21st January next year.

boats meeting baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking out to sea, I’d seen a fishing boat approaching from the direction of the Ile de Chausey so I walked on up to the headland of the Pointe du Roc to intercept it.

And I’m glad that I waited until then to take a photo because I managed to catch it in company with a pleasure launch that was heading out to sea. It made quite a good photograph, the two of them combining like that.

But that was all that I could see going on out there today. The rest of the sea was quite quiet today. And so I wandered off around the footpath to the chantier navale to see what was going on.

van hool coach lemare port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving seen a few different boats on the fringes of the chantier navale just recently, I was wondering whether there might be another new arrival today.

No boats today, unfortunately, but nevertheless I’d swap all of them for this gorgeous machine. A Van Hool-bodied coach of what looks like the early 1960s, but as for what chassis it might be, I couldn’t see. It’s a beautiful machine of course although it’s not really comparable with the Volvo-engined Van Hool Alizées that I drove for years all round Europe.

According to the nameplate, it’s owned by a local bus company so I can always make enquiries. But I’m more interested right now in knowing why I cut off the rear of the coach. That isn’t like me at all.

And the coach? it’s a Fiat 314 of 1965 – one of the earliest of the integrals.

unloading shellfish from boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving satiated my interest at the chantier navale, I had a look around to see what else was going on.

That small fishing boat that I had seen just now wasn’t the only one that was about. There was another one that had arrived earlier in port with a huge load of shellfish. They were busily being unloaded by the crane on the trailer on the back of the tractor and the crane on the stern of the boat.

Being loaded onto the tractor and trailer, I wouldn’t have thought that they were destined for the public market in one of the big cities. It’s more likely to be one of the local shopkeepers who harvests his own stock of crustaceans.

One of the things that I wanted to do was to check on a boat that I understand was moored in the harbour.

aztec lady anakena port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe can see Aztec Lady in this photograph here but behind her is a boat called Anakena. There was a brief mention of her in the local newspaper over the weekend but I wasn’t able to read the full article.

From what I read, I understand that she was en route for the Far North to spend the winter out there and the family on board had even gone as far as to register their kids in the French “distance learning” programme.

However the confinement due to Covid has seemed to have trapped them in the harbour and they are unable to leave for their destination.

Back here I continued on somewhat with my notes for the radio programme, but even managed to fit in a quick 15 minutes on the guitar – the electric 6-string too.

Earlier on during the day I’d taken out the last pizza dough from the freezer and it had been thawing out in the living room. I rolled it out and put it in the pizza tray and left it to rise for an hour or so.

When it was ready, I assembled my pizza and put it into the oven to cook. And while this was going on, I made the sourdough.

having found that 400 grammes was not sufficient last week I used 500 grammes of flour and adjusted the quantities accordingly, and when it has settled in, I tipped it out and began to knead it. And now that I know what I’m doing with the sourdough, I could feel when it “turned” and it ended up really nice and smooth.

Halfway through the mix, I realised that I’d forgotten the sunflower seeds so I had to add them in. And it all turned out quite nicely. It’s now sitting in a bowl quietly festering where it’ll stay all through the night, and it’ll have its second kneading tomorrow morning.

vegan pizza Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now my pizza was ready and I attacked it with gusto. It had turned out really nicely too and I do like how the edges, where I roll them over, swell up quite nicely as they do.

No pudding tonight, firstly because I don’t have anything and secondly I’m rather full. These pizzas are very filling.

And so running rather late yet again, I set off for my evening walk and runs. No-one about at all so i could run around for as much as I liked. And I quite enjoyed that idea too because for some reason tonight, I was able to go around without really putting any effort into it.

It’s true that I was often out of breath but that’s normal these days. I didn’t feel as if I’d been stretched in any way. And doesn’t that sound revolting?

sea fog creeping in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time I ended up walking around the walls, the fog that had kept away for most of the day was rolling in rapidly and there were wisps of it now blowing across the harbour.

It was a beautiful night though. The sky was clear and there was a cold breeze blowing but for some reason it was quite nice to be out there.

But it didn’t look as if many people would agree with me. There was no-one else out for a walk tonight, and the fish processing plant was all closed up and in darkness, indicating that none of the bigger trawlers are expected to come in on the next tide with a catch.

From there I ran on home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I have my radio programme to finish of course, but early on I have the sourdough bread and a pudding to make. I’m going to be busy tomorrow so I need an early night. I’m not sure that I’m going to get one though.

Saturday 28th November 2020 – I’VE BEEN SPENDING …

… my money again. I went out somewhat early this morning on speculation now that the “unnecessary” shops are allowed to open and sure enough, my luck was in I found “mon bonheur” as they say around here. It was expensive and I do mean that, but it will be well worth it in due course.

It’s for my Christmas present so I can’t tell you what it is until I open it at Christmas time but it’s what I’ve always wanted ever since I moved here three and a half years ago.

Even though I said “early”, it wasn’t as early as I was hoping though because I didn’t leave the bed until about 07:20 this morning, to my dismay. But at least I was in a better frame of mind than I was last night, which is one thing I suppose.

First thing to do is to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d made contact with my old school last night and I’d volunteered to talk to them about certain things. They suggested that I came round to see them on Saturday. So off I went on a Saturday morning and found to my surprise that a lot of kids were still in school. I thought that it must be something to do with Covid or something like this. I arrived at the front of the school but couldn’t find the door in. All the front of the school had changed. In the end I found a door and went in – I thought that I’d look for the secretariat. All the kids were telling me not to go in through this door for some unknown reason but I went in anyway. I couldn’t find the secretariat but then I saw a hatch that was an opening in the wall and there was a queue of people around there talking to whoever was going on inside. I thought “well, I’d talk to these people, whatever was going on in this hatch and they can point me to the right place”. So I waited my turn. Then a guy came over and said “ohh don’t you go missing now that I’ve got you here. I’m going to give you a class”. I thought “this is strange. he doesn’t even know who I am”. But on my way in parking my car or going into the school grounds or whatever I bumped into one of my old teachers. I said “you must be Mr Lighton” but he didn’t recognise me. But this other guy obviously recognised me, and I didn’t have a clue who he was and I was certain that he ought not to know who I was but he got me right. He said “well …” and we were talking about what I could do. he said “you could give this class a talk on iron ore, the miracle of iron ore”. I replied “yes, I can tell them all about iron ore mining in Labrador”. I thought for a moment “I wish I’d remembered to bring my photographs with me” but then I thought that I had my laptop and they are all on there. Another teacher who was there said “I didn’t know that they mined iron ore in Labrador” so we had quite a chat about that. I had some gold with me and I produced this sample of gold and said “what about this from Labrador?” He looked at it, the amazed guy, but the one who came to talk to me first was totally nonplussed by this gold. he didn’t think that it was anything extraordinary at all.

Next thing was to have a shower and to check my weight. And in the last 2 days I’ve put on 0.6 kilo. That’s clearly incorrect and I shall have to check this again.

Having changed the bedding (I’m going to be in the lap of luxury tonight) and set the washing machine off on a cycle (very clever, my washing machine) I hit the streets with Caliburn.

Our first stop was miles out of town and more of this anon and then it was time for NOZ and LeClerc. Both were open but neither came up with anything of any special interest. It was just more of the boring same so I came on home without hanging around too long.

By now it was quite late so there was barely time to put the frozen food away before I had to make my soup for lunch (more of the butternut squash) and then there was football. Connah’s Quay Nomads against Barry Town in the Welsh Premier League.

Barry Town scored first after just a couple of minutes but from the restart Connah’s Quay went up the field and equalised. Even with half a team out injured or suspended they were still far too good for Barry Town and the final score of 3-1 was fair enough. Barry Town need to find a striker from somewhere if they want to push on up the table.

yacht english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was by now way after the time that I would usually go out for my afternoon walk, but I went out all the same.

Winter has certainly arrived. It was cold and quite windy out there, but there was plenty of sun to encourage people to come out for maybe the last fine day of the year. This guy in his yacht was certainly enjoying himself just offshore.

And you can see what I mean about the sun by looking at the sails of his yacht. They are supposed to be white but they are reflecting the late-afternoon sun and are looking a rather bright shade of gold.

kayaker english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd he wasn’t the only one out there in the water today.

There were several people in kayaks having a paddle around the Pointe du Roc too. And it’s a good job that it’s warm because it’s not permitted to light a fire in a canoe. They say that you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

Back in the apartment I noticed that someone else had taken a photo of the kayakers and posted a “group photo” on the Social Media. And someone complained about them being allowed to congregate but ramblers were not allowed to do so.

I despair of some people.

microlight Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just on the water that there were crowds of people. The air was quite busy too.

A light aircraft had flown over my head just as I was setting out but I wasn’t quick enough to take a decent photo of it. But a few minutes later one of the little microlights went past. This time I was ready and when it turned out of the sun I was able to take a photo to speed it on its way.

What was disappointing was that our autogyro didn’t put in an appearance. We can usually rely on that going past overhead whenever the air is busy.

full moon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s that time of the month too.

There was a beautiful moon out there tonight – we missed the last one due to heavy clouds, if I remember correctly, but no danger of missing this one. It really was quite beautiful. And as you can see, there isn’t a cloud in the sky to get in the way of seeing it.

So it looks like either tomorrow or the day after, I’ll have to be shaving the palms of my hand. I used to be a werewolf but I’m all right noooooooooooooow”.

And that reminds me, the use of shockingly poor English is even threatening the Film Industry. They are planning to remake an old classic horror film of the 1930s, but the modern version this next year will be called “I Were a Teenage Waswolf”

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEnough of that. I turned tail and headed for the headland to look out over the Baie de Mont St Michel to see what was goign on.

And this is a far cry from 21:00 and 21:30 of early this year, isn’t it? You can tell how late it is that I’ve gone out because the sun is quite low in the sky and about to sink into the sea, where it will presumably sizzle.

we are certainly having some spectacular effects just recently. This one I stayed and watched for a few minutes before pushing my way onwards around to the south side of the headland.

ceres 2 yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a new trawler in the chantier navale and we watched it being hoisted aboard the mobile boat lift.

This morning when I went out to the shops I was half-expecting to see it comfortably installed on one of the sets of blocks so that they can work on it, but to my surprise she wasn’t there. They must have been putting her back into the water yesterday when we saw them manoeuvring around.

Still, Ceres 2 and the yacht are still there. They must be completely fed up of spending all this time together on their own without any company.

clementine kefir Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing else going on, I walked on back to the apartment.

There were some carrots that needed dicing and blanching, the sourdough needed feeding and then there was the kefir to attend to. The kiwis that I had bought last week weren’t ripe enough and besides I was rather pushed for time so I grabbed a handful of clementines (I’d bought another load today), whizzed them around to extract the juice, and then made another batch of clementine-flavoured kefir.

Having done that, I set another batch of kefir en route. And one of these days when I have more time, whenever that might be, I’m going to look into making my own ginger beer.

Today’s special offer on veg at LeClerc was “Cauliflowers at €0:99”, and large illegitimate ones too. I love them when they are fresh so I bought one and for tea had veggie balls with steamed veg (including lots of cauliflower cooked to perfection) and vegan cheese sauce. And I’ll be having more of that too in due course.

But the sad thing is that I finished the last of my ad-hoc raspberry and custard tart. That worked really well and I was pleased with that. It encourages me for the future now with other fruits.

night beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe moon was incredibly bright tonight. It really lit up the night sky and it would have been a perfect evening for photography had we not had one of the sea mists yet again.
With something of a struggle I ran on round to the viewpoint over the Plat Gousset and took a photo of the beach in the moonlight just to see how it would come out.

And I have to say that I’ve seen worse than this one. And, of course, it goes without saying, a great many so much better too.

street light scaffolding netting rue lecarpentier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing doing at the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch so I ran off all the way across thez Square maurice Marland where I stopped for my breather.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on a couple of occasions we’ve had a quick look at the house in the Rue LeCarpentier that is undergoing renovation by this specialist building company. Tonight, I couldn’t help noticing that with the light mist that we were having, the street light wrapped in the scaffolding netting was creating some kind of ethereal effect.

This is the kind of thing that is worth photographing, even if just to let arty people gasp with admiration. I don’t think all that much of this kind of thing

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis on the other hand is much more like my kind of photograph.

Only Marité at anchor – or should I say “moored” – down at the bottom end of the harbour tonight. But she’s all lit up and looks quite pretty and for once, I managed to take a decent photo of her that actually worked out doing what I wanted it to do.

But everywhere is like death now with this lockdown due to the Corona Virus. Once more I was the only one out there tonight and I didn’t see another soul. I’m starting to feel quite lonely these days.

cat rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, that’s not exactly true. I wasn’t the only one out there tonight.

As I walked up the Rue St Michel a pretty long-haired cat, looking rather like a heavily-pregnant female, came out of one of the alleyways. I called it and it came to me for a stroke so we had a little bit of socialising. Strange as it is to say it, I miss having a cat, but it’s not possible with my lifestyle.

So having said goodbye to my new friend I ran on home to write out my notes.

Despite being in a better humour than I was yesterday and having had something of a lie-in this morning, I’ve still had a bad day. For some unknown reason I’ve been fighting off sleep (and not very successfully on some occasions) for most of the day and because I’m so tired, everything is taking 10 times longer.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last week because of a few rather extreme, if not ridiculous Sunday lie-ins, I was talking about setting an alarm on Sunday mornings in the future. But not tomorrow. This is going to be one of those “sleep until I awaken” days. I have clean bedding, I’m clean and tidy and I think that a good rest and long sleep will do me a world of good.

It makes me wonder who will come along to spoil it.

Friday 27th November 2020 – HAVING NOT GONE …

… to bed until 02:30 this morning, I totally surprised myself by actually being up and about at 06:30.

Mind you, I needn’t have bothered for all the good that I’ve done today. I’ve not been able to get started today and I’m getting rather fed up of this.

So having slowly recovered from my extremely lethargic start and taken my medication, I listened to last night’s adventures on the dictaphone. Despite only being asleep for less than 4 hours, I still managed to find time to wander off.

There needed to be a big marriage in this family in a house very much like my old Grammar School and for some unknown reason they chose me to impersonate the bride. I was OK doing that until the groom appeared along with a couple of wedding cars. Then it became a kind of Brian Rix farce scampering around with all of this. My brother threatened to tell this guy and was making all kinds of suggestions. In the end he said that he needed someone to comfort him and console him, and the groom volunteered. I thought “that’s great. It will get rid of him. I can grab my shoes and clear off”. But I couldn’t find my shoes – I could only find one. The place was an absolute tip with presents and wrapping paper and everything around. But I could only find one shoe, which meant that I was stuck there. This guy came back down again and started to make some story about we needed to get this place tidied up. That was not what was going on in my mind at all. I was hoping to find a way to distract his attention so I could go but I had to find my shoes first and possibly my money and computer and loads of other things but the place was in such a mess that I couldn’t find anything.

It sounds rather like my place right now where I don’t even seem to have the energy to take the rubbish out to the bin.

Most of the day has been spent working on the arrears of when I was in Central Europe back in the summer, although you wouldn’t actually notice. My excuse that “much of the time was spent researching” isn’t really valid. It’s a far cry from the days 15 years ago when I could sit down and dash off 10,0000 words in a session without really thinking about it and without losing concentration and it’s making me even more depressed. Thank heaven that there’s music.

It will be no surprise to anyone that I crashed out round about midday. Crashed out good ‘n’ proper too, for more than an hour or so, curled up on the chair.

And so deep was I in it that I actually went off on a voyage. I was living with a large family and it was a weekend. I was wondering if all of the shops in Crewe had now reopened as I was thinking about going to B&Q for an exterior light for my house at Gainsborough Road and finally getting round to sorting a few things out there, but it was only a half-hearted thing. I was picturing myself doing some wiring but using some green flexible trunking. We were talking about things to do around the house to entertain us and I suggested a party. Someone wondered if I was being serious but I asked them if we had any jelly and cakes in ready. Feeling hungry, I went to the fridge where I had a tin of sweets and took one out, but I didn’t have the time to eat it as I found a Mickey Mouse cut-out of mine so took it over to the settee, sat down and went to put it in a folder. That mad me think about work, how I didn’t really like it and how I was creating arrears but thought then that I could always leave as I’m over the Retirement Age (how many times have I had this dream?) but then the downside would be that I would be really bored and going round in circles like I am now. The little girl came to sit by me with her big black long-haired cat that she was stroking. After a couple of minutes she got up to go somewhere and put the cat on my knee. That awoke me with a start.

At least my butternut squash soup was delicious even though it was quite late. And that was another thing – when I awoke from my little reverie I had the strangest feeling that I’d actually already eaten my lunch.

Back at my insipid work after lunch, up until walkies time and then I forced myself to go out into the cold.

Granville donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd cold it really was too. Winter has definitely arrived now in Normandy.

The sea fog that we saw yesterday morning – or would have done had the camera worked properly, it was back again. Or maybe it hadn’t gone away. The whole of the coast was shrouded in it and visibility was only about 7 or 8 miles, as you can tell from this photo.

You can just about see the coast beyond Donville les Bains, but not much further. It’s certainly a foretaste of things to come and I think that it’s going to be a cold one this year. We haven’t actually had a really cold winter for a while

sun shining into water baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe brats were out orienteering on the lawn again and I helped a little one find a marker that she was looking for, and then I pushed on.

Round on the headland we had another one of these beautiful sunny effects where rays of sunshine shine through the gaps in the clouds and make pretty patterns on the water. It’s not as spectacular as the one a week or so ago but it’s pretty good all the same.

Nothing else going on out at sea so I continued on my way. Too many people around for a decent run so I had a nice sedate walk.

ceres 2 trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been round at the headland I’d heard the sound of an old diesel motor chugging away somewhere so I was wondering what was going on.

And it seems to be all excitement this afternoon at the chantier navale. The green fishing boat that we saw in there yesterday seems to have disappeared but nstead they’ve hauled out another one from the water and dropped her on blocks.

I’ve no idea who she is, so I suppose that I’ll have to make further enquiries. But whoever she is, she’ll be in good company there with the yacht and with Ceres II who seem to have settled in for the Duration.

trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSudenly the engine that I heard revved up. It’s the engine on the mobile boat lift and as I watched, it over-rode the new fishing vessel and they wrapped the lifting tackle around it.

Moving her off to a new more permanent location I imagine. I waited for a while to see but they didn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry.

But can you see the driver’s cab of the boat lift? he has a good view of what’s going on around him while he’s in motion. But it’s quite a beast, that. They need something like that here for lifting the boats in and out of the water. 100 tonnes is no lightweight.

Back at the apartment I made a coffee and then carried on with my paper-stirring until it was time to practise the guitar. At least all of that went well and I had an enjoyable time. Thank heaven there’s music.

Tea was taco rolls and rice followed by another slice of my pie with banana sorbet.

trench place du marche au ble Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter tea, I had to dash out pretty smartish-like for my runs as there would be football on the internet later.

It was another day where I really wasn’t feeling up to all that much but I persevered all the same and managed my 6 runs, to some kind of degree. One of the legs of my runs goes past the other end of the trench that we saw yesterday. There’s no light here at all so you can’t see very much of it but anyway …

On I pushed round to the viewpoint over looking the Place Marechal Foch.

christmas lights avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlthough there was nothing going on down in the Place, there was some excitement happening in the Avenue de la Liberation.

Here we are, the first Christmas lights of the year, shining away in the biscuit shop over there. A sure sign that Christmas is coming. Next it will be the public lighting that we’ve seen them installing throughout the town over the last couple of weeks.

So I cleared off again, running across the Square Maurice Marland and making my way home via the shorter route rather than going by the walls. I was in a hurry.

parking blocked off avenue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s been quite a while since we went up the Rue Notre Dame so I was wondering if we’d see any changes along there.

Not really, I have to say. After all, it was quite dark. But it looks as if there is going to be yet more digging up of the road here, as if there hasn’t already been enough, judging by the fact that some of the parking is now fenced off.

There was a public notice pinned to one of the hurdles but the weather had got to that before I did, so I couldn’t see what it said.

Back in the apartment, I just about made the kick-off. Bala Town were playing Newtown and, to be honest, Bala had far too much in the tank for Newtown. Nevertheless although Newtown’s defence stood up well, they were undone by a couple of moments of magic down the right wing. A score of 3-1 to Bala was probably about right, I reckon, and no-one can complain about this.

And, rather shamefully, I fell asleep for a couple of minutes in the middle of the game.

Not an early night tonight again, unfortunately. One of these days I’ll manage a good, decent sleep without oversleeping. I’ve no idea when that will be, though.

Thursday 26th November 2020 – I SCOOPED THE PRESS!

And I did too!

Headlines in the local paper this morning – NEW TRAWLER ARRIVES IN GRANVILLE but regular readers of this rubbish will recall that LAST FRIDAY I’d mentioned that she’d arrived.

So remember, folks, you heard it first here!

Mind you, I wasn’t as quick off the mark with getting up this morning though. It might not have been 10:00 but 06:30 is still quite depressing nevertheless.

First thing that I did after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone. A cricket match had been arranged between us and some other people. It had been arranged months previously starting at 19:00. Of course now it was late November so we all turned up at 19:00 and it was going dark, impossible to play cricket in these kind of conditions. People were experimenting, putting cars around the pitch so that their lights shone on there, that kind of thing. A few of us were just waiting for something to happen. I went up to one of the players who I knew and asked if I could have my lunch out of the car – he obviously had my lunch or something. After a bit of a rummage round he handed me a bag. He asked “what do you have in there?” “Clams” I replied “Gorgeous clams” and wandered off leaving him rather green in the face. In the middle of the pitch was a guy sitting there quite calmly cutting a lump of bread of a loaf and cutting a lump of cheese off another block and sitting there eating. I went over to talk to him and we ended up discussing the radio, talking about contracts and shows and the Copyright Act. he talked about all these little girls who had taped these performances on their mobile phones and were sharing them amongst their friends and how the Copyright Act people were getting at them. I noticed that he was listening to a group and was telling me about them, how he’d found them on some kind pf Internet chart and had risen to n°71 in the charts. We talked about the charts and I noticed that he was listening to it on Hi5, an elderly social network thing going back 10-15 years so I was intrigued to know if Hi5 was still going and was determined to ask him about it

later on I was with my father and one of my sisters. He was messing around with some car that he’d obviously just bought, a T registered MkIV saloon, the beige colour. The paintwork was scabby on it but it wasn’t too bad. Joanie was sitting in there bouncing around in the back and he was saying how much she was going to like the particular car. Then it was my turn to get into it, so I got in, started up the engine and drove it off down this yard where the vehicle was parked, got to the end and put my foot on the brake just like how I’d normally drive a car. But the brakes were useless on this and it shot out of the yard before it came to a stop. I had to push on down the road until I could find a place to turn round. It was dark by this time so I had the lights on so I went to put it on main beam so that I could see better. But it was really stiff. But before this I’d gone past a place where there was a llama. At first I thought that it was a horse but it was a llama and was stuck underneath what was basically a shed but with no floor on it. It had fallen on the animal’s back, the building and it was struggling trying to get free of it. So I went to put the lights onto main beam and fiddled about with this dip indicator but suddenly all the lights cut out and I couldn’t see a thing. It was pitch-black and I had to bring the vehicle to a standstill without driving off the road or into an object, anything like that which I managed to do. Then I had to wait until it was light and I could go home. All these vehicles were coming past me including a Crosville bus so I had to set off and turn round a bit further on or wait for them to go past and then turn round. In the meantime this llama came round, extremely bad-tempered and I thought to myself “I’m going to be in a confrontation with a bad-tempered llama”.

Anyway when I awoke, I found that there was no cause for allama.

And for a change, I managed to find the time to have a shower. I can’t remember when was the last time. And I did feel much better afterwards too. Mind you, that 100 grammes that I lost – I’ve put it back on. We’ll see how we go after a month with no perfusion.

early morning sea fog baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd then off to hit the streets and head for the shops.

And a couple of really miserable photos too because, once more, the battery in the NIKON 1 J5 was flat again. That’s been added to my shopping list for this weekend now. And that’s a shame because this morning we had our very first sea-fog of the winter and I would have loved to have photographed it properly.

Instead, a rather depressing one taken with the camera on the telephone will have to suffice. But I can’t keep on going like this.

And only 2.5 years out of a camera battery? Whatever is the world coming to?br clear=”both”>

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis miserable photo here isn’t all the fault of the camera on the phone (or the operator).

As you can see, Thora has left port for the Channel Islands and in her place on the morning tide, Normandy Trader has come in. And unfortunately she’s brought with her a load of sea-fog. And not only that, the sun shining directly into the lens has amplified the effect of the fog and crated something like an obscure translucent effect.

Ordinarily I would leave the photo until on the way back when the fog has dispersed and the sun moved out of shot, but with the speed of the turnrounds these days, Normandy Trader might be gone by then.

LIDL was an expensive shop because I needed quite a few things. Even so, they didn’t have everything that I needed and I did forget some more of it too. But that will be for another time.

One thing that was depressing me was that there are no grapes. However the end of the grape season means the start of the clementine season.

Back in the apartment I attacked the butternut squash.

I cut it in quarters, deseeded it, sliced it ad put it in the oven coated with oil in order to roast the pieces.

Meanwhile I fried a large onion and plenty of garlic with some cumin, coriander and chili in a very large saucepan. While that was doing, I peeled and diced three large carrots and added them to the onions etc.

butternut squash soup place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the butternut bits were nice and soft, I peeled them (and that took longer than I imagined), added them into the saucepan, put enough water in to cover everything, brought it to the boil and and left it to simmer for half an hour.

Finally I added some coconut cream and fresh ground pepper, and then whizzed it all into a purée. Here’s the finished product anyway. And it really was delicious with some of my home-made bread. However if the truth is known, I’ve probably put a little too much of the spices in it. It’s something that you might more appropriately call a “hotpot”.

The good news is that there are four helpings left over. Two of them are in the fridge for tomorrow and Saturday, and the other two are in the freezer for “again”. I really must buy a bigger freezer because I’ve long-since run out of room in there.

So it ended up being a very late lunch as it took much longer than I was expecting. And by the time that I’d finished it was time to go walkies outside.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere weren’t too many people out there this afternoon which was surprising because although it was cold, it wasn’t all that windy and properly dressed, it was quite acceptable.

The fishing fleet seems to be back in action too Here’s one of the trawlers making its way back to the fish processing plant, presumably with a full load of whatever it is that they catch.

And talking of catching things, I managed to catch hold of a brat this afternoon. The kids were all out on the lawn doing what they do and as one came by me, I asked her what it was that they were all doing. And as I expected, it is indeed orienteering that they are practising.

The next stage will be to grab hold of another one at some later time and to ask it why.

pleasure boat le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLeaving them to it, I walked on across the path and down to the headland to see what was going on out at sea.

The trawler had gone past of course, and so there was nothing really to see out across to Cancale and the brittany coast. But there was a pleasure craft out there heading into port past Le Loup, the big marker light on the rocks just at the entrance to the harbour.

And you can see how far the tide is in by looking at Le Loup. When the tide is right out you can see not only all of the light but also the rock upon which it stands. When the tide is right in, it comes to just underneath the lower red line.

trawlers fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe tide being right in means that, in principle, all of the fishing boats that were out would be at the Fish Processing Plant unloading their catch ready for shipment to the markets in the big cities.

And today is clearly no exception. There are 7 or 8 boats there and the fleet of refrigerated vans on the quayside and the deck underneath means that this lot is more likely to be the individual owners who make their own arrangements to sell their catch to local restaurants or seafood shops, that kind of thing.

And the fact that there have been two new boats this year at least – Rocavi II and le Pearl – just goes to show that business must be good and that there’s confidence for the future.

ceres 2 chantier navale trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBusiness also seems to be good in the chantier navale too, which is likewise good news for the local economy.

The boat that we saw hauled out of the water yesterday must have gone back in, because she’s not there now, but they have just brought another one out. I missed it coming out of the water, but the mobile boat lift was on its way back to its station when I arrived here.

This boat will be in good company with Ceres II and the yacht that seems to have put down roots right now.

With nothing else of any excitement I hurried on home to see what else I ought to be doing – like a mountain of washing up, for example.

My friend who had Covid was on line so we had a chat, and she’s been offered a new job, much more in line with her line of work. So well done her! And then I fell asleep.

The hour on the guitar is rewarding, except that it was difficult to play the acoustic because I have an issue with my thumb. These kitchen knives are flaming sharp when they are in the water and you can’t see them.

Tea was stuffed pepper made with more of that really nice couscous, chick pea and quinoa stuff, and then the raspberry tart with banana ice-cream and chocolate sauce.

Out on my run tonight and for some reason that I don’t understand, I just couldn’t get into it. For all the good that I felt like out there, I needn’t have bothered.

But I pushed on regardless and made really the barest minimum of my 6 targets. At least I managed them all so I suppose that that is something.

escalier du moulin a vent Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAll the way down the Rue du Nord and then along the footpath underneath the walls to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch, a run that I do in 4 stages because it’s quite long and I’m not here to kill myself off – just to keep in some kind of shape.

Nothing at all going on down there again because it is quite late and there’s no-one about, so I sent a few minutes taking photographs in the dark to see what I could reproduce. This one is supposed to be of the steps of the Escalier du Moulin a Vent that goes down to the bottom.

But I seem to have managed a nice bright photo of a tree and very little else. But it’s not easy pointing your camera blind over a wall.

trench place du marche au ble Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis one is a little more like it. I could capture something interesting even though the darkness defeated it somewhat.

Where I’m standing is on a little bridge that leads over to the Place du Marché au Blé. There’s a kind of trench that’s been cut through the solid rock to make a meutrier – a death-trap in which soldiers can become stuck when they are assailing the fortifications. They can easily get into it but getting out is much more difficult and they will be at the mercy of anyone on the walls with a bow and arrow as they try to scramble out.

A great many medieval fortifications have something similar and it was a very effective technique – and also a very good defence against anyone trying to undermine the walls. They would have to do it twice – once on the outer wall and then once in the meutrier on the inner walls, exposed to whatever the defenders could throw down from above.

square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallregular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other night we took a photo of the tree that stands on its own in the Square Maurice Marland.

This evening I thought that I would take a photo of the reverse angle of the shot so that you can see it from this way round, just for a change. The statue of Maurice Marland and his colleagues of the Resistance who were murdered is just beyond it.

And from here, I ran off all the way down there right to the other end – about 300 or so metres.

Eventually I made my way home and wrote up my notes. But it’s now 02:00, I’m still not tired so I’m working. Tomorrow is goi,g to be another bad day, I reckon.

Wednesday 25th November 2020 – THIS IS NO …

… good at all.

Never mind the three alarms this morning. I didn’t wake up until about 10:00.

This is a really sad situation to be in. But then, it’s probably my own fault. I was distracted after finishing off my notes and didn’t go to bed until 01:30. And so I was thinking that I would be lucky to be up at 06:15. Even so, I didn’t think that it would be this late and waste half a day.

Plenty of time to go on a walkabout during the night too.

By now things were advancing with TOTGA and we were definitely a couple. She was definitely living in Gainsborough Road with me. She had brought her animals with her, a couple of cats and a couple of dogs. The cats were very stand-offish as far as I was concerned. One night she went to bed and I had a few things to do so I stayed up. I was wondering about going to bed, and I thought “no, I have a few things to do and I can make the most of it doing them while it’s quiet”. We’d done a furniture removal and we could have removed all of the stuff out of my house with this van but it didn’t quite work out like that with people not being able to keep to a timetable and likely to run off or something like that. I ended up having to take the van back without moving my stuff but I’d removed the other person’s. It was 01:00 or 02:00 and I didn’t feel particularly like going to sleep so I’d done some some more stuff. But I’d made a mistake. I went to press the button on something but ended up pressing the doorbell and thought “God, I’ve awoken everyone in the apartment building now”. I carried on doing what I was doing. For some unknown reason a heavy lorry started up and drove away. I thought “I’m glad that’s not me waking the neighbourhood even more”. Then TOTGA came down and asked “are you going to come to bed or what?”. I had a little laugh and smile to myself and off I went upstairs. She’d changed all of the bedding in the bedroom so I made a remark about it. There was no room for me in the bed because of all these dogs and cats fighting their way around. Suddenly the alarm went off. I looked and it was only 05:00 instead of 07:00. I couldn’t remember how to switch off the alarm. In the end she had to come and do it for me and it was all. That was all very well – I’d lived in this place and she’d only been here half an hour, something like that. I went to get into bed and some of her cats were all curled up with my cats and it all looked like one big happy family until I got into bed when hers started to move. I thought “that’s just typical, isn’t it? It’ll take them a while to get used to me”.

So it wasn’t all bad then during the night. Not ‘arf it wasn’t.

First thing this morning (or what was left of the morning, should I say) was to make the booking for my trip to Leuven. And that’s not going to happen now either. All of the train across the border are cancelled and there’s just the repatriation trains. The one out is on Sunday and costs €155, which costs more than I usually pay for a return ticket. The one back is on Friday but I didn’t even check that.

In theory I suppose that I could drive there in Caliburn but it’s a long way and a lot of organisation so in the end I decided not to go.

They weren’t impressed when I rang them up to tell them but the way I see it, it was fine for them to annul my 4-weekly appointments for 9 months when it suited them so there’s no reason why I can’t annul a 4-weekly appointment for 4 weeks.

Time for hot chocolate and chocolate cake and then I could press on with work. And I’ve been doing another load of stuff of the arrears for my trip to Central Europe in the summer.

There were the usual interruptions during the day. Firstly of course there was lunch. And I do like my sourdough bread. I’m pleased with how it’s turned out although the shape leaves something to be desired. I need it to be taller and not as wide. But it’s no big worry – it’s all about learning as you go along and I’m doing plenty of that.

bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was also the pause this afternoon to go for my walk around the headland

It’s Wednesday of course so no brats out playing or orienteering this afternoon on the field at the back of the sports ground of the school. I can therefore take a photograph of the lawn and also of one of the bunkers of the old Atlantic Wall that are dotted about here.

That’s the one that they opened up about 18 months ago and about which there is some talk of transforming into a museum of the Atlantic Wall and, presumably, of the Resistance Fighters here.

Whether it will ever be a project that gets off the ground remains to be seen of course

ceres 2 new boat arriving in chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing else of very great importance going on I walked on around the headland and then ran all the way down the path (seeing as there was no-one about) to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

And it looks as if there is going to be a change of occupant in the chantier navale today. We have one of the little inshore seafood harvesting boats being winched up out of the sea by the portable boat lift.

You can see that it’s only just come up out of the sea, with all of the water that’s dripping off it. And yet there’s a van parked by it and workmen who look as if they are inspecting something on the port side. So maybe it’s been in a collision with a rock or a mermaid or something.

And that reminds me. A short while ago I asked one of the local fishermen if he knew the ideal vital statistics of a mermaid. He replied “36 – 24 – €9:99 per kilo”

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not all of the excitement going on down there this afternoon either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I mentioned the other day that there was a pile of equipment down on the quayside in the loading bay for the Channel Island freighters and so I expected one of them to be putting in an appearance some time soon.

And so it looks as if today is the day because Thora is down there this afternoon and by the looks of things she’s not long come into port. And I’m glad that I got to see her because with the rapid turnover that we’ve been having just recently I might otherwise have missed her.

And then you lot would be moaning on at me to improve my aim.

trawler cap lihou port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there looking at Thora into port came another one of our old favourites.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the trawler Cap Lihou was up on blocks i the chantier navale for what seemed like eternity this summer. But here she is today, just having unloaded at the fish processing plant and now heading into the inner harbour.

But I headed off back home for a hot coffee and to carry on with some work. But my friend with Covid (or who had Covid, should I say) was on line so we had quite a chat again.

Anything to keep up her morale. It’s very important that she keeps a positive outlook. And in any case, I happen to like her.

My hour on the guitar was another one that was very enjoyable – playing along on the bass and singing to a few Hendrix numbers that I used to play in a group in which I played all those years ago, and then later playing lead guitar solos to “Riding The Waves” and “Whisky In The Jar”. I’m still rubbish at bar chords though.

Tea was an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit out of the freezer followed by more raspberry and custard tart. And this worked so well that it’s going to be added tot the menu for future reference.

Just as I was about to go out for my evening runs Rosemary rang up and we ended up chatting for 2 hours and more yet again. By now it was far too late to go out, what with the curfew and all of that, so I’ll have to write that off tonight. I can’t rely on the coppers turning a blind eye too often.

So I’l lgo to bed, still later than I intended. Shopping tomorrow and there’s quite a list so I need to make an early start. But late as it is, I’m not relying on a 6:15 start. I really need to do better than this.

Tuesday 24th November 2020 – AFTER I’D FINISHED …

… my notes last night I went and kneaded my sourdough mixture. 6 hours it had stood and it certainly hadn’t doubled in size, but there it was.

After kneading it for a good 10 minutes I could feel the change in texture so something was definitely working but I carried on nevertheless and after about 15 minutes of so I wrapped it in a well-floured tea towel and put it in a pyrex bowl to leave it overnight.

And after all that excitement I ended up going to bed at about 00:30 which is bad news as far as I’m concerned, but good news is that I actually managed to beat the third alarm to my feet. I’m not quite sure what’s happening here at all.

Stuff on the dictaphone too. Despite just 5.5 hours sleep I’d managed to find the time to go off on my travels. However, I know that many of you are of delicate sensibility and the rest of you are probably having a meal right now, so I’ll spare you all the gory details. Some of this stuff is colourful, to say the least.

So off to check on the sourdough as soon as I’d had my medication.

It hadn’t doubled in size through the night either but anyway, it’s had all of the resting that it’s going to have. I switched on the oven, put the lid over the pyrex bowl, turned it upside-down so that the dough fell into the lid (having well-floured the lid beforehand), removed the tea-towel, put the bowl back on (with the unit still upside-down) and put it in the oven full-on.

After half an hour I took off the bowl so that the bread remained in the lid (and it had risen somewhat too), scored the top of the bread to let out the steam and put it back into the oven for another half hour.

sourdough loaf Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t properly baked by then so I gave it another 15 minutes and when I took it out, it looked and smelt delicious.

One thing that I’ve learnt is that the bread is too small. It’s possibly the pyrex bowl that I’m using because the bread is not tall enough to be of much use. But the exciting part about all of this is that the bread was thoroughly delicious, light as a feather and completely aerated, and I wish that my normal bread would turn out this good.

It looks as if I’ll have to use 500 grammes of flour for the next week and see where that takes me. But it’s a lot more optimistic than it was last night and I’ll be trying this again.

While the bread was baking, I copied out my notes for the Welsh and then revised for my course this morning.

The course passed quite quickly today but I’m still very dissatisfied with myself here. Stuff is going in one ear and right out of the other. I must have a teflon brain because nothing seems to stick to it.

Once the course had finished I had to track down a book. We’re going to start reading a novel and although the tutor offered to send it to me page by page in a *.pdf I really could do with a version of my own. And eventually I managed to find one at quite a democratic price, and also a copy of our course book. Maybe it’s someone who did the course last year who doesn’t want to carry on or who wants to release some cash.

That meant a rather late lunch. I couldn’t wait to attack my bread and as I have said, it really was excellent and I’ll be doing that again, I reckon. But in a different mould to make a better shape.

lighthouse cap frehel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith that out of the way it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk, bumping into one of my neighbours on the way out.

It was cold outside this afternoon, and I do mean cold. It won’t be long before I have to start to put my woolly hat on my woolly head when I go out. But the air was really clear and we could see for miles today. The view of the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel on the right of the image has never been clearer.

It’s very difficult to believe that it’s about 70 kms away when you see it in a photo like this.

seafarers monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last couple of days we’ve spent some time round at the Seafarer’s Memorial.

There have been a few changes there since I came back from Belgium, and there have been a few more today by the looks of things. The flowers that we saw there last time have all been swept away and there are a few wreaths now that have appeared this morning.

At first I thought that it might be something to do with the anniversary of one of the tragedies that are commemorated thereupon, but they are dated December and January – I did check as I said that I would.

So I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s clearly significant

sun reflecting off sea baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve seen a photo of the Brittany coast right down as far as Cap Fréhel and how clear things were looking today in that direction.

We’ve also seen just recently a couple of photos of the reflection of the sun shining onto the sea over on the Brittany coast round by Cancale. So today, we had the lot. It’s not as impressive as the view that we had a week or so but the colour of the sky is especially interesting. It brings out really well the silhouette of the skyline if Cancale way in the distance.

And so I moved on. Next stop was the chantier navale

ceres 2 chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that we saw yesterday was the mobile boat lift in the Chantier Navale in position round by Ceres 2 as if it was about to pick her up and drop her into the water.

But clearly not. The lift has now gone back to her usual position and Ceres 2 is still where she was on the blocks. So I don’t know what was happening there either now.

Nothing else worth talking about this afternoon. I’m sure that you aren’t interested in seeing any more photos of the pathetic parking at the school. Rather later than usual, I came on back for a coffee.

Liz was on line when I returned, and so was my friend who had the Covid, so we ended up having a good lengthy chat for a while. Liz gave me a few pointers about cooking and told me how to cook my butternut squash in order to make a decent soup (that’s Thursday’s task) and my other friend and I had a good chat about Chester, where I lived for a couple of years in the early 70s after I ran away from home.

This evening I was carried away on the bass guitar and ended up having a big bass session for my hour’s worth of playing around. Not like me, but I was enjoying myself so much with the numbers that I was playing.

Tea was a burger on a bap followed by my custard tart. And I’m impressed with how that turned out for an ad-hoc thrown-together dessert. I’ll have to do that again some time, only properly.

All of this was followed by a mega-washing-up session. There was plenty to do and now that the draining board is full, I’ll have to finish off tomorrow morning.

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd later than usual (very much later in fact) I was able to go for a run. And even though it was way past curfew time and I was the only one out there, the police car that drove past me totally ignored me.

And so in stages as usual I ran down the Rue du Nord and then along the footpath underneath the walls. The sky was still quite clear and Donville les Bains was looking very bright in the distance, so taking my time, I took a photo of it.

It needed about 3 or 4 shots to take the photo that I wanted, but all the same it’s ended up coming out quite well. And once I’d taken it I carried on with my run.

place des corsaires Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much happening at the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch either.

To take a photo of something interesting I had to walk round to take a photo of the Place des Corsaires and take a photo of what there is down there, with the Rue Lecampion in the background. I’m getting to the stage where I’m running out of interesting things to photograph.

Mind you, the problem is the lack of light, because I would have loved to have had a photograph of the look on the face of the woman talking on her mobile phone in the Square Maurice Marland when I ran past. I took her completely by surprise and she must have least three feet into the air.

After my walk around the rest of the walls I ran on home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to have a good day’s work. But as well as that I have to book my next journey to Leuven. I’m going on Monday but nothing is arranged as yet. I can see me walking to Leuven and sleeping under a bridge if I’m not careful.

Monday 23rd November 2020 – REGULAR READERS …

police interaction bad parking boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… of this rubbish will recall that one of the things that I moan on about from time to time is the question of bad parking.

In the Boulevard Vaufleury round about school chucking-out time it’s particularly bad as people would rather block off the street and prevent the school buses and the service buses passing rather than make their precious little darlings walk an extra 20 metres to the large free car par park just across the road.

And here today is the local police force giving a “Hail Columbia” on the loud hailer to two women (because they are both women) parked opposite each other, the white one with all four wheels on the road and the black one with two wheels on the pavement, combining to block the entire street and one of the two pavements to just about everyone who might be going past.

And that’s good news as far as I am concerned.

What else that is good news is the fact that when the third alarm went off this morning I was already in the kitchen sorting out my tablets. And that’s a long time since that has happened.

After having had the medication I cracked on with this week’s radio programme. And by the time I stopped for lunch it was all done, completed and ready to go. And apart from the fact that I stopped for my hot chocolate and slice of chocolate cake (which isn’t half as bad as I was expecting it to be) I would have finished it earlier had there not been a power cut round about 09:30 which meant that I lost whatever work I hadn’t saved since I’d backed it up a short while earlier.

In actual fact, it’s all worked out really well and it’s certainly one of the better ones that I’ve done. Unfortunately, I missed out the fact that I should have been doing a live concert, so I’ll have to deal with that probably later on this week.

As for my chocolate cake, the bottom is rather burnt and the rest of the outside is overcooked whereas the centre is rather heavy and slightly undercooked. That implies that the oven was too warm but the cooking time was not long enough. It’s not as much of a disaster as I was thinking and it’s hopeful for the future.

After lunch, I had a listen to the programme that I’d recorded this morning ans also to the live concert that I had prepared a few weeks ago for this weekend. And it seems that in the past I had already edited the part that I felt needed attention so I could relax.

While that was going on, I had a listen to the dictaphone. to see where I’d been during the night.

I was with a lady-friend of my acquaintance last night. We were a couple. Something had happened about a letter – there was an important letter to give to me and even though I wasn’t there she hadn’t realised about it so she said that she would take it. I ended up being back at home again on my own first and I had gone to the bathroom. I’d had a load of issue about closing the door to the bathroom but in the end I managed to do it. Just then she turned up and said “I have this important letter for you”. I was trying hard to pretend that I didn’t know that she had it. I said “ohh right”. She said “I’ll throw it over the top of the door”. I said “no, I’ll be out in a minute. You hang on to it”. So I went to sit on the toilet and she went into the kitchen. There was only a wire netting fence between the two so that you could see. She was getting out this envelope and then she got some cucumbers and cut them in half lengthways so that they were very long and thin and started scoring them to get them into some kind of cut, maybe about 10 to the inch, something like that all the way down this cucumber and then bent the skins inwards then she could trim all of the cucumber off at one go and have all of these half-slices at one go. Some other girl came along into the kitchen, picked up another half of a cucumber and started to do the same thing so I wondered what on earth was going on here now with this other girl. What’s she doing here?

Later on I was on a tram in New York last night travelling up Edleston Road in Crewe when a couple of ticket inspectors climbed aboard to check tickets. I suddenly realised that I’d forgotten to buy a ticket. I had a search around in my pockets and found a ticket that I had used a couple of days previously so when the ticket inspector came to me I handed her the ticket. She had 2 or 3 tickets in her hand at the same time so she checked them, handed the 2 back to the other 2 people and said “I’ll be back in a minute” and wandered off up the tram. Just at that moment the tram reached the top of Edleston Road and of course I was planning to go off down Nantwich Road anyway so I took the opportunity to nip out at that tram stop and walk off down Nantwich Road and tried to think about how the tram system in New York worked – I certainly hadn’t put any of my tickets through any machines or anything like that while I’d been on the trams or so on. And then thinking that maybe it’s probably not a good idea to get a tram back home but to walk. At least it would save me going out for a walk later on at night. I’d have got my exercise in simply by walking home from Nantwich Road.

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

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound about the normal time I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As you can see from the photo they have made a start on replacing the slates on the roof, and that’s not something that I would fancy doing doing in this kind of weather. It was cold and windy although, admittedly, not as windy as it has been.

One thing that I ought to mention about the roofing task is that a couple of weeks ago while I was in Leuven one of the workmen fell from the roof and was seriously injured. They actually had the helicopter air ambulance in the car park here to take the injured party to hospital.

cloud formation ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I’ve already mentioned the weather just now, I went over to the sea wall to look out to sea in order to see what might be going on out to sea.

There were no boats out there at sea today which was a shame, but what had caught my eye was the beautiful cloud formation out there in the centre of the photograph just beyond and to the left of the Ile de Chausey. There have been quite a few good ones just recently, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

No brats out there today orienteering so I pushed on round to then end of the headland to see if there is anything going on round there too, but there was disappointment there too. I’ve never known it to be so quiet.

ceres 2 portable boat lift chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, there was something going on at the chantier navale as I was to discover when I arrived at the viewpoint overlooking the port.

While there was no change in the actual occupancy of the chantier navale but as we can see, the mobile boat lift has now moved from its usual position over the docking area to a position right by Ceres II as if it’s about to pick up the little boat and drop her into the water at the next high tide.

Having spent a few minutes watching the excitement in the Boulevard Vaufleury with the Police interaction, I came on home because there were things to do.

The sourdough was bubbling away quite nicely so I cleared all of the workplace, cleaned the worktop and started to make some sourdough dough. And it’s a real time-consuming process too – much more than I was expecting and the standing time is quite lengthy too.

While I was at it, I prepared the next batch of kefir.

5 of my batch of clementines were peeled, put in the whizzer and slightly whizzed round to extract the juice. This was filtered through into the large jug and the pulp was put back into the whizzer, whizzed for a good five minutes and filtered through again.

clementine kefir Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe kefir was then filtered through the filters and the clementine pulp into the jug and then it was stirred round to mix together. I’d left an inch or two of liquid in my big pot with the kefir starter in, and prepared a new batch with sugar, lemon slices and a dried fig and, or course, a couple of litres of water.

The clementine/orange mix was then filtered through the fine mesh filter into the bottles and that will now be left to ferment for a few days until it’s ready for use.

With having used some nice, juicy clementines, I’m intrigues to see how it’s all going to turn out. The big idea of course is to use whatever fruit is handy and in season to make your kefir.

The hour on the guitar was quite enjoyable too and I’m finding that my singing and playing the bass is improving, although I have to keep the bass lines much les complicated than I otherwise would and I can only let myself go during the solos. But at least it’s quite an improvement over where I was a few months ago. I just have to persevere.

Tea was a vegan burger with pasta and vegetables followed by a slice of my raspberry tart, which likewise hasn’t turned out too badly. The custard Filling worked particularly well.

st martin de brehal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut on my walk tonight, I was all alone yet again so I could run as much as I wanted, which was not as much as I would like, but nevertheless …

It was a cold, clear, bright night with a good view all the way down the coast so when I stopped at the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord I took a photograph of all of the street lights on the promenade down at Saint Martin de Bréhal and further along the coast at Bréhal-Plage.

having dealt with that, I ran down to the footpath underneath the walls and then ran all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was nothing going on at the Place Marechal Foch so I went over to see what was happening in the Rue Paul Poirier.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days ago we saw that the Christmas lights had been installed down in the street and I was rather hoping that they might have been switched on by now. But that wasn’t to be the case. It seems that we’ll have to wait for that to happen, whenever that might be.

There was quite a strong headwind as I ran across the Square Maurice Marland and it was something of a struggle to fight against it. But I made it all the way to the end, despite giving the girl sitting on the wall in the dark quite a surprise.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallContinuing along the medieval walls I heard a sound coming from the harbour as if there was an engine running somewhere.

It looks as if they are doing something with Victor Hugo. All of her lights are on and it seems that the engine was running too. What’s going on there is something that remains to be seen, but I do know that there are no plans to resume the ferry service to the Channel Islands in the near future.

From there I ended up at the Place du Parvis Notre Dame and from there I ran on home to write up my notes for the day.

Now that’s done, I have to knead my sourdough dough. It’s been standing for five hours instead of the recommended three but it still hasn’t doubled in size. Nevertheless I’ll give it a go and put it in its mould and leave it overnight ready for the morning when I’ll bung it in the oven.

In view of its lack of energy so far, I’m not convinced by the sourdough procedure. I’ll try three or four loaves but unless there’s something dramatic it’s an experiment with which I may not continue. At least the kefir and the cordial (this batch of orange cordial is delicious) are working.

But that’s for tomorrow. After I’ve kneaded the dough I’m going to bed. I have my Welsh letter tomorrow.

Sunday 22nd November 2020 – I KNOW THAT …

… Sunday is a Day of Rest, but I do have to say that 12:30 is taking this to absurd lengths. So much so that I’m giving serious thought to setting an alarm for 10:00 on a Sunday morning just to remind myself that I have plenty of other things that need doing during the day too.

I could easily understand it if I hadn’t gone to bed until 05:00 or 06:00 (which has sometimes been the case) but going to bed at 23:30 is early by my standards. All I can say is that I must have been tired.

Plenty of time for me t go on a variety of travels, and so it comes as something of a surprise to learn that last night I didn’t go all that far. I’d been in France with Terry and we had to come back to the UK. Terry had his motorbike so we decided that we would go back on his motorbike. I remember that for some reason I was sitting on the front seat but he was sitting on the rear but he was driving. We made sure that we had absolutely everything and we set off. In no time at all we ended up back in Crewe and I don’t remember anything about the journey back except for tiny bits here yet we must have gone on the ferry, we must have stopped for fuel, all this kind of thing and surely did I fall asleep on the motorbike? He replied “yes, it took up 5 hours to come back”. I thought that that was absolutely astonishing. Anyway I ended up at home and had a few letters to post. I thought “I can do that tomorrow” so I went to the Bridge Inn at Audlem to see Alan Findlay. He wasn’t there so I thought that I’d take Liz Ayers with me there because there’s a woman in the bar who was her spitting image and it would be interesting to see their reactions if they were to see each other. But she didn’t come and this woman was looking more like Liz all the time. Then I met another couple of women who looked like her as well. I thought “God, if only Liz had been here this ould have been great”. I eventually tracked Alan Findlay down at his house and did what I had to do. That was when Liz had committed suicide and that was totally astonishing and the thought came over that she had had such a good time in France that to go back to the UK was bound to be an issue particularly with the health problem that she had.

But all of this is certainly weird. Liz Ayers popping up during the night and also Alan Findlay, a name from the past about 45 years ago and about whom I haven’t really thought all that much (if anything) ever since then.

So having wasted half a day there wasn’t really all that much to say about today. By the time that I’d sat down by the computer it was 13:00 and by the time that the paperwork was done it was about 14:00. That didn’t leave me much time because at 15:00 I had a Zoom meeting.

One of my friends, Jem Stuart, is an established poet and it was the launch of his latest book of poetry “No Limericks Left Overnight In This vehicle” today and he was having a “Zoom” party to celebrate. His sister has been a friend of mine for about 50 years ever since she was dating a friend of mine at school and so I’ve been following his career with some interest since we made contact again about 5 years ago. There were about 20 of us there and we had a good chat while he read some of his poems and told us a little story about them.

contemplating the ocean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat took me up to walkies time. Rather later than usual, but never mind.

There were several people out there walking around, and a group of them were pointing at something out on the rocks. At first I thought that it was a cormorant or a heron perched upon a rock but in actual fact, having enlarged the photo on returning home, I could see that it was someone quietly contemplating the state of the nation.

Not that I have too much time to do anything like that of course. If I’m not sleeping I’m working and I don’t really have the time to sit and relax. There are only so many hours in the day, and so many days in the year. And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I don’t have many of them left. I want to get up-to-date before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

lighthouse sunset pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd so accordingly I continued on my way along the path on top of the cliffs.

It was so late when I went out that the sun was on the verge of setting. A far cry from the days when I’d be out at 21:30 and 22:00 and the sun was still visible in the sky. The sun was so low in the sky that it had plunged the reverse side of the lighthouse into pitch-black.

There’s a project simmering away in the back of my head right now and I need a photo like this to illustrate a point that I will be making. So no time like the present.

sunset cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound at the end of the Pointe du Roc on the headland overlooking the Baie de Mont St Michel and the town of Cancale over on the Brittany coast, the view was even better.

What was really nice was seeing the church at Cancale (on the horizon on the left of the image) and the Ile des Landes (on the right) silhouetted right in the full light of the sun as it was shining through the hole in the clouds over there.

In actual fact, the whole effect was quite pleasing, in a different way from the other day when the sun was higher in the sky.

From there I tried a little run along the path on the clifftop on the other side but encountered only too soon a group of other people so I slowed down to a sedate walk and came on home.

Back here, it was time for baking and I do have to say that it was not a success. In fact, probably my first culinary disaster. The pie base worked well enough, and so did the apple turnover with the rest of the pastry. But the Chocolate brownie mix that I tried went totally wrong. it said “bake for a maximum 30 minutes” but I’d only made about 3/4 of the mixture and as the oven is rather unreliable I put the time at 35 minutes and 15°C over. Even so, when I pulled out the cake mould to check it at the end, I poured half of the liquid all over the floor.

Even 70 minutes didn’t bake it thoroughly so I dunno. I know that my oven isn’t up to much but I would have expected it to have been better than this. I’ll have to write it off to experience.

It goes without saying that, once more, there wasn’t time to make a sourdough loaf. I might start that tomorrow after I finish my radio recording if there is time.

Tea was a vegan pizza of course. I attacked that with gusto and it was good enough, and so I checked the pie base into which I had added the fresh raspberries and agar-agar before tea. And that hadn’t set either. In the end I resorted to some very thick custard to complete the task.

All in all, not a very good cookery day today. Instead I went out for a run, far later than usual as I was running really late, what with one thing or another.

rue jules michelet avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhat was good about this was that there was no-one else around so I could run to my heart’s content, at least, as far as my health will let me. And my fourth leg brought me as usual to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch. We’ve seen a few photos from here just recently, but I don’t think that we’ve seen the back of the square.

On the immediate left is what I think might have been an old hotel but is now a Convalescent home (in which, apparently are several Covid patients brought from elsewhere) and to the right is the Rue Jules Michelet, probably the steepest street in France I reckon.

Just imagine what it must have been like trying to take a horse and cart up there 150 years ago. Today, traffic goes up the serpentine Avenue de la Liberation to the right and cover three times the distance to arrive at the same spot.

tree square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route home includes a trip through the Square Maurice Marland.

By the memorial to Maurice Marland, which regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing on numerous occasions, there’s a solitary tree which has some lights set in the ground around it. Today those lights were actually illuminated and the effect was so eerie that I stopped to take a photo of it.

No-one about calling their dogs tonight so after I finished my walk around the walls I ran on home, rather late.

So despite it being still a little early and that I had a late start to the day, I’m off to bed. Back to work tomorrow and I really must press on instead of idling about like I seem to be doing these days.

There’s a radio show to do of course, and I need tocheck on another one that is due to be broadcast because I think that I need to make some changes to it.

And bread to bake too, and maybe something else if my chocolate cake has turned out to be a total failure.

It’s all go around here, isn’t it? When was the last time that I sat down to read a book or watch a film? I really can’t remember, it was so long ago.

Saturday 21st November 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change, I managed to beat the third alarm to my feet.

And not only is that a surprise in itself, it’s even more surprising when you consider that I didn’t go to bed until long after 01:30.

It goes without saying that I didn’t go anywhere during the night. There probably wasn’t enough time to do very much anyway so it was something of a restful sleep for what it was. And I do have to say that when the third alarm went off I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor, and that’s as good as it got for about half an hour.

This morning I finished going through my mailbox and a pile of stuff has bitten the dust – and quite right too. It’s down to a much-more manageable proportion now.

As well as that I was chatting to my friend with Covid (well, she doesn’t have it now of course) and doing some work on the arrears from my journey around Central Europe. And then, I … errr … fell asleep. And no surprise there after my early start.

After lunch I didn’t do the baking. After all if I’m baking tomorrow as well I may as well have a go at my cake then and use the oven for everything.

But there was football on quite early today too. Barry Town and Y Drenewydd played out an exciting, pulsating 0-0 draw. Yes, exciting, not like most 0-0 draws. The action flowed from one end to the other throughout, ably assisted by Cheryl Foster, the league’s female referee. We had several shots on goal, including one almighty whack from; Nat Jarvis that rattled the Newtown woodwork, but the defences were well on top in this game. Quite an enjoyable game all around.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was extremely late and going dark but nevertheless I went out for my afternoon walk.

Surprisingly there were a few people out there this afternoon and some of them were heading my way as I admired the lighthouse and the semaphore station out on the end of the Pointe du Roc. And of course, that would have to be my luck, wouldn’t it? Not many people around, but all of them right where I would ordinarily be running.

And so instead, dodging the dog, I had a sedate stroll up to the end of the track, across the car park and around the headland to see what was going on at the memorial to the lifeboatmen.

decorated seafarers monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day they sprinkled fresh gravel all around it to make it look pretty.

Today there seem to have been even more changes. The memorial has now grown a few huge bunches of flowers. It would be to commemorate something I imagine but what, I don’t know. I shall have to go tomorrow and check the dates of the sinkings that are recorded there.

What with nothing else whatever going on out there this afternoon, I headed for home and a hot coffee. And such are the way of things around here right now that I switched on the kettle, went for a gypsy’s and then headed for the office, completely forgetting to make the coffee.

Tea tonight was something of a fry-up of vegetables and vegetable balls, in the microwave fryer that Rachel gave me last year. It’s actually too big for the microwave but if I take out the round plate, put a support over the rotator and put the fryer on that so that it doesn’t turn round, it does actually fit.

It takes ages though, so there was plenty of time to make some cheese sauce too. And it was all followed down by the last of the apple crumble. Tomorrow I’m going to have yet another attempt at a fruit tart with agar-agar

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was the cue to go out for my evening runs. And it was just as well that I was all alone out there because for some reason I wasn’t on my best form and my running was rather bizarre.

Have I taken a photo of the Rue du Nord from this point before? I don’t think so, and so I’ll put that right. This is the resting point after the second leg of my runs, the first being right down at the end of that shot. There’s quite a steep bank behind me and I can’t run up there. It brings me to a shuddering halt.

From here I ran on down the path underneath the walls and all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch where we take our photos of the sea breaking onto the Plat Gousset.

place marechal foch Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was absolutely nothing of any excitement here either.

With nothing else to do, I took a photo of the end of the Place nearest the street and then headed for home, running across the Square Maurice Marland.

At one of the houses at the end I encountered a woman. She had let her dog out to take itself off for a walk but instead of coming back home it was simply sitting there by the side of the road and she was trying everything to make it move, but with no success.

After an exchange of pleasantries I continued my walk around the walls and then ran on the rest of the way home.

For a change I’m going to have an early night. And then a nice long lie-in to get myself together for what I have to do tomorrow – like bake a cake, bake a tart, start off the sourdough bread etc etc. And to book my voyage to Belgium, something that I forgot to do today. I really must organise myself.

Friday 20th November 2020 – DOESN’T CALIBURN …

new bodywork caliburn Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… look smart with his new bodywork all finished off?

Mind you, he ought to at the price that it cost me for the work. Before he gave me the bill, the garage proprietor asked me if he should fetch the defibrillator, and when I saw the cost, I wished that he had.

But there’s a 5-year guarantee on the body repairs and that will see Caliburn and I go out together. No-one has ever lived longer than 11 years with this illness and although it was only 5 years ago that I was diagnosed with it, I reckon that I had it for a good while before then. I remember CLIMBING UP TO THE CHATEAU DE MONTSEGUR in early 2014 and being totally wiped out in a situation that I would have run up without any problem a couple of years previously.

new bodywork caliburn Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s no reason to dispose of Caliburn and have something else for whatever time remains. A new vehicle wouldn’t be worth it at all and if I were to buy something second-hand, who knows what I’d end up with?

What I need to do now is to attend to the wheels. He’ll need two tyres on the front sometime soon, and I have two old wheels in the back. I’ll clean those up and paint them and have winter tyres fitted, and then with the two that I take off, I’ll clean and paint them and have new tyres fitted on there too.

But I’m not impressed with the broken mirror though. That’s “disappointing” to say the least.

Something else that’s disappointing is that I missed the third alarm. What makes me feel even worse about that is that after the second one had gone off I remember saying to myself that I’ll beat the third one easily seeing as I’m so wide awake.

Oh Folly! Folly! As the late-lamented Stanley Unwin would have said.

First thing to do was to listen to the dictaphone.

There was a whole group of us looking at a map of the Far North of Russia. One of my friends was there and we were pointing out where we’d been on our famous trip to the North, although she was getting it wrong so I was having to show her on the map a lot better than she was guessing where we’d been. Another friend was there as well having a good look. We were talking about our journey, all this kind of thing very much in the same sense as we did about a dream quite a while ago when we were out in the High Arctic. I went to get my things. I had a tray with coffee and a jug of tomato juice, a few other bits and pieces. As I picked up the tray off the table the jug brushed the kitchen cupboard overhanging it and knocked it over. The tomato juice went everywhere. I just put the tray down in despair because I knew that this had really happened to me before and it’s going to happen to me again. It’s always the case when I’m in a rush – I have to do 3 jobs instead of 1. There was much to it than this but I can’t remember now – something to do with the taxis as well. I was having to go out on the taxis later but it was getting late and no-one had rung me. We were bound to be busy because it was a Saturday night and I’d have to go out. But I thought “who was going to take over on the radio?” This kind of thing. Then I thought that Nerina isn’t here either. She’s still away somewhere but she’ll be coming back and be stuck in the office. Maybe she could do the radio but I don’t know anything more about that.

Some other time during the night I had a computer and I was trying to do something. We were looking at this home video of someone’s bedroom and marvelling at the old selection of electronic and electrical appliances that there were back in the 70s and 80s that we don’t see now. Later on I had my computer coupled up to a reel-to-reel tape recorder. I was recording tracks that I was picking up on the internet radio onto that with the idea of editing them afterwards with Audacity or something. The idea was that once everything was stored onto master tapes it can be copied onto CD and filed away. I was having to work out how this was going to work

After the medication I carried on with a task that I started yesterday and hadn’t mentioned. There were almost 250 unread e-mails in my mailbox, some of which were going back to the early summer, as well as a whole pile of ones that I’d already read and which were now serving no useful purpose except to waste space.

Consequently I’ve been going through them yesterday and today, dealing with a pile of stuff that I should have dealt with a long time ago and there is still some to do. And a few more people will have a surprise over the next few days when they start to receive replies to messages that I sent out months ago.

Something else that required attention was to ring up a certain telephone number in the UK. Between 1972 and 1974 I worked for an Insurance Company in the UK and I was wondering whether I might be entitled to a pension payment in this respect. It took me ages to track down who I should speak to because the company has changed hands a few times since then but I eventually managed to speak to someone who reckoned that he could help me.

In the end it turned out that because I

  • was under 30
  • worked there for less than 5 years

There was nothing for me at all. But still, it was worth the phone call simply to find out.

It’s hardly a surprise that after all of this I crashed out on the chair for half an hour. And a really deep one too, just like the ones that I was having a week or two ago. Just recently, if I have crashed out at all, it’s just been drifting off for 5 or 10 minutes or so.

pearl trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter lunch I headed off to pick up Caliburn – yes, I’d telephoned the garage too to see if he was ready.

Down in the harbour there was a trawler that I don’t recall seeing (although I must have done, I suppose) before. She’s registered in Cherbourg and she’s called “Le Pearl”, and proudly displays on her superstructure the fact that she comes from Granville

She’s quite a pretty craft, and by the looks of things she’s fairly new too so maybe she really is new and has replaced an older one that has been put out to grass somewhere. She’s only been mentioned in shipping records since 20th October this year.

We’ll have to see if there’s anything in the papers about it.

material on quayside for loading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along in the harbour, there are signs of activity at the loading bay underneath the crane.

A whole pile of builders’ material is now there ready for loading. It looks as if one of the Jersey freighters is going to be coming back into port very shortly to take it all away.

The next question is not “which one will it be?” but “will I get to see it?”. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen just recently a really rapid turnround of the ships and we’ve probably missed more than we have seen since they have begun to extricate their digits

electricians installing christmas lights cours jonville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallI pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … into town on my way to the garage, but I only got as far as the Cours Jonville before I stopped again.

Regular readers of this rubbish will also recall that we’ve seen the Christmas decorations pushing up like mushrooms all over the town. Here I was lucky enough to stumble upon a couple of Council workmen with a cherry-picker who were busily stringing up a collection of fairy lights around a few of the trees down here.

Leaving them to it, I pushed on along the Boulevard Louis Dior (and forgot to take the photo of the alley yet again) and up the steps at the end, past the railway station and out of town.

chateau d'eau st nicolas Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s a long, weary trudge all the way out of town but I was determined to do it on foot as a form of good exercise, and I’m glad that it wasn’t very warm.

Past the centre of St Nicolas and into the countryside and here at the roundabout on the edge of town is the water tower that we have seen in the background of so many photos. I quite like this water tower. usually they are simply slabs of dull-grey concrete but with this one they have made an effort to try to make it blend into the environment.

By now, I’m well in the countryside and still a kilometre or two to go.

hen in the road rue des drakkars Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever I wasn’t alone on my travels.

There is a housing estate on the very edge of the town beyond the roundabout and here standing on the corner watching the world go by is a chicken. What he’s doing here I really don’t know but seeing as he near to a pedestrian crossing he might be trying to cross the road.

And as for why he would want to do that, it’s anyone’s guess.

At the garage they clearly have more faith in me than I have because they had left Caliburn parked in the street Had I had a spare pair of keys I could simply have driven away.

And I made rather a fool of myself in here by complaining that they had set the Controle Technique to expire in July, before I realised that I had been looking at the insurance sticker.

Having paid the bill and recovered from the shock, I went down to Leclerc for the weekend shopping, where I spent a fortune.

One thing that I like about the end of the grape season is that it’s the start of the clementine season and I can polish those off just as quickly as I can polish off grapes.

With not having bought any heavy stuff for ages the bill was somewhat elevated but a lot of that can be blamed on the soya milk that was in three-packs on special offer. My mid-morning hot chocolate gets me through a lot of that.

And interestingly, when I arrived at rhe checkout I found that I had a pile of ham in my trolley. Somewhere along the line I had picked up the wrong trolley and had to retrace my steps until I found mine

Ohhh! The exciting times that we lead these days!

Back here I made a start on the arrears, still getting nowhere rather fast. This isn’t doing me any good at all.

The hour on the guitars was successful again – I enjoyed it just as much as yesterday – and for tea I had a burger that needed eating with some pasta followed by apple crumble.

Just as I was about to go out on my run, Rosemary phoned for a chat. And 2 hours and 48 minutes later we stopped. We had a lot to say.

23:15 is far too late to go out for a run so I was glad that I’d had the marathon walk this afternoon.

Tomorrow I’m going to try my hand at baking seeing as I’ve finished off the banana bread. See what damage I can do to a chocolate cake. But that’s for later. I’m off to bed.

Thursday 19th November 2020 – I FORGOT …

… to mention last night that my great little niece (or is it my little great niece) Amber has been offered a place at the nest University in the World. So well done her. I know that you will be ready for Antigonish, but will Antigonish be ready for you?

And well done me too. Just for a change I managed to haul myself out of bed before the third alarm. It was touch and go – I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor when it went off, but at least it counts as “up”.

And plenty of stuff on the dictaphone too. Some friends and I – Hans in Germany was one – were planning on going out to the High Arctic last night on a voyage and needed to research as much information as we could. I noticed on my friends list that there was a woman who was an Arctic explorer who had been with us on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR during one of our trips and I’d get in touch with her. I typed her a message asking her if she could contact me some time and posted it off. I expected a reply in about a month. 2 minutes later I noticed that there was a message on my screen and she said “hello” in nice argotic Danish. I replied in English again and told her who I was and that we’d been together and that I was planning to go to the High Arctic. She said “well done, that’s very nice and challenging, all that kind of thing. I was on the point of mentioning that we’d been together and that I’d be requiring certain information but then I suddenly awoke.

There was something too about going off on our holiday, camping somewhere and a couple of young girls wanted to come with us too. One was a tall, thin girl with her hair in two plaited braids down the front of her body. And I’d loved to have known where that was going to go.

After the meds and the dictaphone I had a shower and then went out to the shops.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd, as seems to be usual I didn’t get too far before I ground to a sudden halt.

We have a visitor in the harbour this morning. Thora, the smaller of the two Channel Island freighters, has come into port on the tide to do a quick aller-retour with a pile of freight. She certainly wasn’t in port last night anyway while I was walking around the headland.

And excuse the somewhat blurred photo. Once more, I forgot about the strange focusing of the NIKON 1 J5 – it seems to focus on the nearest object rather than on the depth of field when the settings button has changed and I haven’t noticed.

So I planned to take another photo on the way back.

puky childs' bike Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I walked past here the other day I noticed these bikes parked up here in the Boulevard Aristide Briand.

And I’m glad that they are still here this week so I can photograph them, because II have to say that I don’t think too much of the kiddie’s bike either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that years ago I vowed never to make fun of people’s translations into English as mine into a foreign language are even worse. But in view of globalisation, professional organisations ought to be very careful and pay good money to make sure that their products are marketable throughout the whole world.

Lidl was packed and to make matters worse, the entrance door was under repair so we had to fight our way in past the tills. I didn’t want much so I needn’t really have gone out, except that the walk once a week does me good. I didn’t buy very much, except they had a punnet of raspberries at €0:99. It was worth that for an experiment to see if they would go nicely in my next batch of kefir.

There were butternut squash too, so I bought one, and I’ll try to contact Liz to pinch her recipe for butternut squash soup and I’ll give that a try.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way back to the apartment I went past the harbour to retake the photo of Thora.

But to my surprise, she had gone! That was what I would call a quick turnround. It’s hardly any surprise that I haven’t seen her very much if she’s been in and out as quickly as this today.

But there moored underneath the crane right now is Chausiais and she’s being loaded up too. It looks as if there’s a nice load ready to go out to the Ile de Chausey later this morning. But she’ll need to be quick if she wants to get out while there’s still enough tide here and on the island. That’s not always very evident.

Back here I made a sort-of desultory start on dealing with the arrears from my trip around Europe. Only a desultory one though. For some reason, despite the early start and the exercise I wasn’t feeling in the mood.

Lunch was a little later than usual, and then I had work to do. A pile of carrots needed peeling, dicing and blanching, and then the sourdough needed to be fed, as well as the pressure being relieved on the new kefir that’s fermenting. I was trying to get away from commitments like that.

On my walk this afternoon in the gale force wind I was accosted by a couple of the brats who asked me “have you seen a briefcase around here?” I replied that I’d only just arrived but then they cleared off before I had the chance to interrogate them about the orienteering or whatever it was that they were doing. That was a shame.

person taking photograph seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I’d been out last night I noticed that they’d laid a new bed of gravel around the monument to the lifeboatmen who have lost their lives.

Of course last night it was too dark to take a photo of it, so I planned to take it this afternoon. And my luck was in. Fate was certainly smiling down on me today because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, one thign that features on these pages almost as often as pathetic parking is photos of people taking photos.

Sure enough, a passer-by whipped out her phone to take a pic just as I was about to snap. Perfect timing, I reckon

lighthouse semaphore war memorial to the resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I had my equipment out I was having a good look around.

It occurs to me that while you may have seen a great many photos of the lighthouse, the semaphore and the War memorial to the Resistance fighters, you haven’t seen them in a photo all together, and certainly not from this kind of angle. And so I duly obliged and it all came together rather well. It’s a shame, though, that the flagpoles are obscured by the large tree in the centre of the image.

From here, I let the gale-force wind blow me home to a nice hot mug of coffee. I was certainly ready for it and no mistake.

This evening I really enjoyed myself on the guitar. For the bass, I picked 6 numbers that I knew fairly well and with some backing tracks I had a little concert, following which I did the same with the acoustic guitar. I can see that if I carry on I’ll have to get myself out there and look for a group, but this area is a bit barren when it comes to things like that.

Tea was a slice of frozen pie with veg, followed by more apple crumble.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on tonight I was on my own again outside.

My running was really difficult tonight because of the gale that was blowing. I had a push off down the road setting out but that was as good as it got. I struggled against the wind all the way down at the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch I could see that we were in for a rough time with the spray splashing about everywhere.

All in all I stood there for about 5 minutes and took several photos, without very much success because for some reason I was having blurring issues.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is the only other one that really worked, after a fashion. And I wouldn’t like to be those two people standing right there on the edge of the sea wall.

With no-one else about, I ran on home as best I could, even though for most of the way I was running into a roaring headwind. And once back here, I wrote up my notes for the day.

It’s much later now than it ought to be. I ended up having a good chat with my friend with the Covid and also with another one in the Borders of Scotland who is also having health issues – or, at least, different health issues.

But now I’m off to bed at long last. Tomorrow I need to find out about Caliburn and if he’s ready, go and pick him up, which shall hurt my bank balance enormously.

If he’s ready, I’ll go and do my weekend’s shopping tomorrow while I’m out and save myself a journey. And I mustn’t forget my travel arrangements for Leuven either. That’s come round quicker than I was expecting.

Wednesday 18th November 2020 – EEUURRGGHH!

Yes, I’m not quite sure what happened here but once more I slept right through the three alarms and I would probably still be asleep right now if the telephone hadn’t rung and awoken me from my slumber.

baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire a couple of photos of the brittany coast taken this evening , it was 09:25 it was when I left the bed and that’s something of a tragedy. It’s not as if I had a particularly late night last night, and although I was off on my travels during the night I didn’t go very far.

I wasn’t very well last night and I’d been at home. I was sitting quietly in the kitchen when someone knocked on the door. One of my sisters or someone went to see who it was. It turned out to be some one about whom I don’t care that much and can’t understand why he would be invading my nocturnal rambles when there are many more pleasant companions from whom I could choose were I able to. I didn’t realise who is was at first – I didn’t know – and my sister said “can he come in and see Eric?” I replied “yes, come in”. He came in with his wife, who is in the same category as he is and was clutching a workshop manual. He came over to me with it and said “I have this Jag and it has 3 airfoil fins underneath”. He pointed to them on the diagram, and said “I don’t think they are working properly while I travel because it(s a pig to handle at all and these airfoil fins should work a lot better”. They were underneath the car somewhere in between the wheels. He wanted me to help him or tell him which one it would be but it was something totally new that I had never come across before, this kind of wing on a motor vehicle and wasn’t sure whether I wanted to become involved in it. I know how these stories end. If it goes wrong it’s always your fault but it’s never to your credit when you fix it (and that’s the voice of bitter experience, isn’t it?).

baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on there was something about a football match with Pionsat playing and in a dispute the goalkeeper was sent off. Strangely, he was wearing n°3 on his shirt. Then there was a guy in a clothes shop and another guy came along but it was too late to go and look for him. And I’ve no idea at all about any of that.

By the time the room had stopped revolving and I’d been able to stand up and have my medicine it was already quite late. And with a pile of personal stuff that needed attention it was soon lunchtime and it didn’t feel as if I’d done a thing.

After lunch I rang up about Caliburn. “Ring back Friday morning” was the response. “I’m snowed under here”. So that was that. Then, as I mentioned yesterday there was some important stuff that needed attention. And not just one but two issues in fact. So I occupied myself with those and neither reached a very satisfactory conclusion. In fact, I’m rather disappointed by one and extremely disappointed (to say the least) by the other.

scaffolding roofing rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis was the moment to wander off for my afternoon walk.

For the last couple of nights I’d been seeing a dim orange light flashing away in the distance and I’d wondered what it was. For that reason this afternoon I headed into the old walled city to see what it might be. There’s plenty of roofing work going on in the town as we have seen over the last few months and it seems that there’s some more going on here now.

And I bet that it’s exciting watching some of the vehicles trying to negotiate their way past there, when we remember how they (didn’t) cope with the one further up the street.

fishing boats english channel ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day I was complaining about the absence of fishing boats out at sea.

Well, I’m not complaining today. Round at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord overlooking the English Channel and the Ile de Chausey I could see probably about a dozen or so of them out in mid-channel. There are five or six that I managed to capture in this photo alone.

What we’ll probably find, were we to look, is that the sea is zoned and they work their way around from patch to patch. Of course, for seafood of the swimming variety that’s not usually possible, but most of the catch here is of the crustacean variety and doesn’t move around so much.

medieval fish trap mussel beds beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallTalking of seafood of the crustacean variety, there’s a good view today of the mussel beds out offshore by Donville le Bains.

Incidentally, while we are on the subject of the mussel beds … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve seen reference to a paper of 1819 that mentions that the concessions for harvesting crustaceans goes back to an edict of 1816 to regulate the trade and prevent over-exploitation.

This paper is apparently freely available and I’ve an idea where I might find a copy. So one of these days when I have more time, whenever that might be, I’ll track down a copy and have a read. It should be interesting.

birds medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn that photo just now you also saw a photo of the medieval (at least I assume that it’s medieval) fish trap.

Even though the human population of the area seems to have forsaken it, it seems that the animal kingdom has not. it was teeming with seabirds this afternoon, presumably helping themselves to a late lunch of all of the small fish that have been trapped the wrong side of the wall by the receding tide

But you can see how this all works. For centuries up to about 100 years or so the local peasant women would have been up to their knees in that water grabbing the fish with their bare hands or rudimentary nets to make sure that there was something for tea

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather was quite nice today, all things considering and there were one or two people walking about (usually just where I didn’t want to meet them).

No-one about on the beach though, which was surprising. The beach was looking absolutely beautiful, really pristine this afternoon in the cloudy sunshine and it was just the kind of weather that folk should have been taking advantage of it, particularly as it’s Wednesday afternoon and the brats are out of school.

Not for me though. It’s all very well going down the steps but I have to come back up them afterwards so I eschewed the opportunity. Instead I ran off along the Square Maurice Marland for part of the way until I bumped into a couple out for a walk so I slowed down to a more sedate and less embarrassing walk and made my way home again.

There was time to amend a page of the arrears from Germany before my guitar practice. And tonight I felt much more like it. And I ended up playing a lead guitar solo to “One Tree Hill” by U2. I’ve a long way to go before I’m Duane Allman but as Confucious says, the longest journey in the world begins with one step.

Tea tonight was a delicious burger on a bun with microwaved potato and veg followed by an apple crumble. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I really am eating well these days.

My runs out tonight were something of a disappointment and I think that if the weather doesn’t improve I’m going to abandon my evening run around the headland in the evening.

There was a howling gale that brought me to a sudden halt on four of my 6 legs tonight as I ran full-tilt into the teeth of a gale. There’s no shelter out there and with the wind gusting as wickedly as it is right now I catch the full force of it. At least underneath the walls there’s shelter of some sort.

You’ve seen the two photos of the Brittany coast that I took earlier. It was a gorgeous clear night and you could see for miles. Just the right kind of weather for taking out the tripod, except for the wind of course. This really is the windiest period that I’ve ever known. It’s been almost non-stop for 6 months.

ceres 2 chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Brittany photos were blown about in the wind – it’s impossible to do a hand-held long exposure in these conditions, but at least the photo of the chantier navale didn’t turn out too badly.

Ceres II and the yacht are still in there. It looks as if they have put down roots there and are making themselves comfortable for the duration. I decided to run on home and make myself comfortable there, so I ran off home as best as I could given the conditions.

Back here I was having a laugh with a friend of mine from Northern Ireland. We were discussing Brexit and he said “Chickens, voting for Christmas. Their goose is cooked!” And I couldn’t resist it. I retorted “and now they can get stuffed”.

So that’s me finished. It was a bad day today, so here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow. Getting up early might help. But it’s shopping day too so that’s the morning wasted. Still, I have to eat and I can’t eat if I don’t have food. Although I have far too many things to be doing right now.

Tuesday 17th November 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change this morning I managed to beat the third alarm. And reasonably comfortably too.

Mind you, I put that down to the fact that I didn’t go anywhere during the night – at least, not that I recorded anyway. By the looks of things it was a nice, relaxing night.

After the medication I did some work on the photos from July 2019 in Greenland and then prepared for my Welsh lesson. And the more we learn, the harder it becomes. I’m having trouble trying to keep abreast of it all.

Armed with a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of fruit bread, we had our lesson. And it passed quite quickly.

Of course we learnt some more words for “yes” and “no” – another 6 of them in fact. Basically, in a Celtic language, there isn’t a “yes” or “no”. If someone asks you “did you …” the answer is “I did”, or “will you …” – “I will” and so on. And when the verb declines as in Latin rather than there being a subject as in English, you can see how complicated this can become.

And we managed to have a break too. Basically we rebelled and decided that we had to go to the bathroom. Sitting straight through for 150 minutes just turns my head to jelly.

After lunch I was very busy. First of all, I peeled and diced some ginger very finely and then brought it to a slow boil in a saucepan. While it was simmering away, I peeled three oranges, put them in the whizzer just enough to extract the juice which I then filtered out (I like my new sieves) into a bottle and then whizzed the rest of it round into a pulp which I then added to the ginger and left it all to simmer.

As I suspected, the pineapple syrup was “off” so I whizzed up two pears and a pile of grapes into a very fine pulp and then filtered out the juice into the very large jug. The pulp I added to the ginger and orange mix which was still simmering.

The kefir was then strained through my very fine filter into the very large jug, all mixed well in and then strained back through the very fine filter into a few of the stoppered bottles. And while all that was happening I made some more kefir, with a dried fig this time

pear and raisin kefir orange and ginger cordial Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the orange and ginger etc was well ready so the liquid was drained off, the remaining pulp was thoroughly whizzed and any remaining juice was extracted.. All of this juice was then filtered to take out the solids and then heated again lightly. A couple of tablespoons of honey were added, the orange juice from step one was added back in and all placed in another stoppered bottle.

And here’s the finished product, as you can see. A big batch of fresh kefir, two large and one small bottle of pear and grape kefir, and a small bottle of orange and ginger cordial.

And I can’t wait to give it all a try. I had a quick sample of the ginger and orange cordial and it nearly blew my cap off. It should be quite exciting after it’s stood for a day or two. And it will be a couple of days before I get round to the kefir but that should be good too.

people on beach Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBelieve it or not, that took me all the way up to walkies-time. I couldn’t believe just how quickly the time had passed by.

It was surprising to see so few people out and about this afternoon though. The wind had dropped quite dramatically and although there was plenty of cloud about it was quite a bright, warm day. yet there was just a handful of people down on the beach and no more than half a dozen pounding out the path around the headland.

When you think about it – a beach almost completely to yourself in the sun. That can’t be a bad thing, even in the High Arctic like the one that we found somewhere on Victoria Island that pleasant afternoon just as my world was about to fall apart.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t exactly all that much more lively out at sea either.

Away in the distance out in the English Channel I could just about make out two objects. Wondering what they might be, I took a photo at full-range. One didn’t show anything that I recognised but the second produced a stationary trawler.

What was even more interesting about this photo was that just beyond it are a couple of these bobbing buoys that we have seen every now and again which are either mooring posts for fishing boats or else markers for lobster pots and the like.

And that’s surprising because they are way out in the distance offshore.

child's sign in car pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut anyway, all of that will be for another time, maybe (or maybe not).

There was still a circuit to complete so I carried on with my walk along the clifftop and over the lawn at the back of the lighthouse. There was a car parked on the car park and this little notice attracted my attention. It’s a shame that part of it is obscured but nevertheless it was certainly something very different.

And why not? There’s not enough humour and levity in the world these days. We all need things to make us smile with all of this nonsense going on right now. These are very sad times in which we are living right now.

sun shining through clouds baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the car park I walked down the path past one of the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall to see what was happening out to sea.

And the answer to that was, unfortunately, nothing. At least, nothing of the moving variety. There was, however, a certain moment, one that didn’t last long, of the sun’s rays shooting out through a hole in the clouds and illuminating a spot on the surface of the sea, just like a spotlight might do on a stage in a theatre.

Luckily I had the camera to hand and all ready, so I managed to take a quick shot while the scene still worked. It’s all very well these professional photographers saying that you have more time than you think, but they have clearly never worked with children animals and nature.

trawler saint brieuc port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallPast the chantier navale and no change there. Still the yacht and Ceres II and no-one else.

But there’s something going on here though at the wharf next to the Fish processing Plant. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we had a discussion a while back about the registration number of boats – CH being CHerbourg (where boats from this port are registered), SM for St Malo and so on.

Here, aground on the mudflats with the tide right out is a trawler registered “SB” which, I imagine, is St Brieuc further on down the Brittany coast. And what it’s doing here, aground and unattended, I really have no idea. It really ought to be tied up in the dinner harbour.

Back here, my friend with Covid was on line so we had another chat. It’s important that she keeps up her morale in this difficult time and I’m trying my best to give her my support. And if that doesn’t work, she’ll have to buy her own.

The hour on the guitar was, for some reason, not as enjoyable as it has been just recently. No idea why. I think that I’m on the verge of what I’m technically capable of doing yet I can’t seem to push on any more. I’ve been trying to fingerpick chords without too much success. But I’m better than I was before I started, I suppose.

Tea was a stuffed pepper again, seeing as I had some stuffing left over. And strangely enough it was the best that I’ve had so far. No idea why. The apple crumble was good too.

beach at night Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut in the streets tonight I really was totally alone. I didn’t meet a single person anywhere on my travels.

At the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I tried a little experiment. With the camera wedged up against a corner of a wall I tried a shot on a longish exposure to see if I could capture anything of the beach in the dark.

The photo is not very good but it reminds me of Doctor Johnson’s story about the dog dancing on its hind legs. The surprise is not that it was done so badly, but that it was done at all. I didn’t really expect to get anything recognisable out of it at all.

And apart from that, there was nothing of any interest as I ran all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

steps escalier du moulin a vent Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers will recall that we see quite regularly the view across the Place down to the Plat Gousset, and the other day I took a photo of the view behind.

To the left there is of course the sea, but to the right there’s a stairway, the Escalier du Moulin A Vent, that goes all the way down to the Place.

There are loads of stairs and I counted them once. I think that I made it 128 or something like that. And at 4 steps to the metre, that makes ordinarily about 30 metres or so but there are several flat bits that have quite a steep slope so it’s a lot higher than that.

A run across the Square Maurice Marland, a walk around the rest of the walls and then another run and I was back home. And this last leg for some reason went pretty fluidly. Much more fluidly than I was expecting.

Tomorrow I must ring up about Caliburn. And then I have a really important job to carry out that I should have done 18 months ago and more.