Wednesday 17th August 2022 – SO RATHER LATER …

… than usual, here I am writing up my notes.

Yes, this evening I’ve been gallivanting – spending time with the neighbours and as anyone will tell you, that’s not like me at all, is it? I don’t do “social”.

Anyway, another late night again yesterday, but not at all as late as the previous night. I didn’t finish my notes until late (and that’s not a surprise seeing how many there were) and then there was something interesting (and I can’t remember now what it was) that came round on the playlist.

So that was that.

It was another morning when I didn’t feel much like leaving the bed and in fact I loitered around for a good few minutes before deciding to pluck up the courage to haul myself out of my bed.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I had been during the night. I started in a hotel near the town centre of a strange town somewhere in Southern Belgium. I’d stopped there the night because I had to go to a meeting in another town that evening and this was the best that I could do. I looked at the travel arrangements. I could see where the buses pulled up and parked but I had a quick look on the internet and saw that there was a train so I decided to set out and find the Railway Station. I went outside just as the bus pulled away from the bus stop so I couldn’t see what that was. Round a couple of corners I could see a road in the distance high up that was dropping down to the road on which was my hotel. I remembered the layout of the roads now. There was a car park with a few ancient Harrington coaches complete with tailfins. Then I saw a sign that said “to the railway station”. I followed the sign and ended up in a shopping precinct. I couldn’t find my way out of there. Neither could another girl who was there as well. We both ended up looking for an exit. I tried a door and it turned out to be a bingo club. They asked me what I wanted. I replied that I was looking for a way to check my internet statistics. They gave me a file with their login details. The said “careful not to put your Ni n° in”. Another woman said “yes well he’ll tell you all about doing that”.

And later I’d gone into my apartment building and ended up talking to the new girl next door about a few things. She was showing me her apartment and everything. As I was leaving she asked “when can I come to visit yours?”. I replied “you can come now if you like” not thinking that she would because there’s a football match on the internet. She came anyway and she had a look round. She said how much she liked it even though it was cheap and basic with no real main facilities. I was thinking to myself that it’s a good job that I’d tidied it and put stuff away. Just then 2 customers appeared. We were somehow then in the dining room She asked if I was getting something to eat. I replied “no, I eat later” because I was going to eat at home. She took some stuff and started eating. I was trying to have a conversation with her but her conversations were more of these where you’d tell her something and she’d go off on a long speech about something else. When she would draw breath you’d start to tell her about something yourself but you could see after about 5 seconds that she had totally lost interest and wasn’t anywhere interested your conversation. I thought that it was quite pointless trying to engage her in conversation. Just then another man appeared. He came to sit at our table to eat. He said to one of the boys his given name and I recognised him straight away but he’s going to be working late tonight. I thought “does he have a football match on the internet too?”.

After that I was living in this block of flats. A new neighbour invited me in so I went in. It was a woman and I showed her around and a few tricks about the apartment etc. She asked when would I invite her to visit mine so we went next-door to mine which although furnished quite cheaply was neat and tidy. i was thinking that it’s a good job that i’d tidied up before I went out. We were chatting and ended up in the sea off Morecambe. My mother came along and put her glass down by this girl. My mother asked why and my grandmother replied “she obviously has a crush on you so it’s to keep the crushes away”

And that’s a regular theme isn’t it? No sooner do I start to think that I’m making progress in my life and along comes some member of the family to throw a spanner in the works. How many dreams have I had like that?

After that my youngest sister and I were going somewhere so we were at the bus stop at Shavington. It was extremely early, about 07:00. Someone said something to a couple of people who were waiting with me so I replied. He said “God! I didn’t see you there!” and there I was in a bright white shirt in the dark. We had a chat and I went back to the others. His bus appeared – he was going to Crewe so he climbed aboard. Then the bus came down the hill from Dodd’s Bank. I could see all the swarms of school children heading our way so that must have been the school bus. he did a U-turn at the Sugar Loaf but it wasn’t a very good one, not like the drivers we used to have years ago (who really could turn these old Crosville Bristol LWL single deckers on a sixpence). It was someone whom I knew and at first I thought that it was my father. I told my sister that he’s not very good at that. All the kids swarmed on. Then a Ford Zodiac MkIV appeared. I thought that this is the bus replacement so I flagged him down. I only had adult tickets so my sister got onto the back seat. I said to the driver who was my father that I only had adult tickets. He replied “just give me one for you. Your sister is OK”. We squidged onto the back seat with all of these other people. It was really quite uncomfortable in there and I couldn’t understand it. I was telling her that I used to have one of these years ago (in fact mine was a Zephyr 6, and fancy remembering that in the middle of a dream) and they were really comfortable cars. What surprised me was that a couple of Cortinas pulled up to take the kids away to school. They put about 20 kids in each packed on the back seat and in the boot with their heads poking up where the parcel shelf used to be and packed on the front seat and no-one said a word about that but they would soon complain if I tried to put more than 4 passenger into a taxi in the old days.

Again I can only remember a part of this. I was again with I think my youngest sister . We were waiting in the desert when a hearse pulled up and offered us a lift. We climbed in and there was a body in the back. We reached a cemetery and had to dig a grave. We dug this grave and it wasn’t very deep at all. Then they took out this coffin and put it in. The coffin was probably no more than an inch below the surface. I said “this is far to shallow for a grave isn’t it?”. He replied ” no, it’s fine. Don’t you worry about that. Just lower the coffin in”. We lowered the coffin in and he went off to do something. I thought to my sister “he’d have plenty of opportunity here to dig off the top off this coffin and drop another body or two inside it, won’t he?”.

Finally there had been two teams building the same railway line through the mountains somewhere. It had been very acrimonious. One had done it in concrete and the other in something else and they’d laid this stuff down sometimes on top of each other etc until they reached the end of the line where they had supposed to be. There was a cabin at the end of the line and we went there to inspect it and saw the confusion between the 2 lines. We slept there the night and next morning set back to walk to the halfway point where everything was already ready. We’d only gone maybe a mile, not even that, and all these concrete and other stuff works just petered out. It had all been done for show and the rest of the rail bed was just bare earth. Someone had marked out the track with stakes where the track should go. We reached certain parts where it wouldn’t even fit. They hadn’t even dug out the cuttings etc. There was one bit where on the edge of a mountain they hadn’t cut into the mountain for the track. There was no way that you could lay track on this. This became quite acrimonious as well. When we returned to the half-way cabin it was quite warm inside because there had been an old 1930s car in there that we’d made to run and managed to use to heat the water to heat the cabin. I had to but some petrol for a girl who was there but when I was searching through my pockets I couldn’t find my dictaphone. I wondered if I’d left it at the cabin so I’d have to go all the way back to the cabin at the end of the line, fetch my dictaphone and come all the way back to this one.

It’s hardly surprising that after having travelled that far during the night I wanted to stay in bed. And it will be no surprise to anyone that in the middle of transcribing all of that I actually fell asleep for an hour or so. I went to have a shower whan I awoke in order to awaken me properly and while I was at it I weighed myself. I’ve losrt another few hundred grammes and I’m only 1100 grammes away from my first target weight (but still over 6000 from where I want to be).

The rest of the day has been spent tidying up. I’ve actually cleared a whole shelf in the cupboard by the door and now I have to try to think what to do with it. What do I have that I can hide away in there out of the way?

Plenty of stuff that I should have put outside for the bin dippers but it’s raining again quite heavily right now, not that it will last all that long..

dry footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Mind you, it’ll certainly do some good for the vegetation.

Here’s a photo that I took from almost the same place as yesterday. The hour or so of rain that we had didn’t do anything about the dust that’s around on the path but do you notice the change in the greenery today.

It’s the mauvaises herbes – the weeds that seem to have benefited from the rain yesterday. You can see that they seem to have managed to absorb some of the water and they have turned green.

What that shows in that it’s the indigenous plants that survive the best and recover the quickest after unnatural conditions.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022It wasn’t raining when I went outside for my afternoon walk today though.

It was actually quite nice again if a little windy so I reckoned that there might be a few people out and about on the beach down below the cliffs.

There were actually more people that I was expecting and some of them had even gone onto the water which, because of the wind was quite adventurous.

There wasn’t much going on out at sea this afternoon. It wasn’t as clear as yesterday but much clearer than the other day so had there been anything out there I would have seen it.

fishermen pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Instead I made my way all along the path to the end and across the car park without seeing anything out at sea.

There was however something to see down here – to wit a couple of fishermen practising their art from the rocks down below. And, optimists that they are, they even had a bucket or something in which to deposit their catch.

Mind you, one of the guys looks as if he’s ready to pack up and go home. The other one looks like he’s here for the Duration and seems to be rather comfortable sitting on his rock. All he needs is a pointed hat and a long white beard and he’ll be well away.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And they have an audience this afternoon too.

There was someone sitting down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban but he must have heard me creeping up because as soon as I poised the camera ready to shoot, he stood up.

Mind you, there really were only the fishermen out there to watch and if one of them was going home, I suppose that our spectator was too. It was actually quite strange that here we are in the middle of the summer season and there wasn’t one boat out there at all.

cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Anyway I wandered off down the path to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval.

And there is no change in occupancy of the place this afternoon but there’s a great deal of work going on with Cap Lihou.

In her exposed position out there by the portable boat lift we can see all around her and they seem to be having a right old time over there with a sandblaster or something, for much of her bright blue paintwork has now disappeared.

She’s obviously going to be receiving the full treatment. She looked quite nice before so if they do as good a job on her as they did with the Jersey trawler L’Ecume II she’ll look fabulous when she’s finished.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There wasn’t anyone over at the Fish Processing Plant so I turned my attention elsewhere while I was here.

Over at the ferry terminal we have one of the Joly France ferries and we can tell by the windows in “portrait” format that she’s the newer one of the two.

It’s a surprise to see her here just now. Just recently we’ve seen then runnign back from the Ile de Chsueey or doing a lap of honour around the bay with a bunch of tourists. It must be a quiet afternoon today.

Not for me. I want to return to my tidying up so I’m in a hurry to go home

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Before I go home though I just thought that I’d mention that Chausiaise is over in the loading bay underneath the crane.

It looks as if she’s going for another run out but I wonder what she’ll be taking, seeing as all of the material is still on the quayside, and, more importantly, where she’s going.

Back here I made a coffee, finished off what I was doing and then made ready for my trip upstairs. One of the residents seems to have taken a shine to me and she’s invited me upstairs on a couple of occasions.

She’s not yet invited me to see her etchings though, and that’s a good thing.

When I set out I only intended to be there for a short while but it was three hours that I was absent. It’s hardly surprising that everything is running late and I’ve had no tea tonight. So I’ve had to rush my notes.

Anyway now that they are done I’m off to bed. I’ll carry on with the tidying up tomorrow and see where that brings me. I now know how Heracles felt in the Augean stables and I’m not likely to have any rivers flowing through here.

Tuesday 16th August 2022 – SUMMER IS BACK!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 15th August 2022 – ONE THING THAT I …

… forgot to do (well, two things in fact) was to contact the various people like the nurse and the physiotherapist and tell them that I’m back home again.

But I needn’t bother about contacting the nurse. There I was working away at the radio programme this morning when round about 09:30 there was a ring on the bell. The Nurse was in the building and he thought that he’d check up on me to see how I was.

Anyway I’ve had my injection this morning, the first one that I have had since the beginning of June. I wonder if that would perk me up and give me a burst of energy. I must admit that I need one.

Especially having had to crawl (extremely unwillingly) out of bed at 06:00. I staggered into the kitchen for my medication and then staggered back in here to check my mails and messages before starting to deal with my radio programmes.

It was another long, slow morning doing the radio programme. There was the usual coffee break and then I was interrupted for about 15 minutes by the nurse coming round to give me my injection.

Even so, I would have expected to have finished it a long time before 11:35. It was definitely one of the slowest radio programmes that I’ve done, and for no obvious reason either.

While I was listening to the finished product and also to the programme that I’d send off later in the day I had a shuffle round with the music. I’ve let a few things go out of sync and I needed to tidy up everything.

As a result I ended up going for my lunchtime fruit rather later than usual.

After lunch I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. We were on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. We were British and Norwegian Resistance fighters and the ship was crewed by Germans. We were undercover pretending to be Germans but we were going ashore later that night to sabotage some instruments and equipment. Our plans were interruped by having to go to shore immediately so we had to hide our equipment and hope that no-one would see it until we came back later and could nip out. While I was hiding the equipment and keeping the Germans talking they were trying to make our escape route out of the side of the ship by drilling 2 holes in the side. They were caught by a German so they beat him to death. They managed to smuggle him ashore where they could bury him. Then it was time for all of us to go ashore so we assembled at the side of the deck. The motor boat was below us and there was quite a strong current and high waves. The first 2 people who were 2 of my people lowered themselves down the steps into the motor boat. The first one went in OK but the 2nd one had her timing wrong. The wave hit this motor boat and threw her about 6 feet into the air. She landed in a heap at the bottom of the boat. As I was going down the steps I happened to look up. I could see 2 small holes in the side of the ship thinking that if anyone else sees that our goose is going to be cooked. If anyone sees that while they are boarding the boat our goose will be booked. I boarded this boat and said “the last time I was in this motorboat …” and they all looked at me strangely. I said “the last time I was in this motorboat was 3 years ago” and they all suddenly realised that this was the same boat that we were on in this wartime exploit that I’d been around the Arctic on a couple of years earlier.

Later on I was at University. There was a group of us and we gradually paired ourselves off into twos. I ended up with a Brazilian girl and we started to see each other. One day I had to pick her up after University. We were going to do something. I went home and it was all locked etc but the plates and crockery were out for the evening meal. I did what I had to do then went to pick her up. We went to the swimming baths. We had a good time around there. Afterwards I asked if she would like to come home. She replied “yes, fine” so I drove home. Trying to enter the house I couldn’t remember which key was which. There were so many of them on my key ring. Eventually I found the correct one. We were the only ones in and it was just like it was beforehand. She made a remark about it. She asked what time it was. I told her and she made an exclamation and said that she had to telephone her mother to let her know that she was OK. She asked if it was OK that she rang from here but it was to Brazil. I said yes if it’s a very short one. That was when I began to have a feeling that someone was going to be taking advantage of me in this situation. I didn’t quite like the idea of that.

It’s not something that I have never actually encountered in real life. My Road to Hell really is littered with previous good intentions

Finally we were going to an auction of possessions somewhere in aid of some Charity. There was a huge crowd building up outside and in the ante-room but they weren’t letting anyone in. It was becoming later and later. Then they announced that it might be that a lot of goods had been sold by tender prior to the auction which annoyed everyone. There was a surge of people forward into the auction hall and they were all surged back out again. While we were waiting we were looking out of the window. We were quite high up. We saw a vehicle towing a water tank on a trailer come out of a building and turn right. As he did, the trailer locked up and hit a parked vehicle. It spun the car round which hit a lorry. The trailer disengaged and broke away so the car drove off. This lorry did a U-turn and chased after it. When the driver saw the lorry coming he tried to escape but realising that he was never going to escape from this lorry he pulled over. By this time we’d caught up with the action for we were keen to see what would happen. The lorry driver took a big sledge hammer and started to hit this car which was an old London taxi by this time putting huge dents in the bodywork, breaking the windows etc while the young guy with his guitar who was driving stood around watching. Just then the police appeared so the lorry driver entered a building, picked up one or two things and came out carrying some stuff as if he was an innocent bystander. He’d probably gone 100 yards when the police suddenly started to run after him. He dropped his stuff and ran and dashed into a pub. In the meantime a group of girls in prom dresses was going past. he came out of the pub wrapped in a scarf or curtain. he looked like one of these girls in these Prom dresses but we could see that it was him. He tagged onto these girls while the police were busy scouring the streets. Suddenly they started running again after him. They stopped right by my car, one policeman did. He had his keys in his hand and they were pointing at me. I wound the window down on my car and said “you point that gun again at me and there’s going to be a problem”. He hastily stuffed his keys in his pocket and asked “what gun?”. I replied ” the gun that you just had in your hand and stuffed in your pocket”. He looked as if he was about to argue with me but he turned round ad ran off again. Whoever I was with asked “why did you say that?”. I replied “to disrupt the flow of his thought and action and slow him down a lot while the lorry driver makes his getaway”

And that must have been really exciting watching that during the night.

Unfortunately, during the middle of all of this transcribing, I crashed out. And for about an hour too. But I suppose having started at 06:00 this morning it was only to be expected. I even had a little wobble while I was doing the radio programme but I managed to fight it off.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual the first thing that I did was to go over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach to see what was happening there.

The weather is now much more like a clammy October day today so I wasn’t expecting to see anyone sunbathing down on the beach today, and I wasn’t all that far out

Just one or two people sitting on the sand but there were plenty of people down on the waterline but I wasn’t counting all the numbers.

Those who weren’t actually swimming about in the water (and I’ve no idea why they would be doing that this afternoon) were presumably scratching around looking for shellfish, with the tide being well out right now.

It’s pretty pointless looking out to sea because there was quite a sea mist this afternoon and I could hardly see anything in the bay.

F-GCUM Robin DR400-180 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Instead, I concentrated my efforts on what was happening up in the air this afternoon. There were several aircraft up there, such as this one.

She’s F-GCUM, a Robin DR400-180 that belongs to the local aero club that fly out of the airfield a little further along the coast.

She took off at 16:11 and flew out around the Ile de Chausey and then down the bay to Mont S Michel, a quick lap around down there and back home again where she came in to land at 16:45.

My photo was taken at 16:39 (adjusted) so that all fits in.

F-GBAI Robin DR 400-140B baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Right behind him, another aeroplane came flying over the headland.

Her registration number is F-GBAI and she’s another Robin aeroplane, a DR100-140B that also belongs to the aero club.

She’s been out this afternoon for quite a long flight this afternoon. She took off at 15:26 and carried out the same flight as the previous one, but did several laps around between the Ile de Chausey and the Point de Carolles on her way up and down the coast.

She came back in to land at 16:47 and seeing that my photo was timed at 16:41 (adjusted) all of that fits in too.

There were a couple more aeroplanes out there too but far too far away for me to identify.

pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were plenty of people out and about on the path and this photo doesn’t really do justice to the crowds.

But what I was much more interested in was the grassland. Despite the rain that we had yesterday, it’s not done anything to revitalise the grass and it still looks as brown as it always did over this last month or so wih the heatwave that we had.

Interestingly, the native plants, otherwise known as “weeds” seem to have perked up somewhat though. It just goes to show that the weeds will always triumph in any circumstances. We are going to need much more than what we had yesterday to bring this lot back to life again.

lobster pot buoy pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were plenty of cars parked in the car park and on the lawn at the side again this afternoon.

And there were plenty of people milling around at the end of the headland. But what caught my eye was the buoy out there just offshore (and only just offshore too) that is presumably marking the site of where someone has dropped a lobster pot in the hope of making a catch.

Plenty of people down on the lower path below where we are standing, but no-one at all on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban. But then again, that’s not really any surprise because it wasn’t as if you could actually see anything out in the bay this afternoon.

peche à pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022However there were plenty of people down on the rocks just offshore

As I mentioned earlier, the tide was well out so there were people out there at the pèche à pied making the most of low tide and having a good ferret around amongst the rocks.

Anyway, I left them to it and wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

There was no change in occupancy in the chantier naval today, although there was quite a racket coming from there. And no-one playing “Musical Ships” this afternoon at the Fish Processing Plant either.

freight port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Considering the amount of freight traffic that there has been just recently between Granville and St Helier, I was surprised to see so much freight still on the quayside.

We had Thora and Normandy Trader at least once running back and forth and even Chausiaise pressed into service as well. No wonder Normandy Warrior has come to join the party and the big Southern Liner has been carrying out trials in the harbour here.

But we all know where Marité is today. We can just about see her bow poking into the photograph.

Back here I had a glass of cold chocolate drink and then I had some work to do. Ages ago I broke a door shelf and the veg basket in the fridge and my temporary repairs have reached the stage where I’m spending more time repairing them than anything else.

Consequently I spent a while trawling through the internet and eventually came across somewhere from where I can order them. and it’s a good job that nothing else in the fridge is broken otherwise it would have cost me more to order them than the fridge cost new. I was astonished at the price.

After a good session on the guitars I went to make tea. The pepper that I had left over from last week had bitten the dust so I made a big curry with everything in the fridge, enough to last a couple of days. I rather overdid the chili powder so tomorrow after 24 hours of marinading it’s going to be totally wicked and I’m looking forward to it.

But that’s tomorrow. Tonight I’m off to bed. A good night’s sleep will do me good but I doubt if I will have it.

But if I go off on a couple of good voyages with some of my regular travellers, who seem to be rather conspicuous by their absence these days, I shan’t complain at all.

Sunday 14th August 2022 – WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT!

It actually rained today. And I missed most of it.

When I (eventually) awoke this morning (yes it was morning) the bright blue sky that we had had for the last I don’t know how long had changed into a woolly grey mass of cloud and the temperature was probably 10°C cooler too. Not that you’d know it in here because being a stone building with walls 1.20m thick it managed to avoid the extremes of temperature that we have outside.

Mind you, it wasn’t far off midnight. That’s because come 03:00 this morning I was still up and about. I’ve no idea what time I eventually went to bed but I was glad that I wasn’t going out at 08:30 this morning.

In actual fact I was awake at 10:20 but there wasn’t all that much likelihood of me showing a leg at that time. It was much more like 11:00 when I finally staggered into the daylight and went for my medication, feeling quite grateful that I’d prepared the music for the radio yesterday instead of trying to do it today.

Back in here, in a mad fit of enthusiasm and I’ve no idea where that came from, I listened to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There was a house somewhere down Minshull New Road or somewhere like that, a council house. I don’t know what I was doing in it but it was filthy, dirty, dusty, overfull of furniture etc. The only way out was to climb through a window, one of the smaller fanlight windows at the top. I’d been doing that for a while here and there. One day a girl in there got hold of me, told me her name and told me that she lived in this house and that she was fed up of people coming in and going out again through the window. I made a facetious remark about going out of the door which didn’t go down very well. I said “never mind. I’ll write you an apology. It’s no problem to me” so we agreed that I would write her an apology and she would accept it. We had a chat and she was saying how she hated this house and how she was hoping to move etc, quite a long discussion. In the end I decided that I had to go. Of course the only way out was through the window. I went to open the window which for some unknown reason wasn’t easy today. While I was at it two dogs, a big one and a small one came up and started gnawing at my leg. Then some old man came in and asked what I was doing. I explained to him and explained that I’d seen the girl. He didn’t seem to be all that pleased and was making up all kinds of reasons for it to be extremely difficult for me to climb out of that window. I was determined that I was going anyway. We were talking about travelling around the world. I said that I’d met some interesting people. He asked if I’d been to Moscow so I replied “yes”. He asked if I’d ever been to New York so I replied “yes”. He said that the World Trade Centre has only been down a few years so I replied that I’d been to New York a lot longer than those had been down. We had quite an acrimonious discussion, polite but bad-tempered. All the time I was trying to go out through this window so that I could leave but everything seemed to be conspiring against me to stop me going and to keep me in this flaming filthy, dusty, dirty house.

Later on I was at work. I’d been promoted and was working with the inspectors. We received certain information about different things and I suggested ways of dealing with it that were unorthodox but were bound to bring in results and weren’t illegal. Everyone looked at me strangely and as we didn’t have the staff we put it on the back burner for the moment. In the afternoon we were invited to a beach party so we went down there. A lot of the people were playing beach volleyball but I was peering through some papers that I’d brought with me sitting in the sun. I thought “when I’ve finished these papers I can go and join in the volleyball”. But everyone suddenly packed up and started to move. Someone asked where they were going and the response was “guess”. It turned out that they were all heading to the local night club because even though it wasn’t night time it was probably open by now. I had no intention whatever of going there but one has to be sociable. Just then some woman from the office came by with a huge folder and said “guess what I have in here”. I know that I was trying to lay my hands on a folder for work so I said the name. She said “no. It’s a list of all second-homes and country cottages in the UK”. I suggested that these be compared with the owners. If necessary we could make enquiries about them and tie them up to their owners and see what comes of it. Someone was there, a Prophet of Doom, saying that it would never work, that’s totally illegal” which of course it was nonsense. I was trying to argue my particular corner. For some reason these people seemed to be totally devoid of any imagination and were totally unlikely to make anything work with the kind of imagination that they had.

That’s one thing that I’ve noticed since I left the UK in 1992. These days British people seem to fall at the first fence when they are trying to do something. When a problem arises or a technical hitch develops or something goes wrong or a machine breaks or a plan needs developing, the first setback is enough to make them throw in the towel.

We were always taught to use our imagination, to think, and work out a workaround and I used to have loads of fun doing that. But I seem to be one of a very small breed of people today. It reminds me of the saying “99% of the population has problems, but the rest of us have solutions”.

After lunch I came back in here but strangely, I can’t remember now what I did. I know that I didn’t fall asleep, that is a surprise in itself these days. I managed to keep on going until it was time to go walkies but just as I was about to step out of the door Ingrid rang.

We ended up having a marathon session on the telephone too seeing as it’s been a while since we last spoke, and the result of all of this was that I was considerably late going for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual the first thing that I did was to go over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down on the beach.

There were hordes of people down there this afternoon but they weren’t there for the sunbathing.

That was because
1) there was no sun
2) It’s the time for the pèche à pied and they were all mainly down there at the water’s edge having a scratch around to see what they could pull up

bouchot farm donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And with the tide being quite well out, it was all systems go further down the coast.

At Donville les Bains there’s a bouchot farm and you can see all of the stakes planted in the sand. Someone made an accidental discovery that if you leave ropes and things in the water the shellfish will actually grow on them in preference to the sand.

And that’s quite a delicacy too because the shellfish aren’t full of sandy grit and taste so much better.

Why that works so well here, apart from the fact that we have so much shellfish, is that with the high tides, the ropes and stakes can be well-submerged for growing the shellfish but at low tide they are out of the water and can be harvested and the equipment maintained quite easily.

medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But here’s an example of an earlier generation of fish traps.

This is the kind of thing that would have been common in medieval times. They would build a wall of loose-fitting stones across a bay or estuary so that at high tide, water and the fish therein would over flow behind the wall. And as the tide went out, the water would exfiltrate through the gaps in the stones leaving the fish behind.

And then all of your medieval fishwives would wade in and catch the fish with their bare hands ready for supper.

It’s the kind of thing that would still work today if it were properly maintained.

lifeguard tidal swimming pool plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There’s a sort-of modern version of it here.

That’s the tidal swimming pool at the Plat Gousset and the principle is the same. And today it seems to have caught quite a few fish of the two-legged variety in its trap.

The person in the fluorescent yellow jacket is the lifeguard. There is a handful of them scattered around at various places on the beach keeping an eye on the activities and making sure that no-one is swept away.

Not that they are likely to be swept away in the tidal swimming pool but you never know your luck, I suppose.

place marechal foch Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022From there I wandered off to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

Whenever we’ve seen that just recently it’s been heaving with people on the beach taking the sun but not today. There aren’t too many people down there in this weather. They are all wandering around the Place Marechal Foch.

But what caught my eye in this photo was the long queue of traffic coming down the hill into town. I can’t remember ever having seen a traffic jam quite like that in all the time that I’ve been living here

police interaction with mtorcyclist avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The reason for that might be something not unconnected with what’s going on in this photo.

These days it seems that you can’t go anywhere without attracting the attention of the local farces of Law and Order. And a couple of Granville’s finest seem to be rather more than interested in what this biker is up to with his machine.

In actual fact there were four policemen altogether and maybe they were performing a spot check of vehicles entering the town.

Nevertheless it’s good to see them going for the same old stereotyped victims. Nothing much changes, despite the passage of time.

crowds rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022another reason might be that the town centre is all closed off to through traffic today.

No vehicles are allowed in there right now and so they are having to go around the outside. That means that gordes of pedestrians can roam around the streets in perfect safety to their hearts’ content.

Rather bad luck if you live in the town centre and need your car, but never mind.

When I lived in Brussels we had a car-free day one Sunday every year. All of the public transport was free and there were all kinds of entertainments in the street.

Where I lived was on a hill on the edge of the city centre and you could see the dramatic improvement in air quality down below by the end of the day.

le coelacanthe le tiberiade suzanga massabielle nais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022My route from here took me through the Place Maurice Marland.

My seagull chick wasn’t there today so maybe it had gone off for a fly around with its mum. I hope that it wasn’t the one that I saw dead by the side of the street on Friday.

There was plenty of activity in the harbour this afternoon. It doesn’t look as if anyone had gone out working. Over there on the back wall we had Le Coelacanthe and little sister le Tiberiade. You can tell them apart in this photo as the gormer has the wings to its bridge.

In the foreground from left to right we have the new Suzanga, the blue Massabielle and on the right, the little white Nais.with red and yellow stripes.

Plenty of others too that didn’t make it into the photograph which was a shame.

marité philcathane chausiase port Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022 Over there in the bay where the gravel boats used to tie up is the trawler Philcathane

The other two boats that are there, I didn’t expect to see them here today. Marité for example, the wooden sailing ship. With it being a Sunday in the middle of the tourist season I would have thought that she would have gone out and about into the bay with a crowd of passengers to earn a few bob while the going was good.

As for Chausiaise, a friend of mine in St Helier sent me a photo this morning of her over there in jersey. The freight situation is definitely hotting up here if she’s being pressed into service.

Victor Hugo, the Channel Islands ferry isn’t here though. She spent yesterday and today running around the Channel Islands but she’s back in port by the time that I’m writing this.

book fair rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022From here I headed for home through the old town.

It’s book fair today and everyone had set out their stall to sell their surplus books. But by the time that I arrived here it was quite late and most people had packed up and had gone home.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall me talking about the Monegasque Royal Family and their connections here when one of the Grimaldis married a local girl. The browny-grey granite house on the street corner on the left is where she lived.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Carrying on homewards I had a look over the wall and out into the bay.

A little earlier I mentioned the pèche à pied. Over there you can still see a few people out there but they are now heading for safety as the tide is coming in. And it comes in here quite rapidly too so they don’t want to be caught hanging about.

It was raining ever so slightly as I reached home and that’s a good thing as this are has been declared in a State of Emergency because of the drought. But we’ll need much more rain than this to do any good. Probably about a week’s torrential downpour.

And now I remember what it was that I did after lunch.

Last weekend I used up the last of the pizza dough so I had to make some more. That was how I spent the early afternoon and it had been proofing while I was otherwise occupied.

When I came back from my walk two lumps went into the freezer and I rolled out the third one and put it on the tray for its second proofing.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Later on this evening I assembled my pizza and put it in the oven to cook. And it was delicious too.

But here’s something that I rarely do. In fact, I can’t think when I last did it.

Usually I know exactly what my appetite will be and I make my food accordingly. My pizza is always a standard, regular size.

But tonight, about a third of it went into the bin. I quite simply couldn’t finish it and that’s something that has rarely, if ever happened to me before. It’s not like me at all to be off my food and not even want to save it for breakfast.

What’s happening here?

Anyway that’s for another day as I’m off to bed right now. Radioing early in the morning so I need to be at my best. But not much chance of that.

Saturday 13th August 2022 – GUESS WHO …

… dropped a full jar of tomato sauce on the floor and broke it?

It’s just not my day, is it?

But anyway, despite having gone to bed at something like a respectable time yesterday it was still a struggle to fight my way out of bed this morning when the alarm went off. Nevertheless I was still up and, well, almost about when the second alarm went off.

After the medication I organised myself, such as I’m able to, and headed off to LeClerc.

For some reason or other the place was absolutely packed, even if I did arrive just 2 or 3 minutes after opening time. I can’t recall ever having seen it so busy.

Nevertheless I managed to remember to buy everything that I needed there, even if I did have to queue for about a week in order to leave the shop.

On the way back I hit the traffic and there were queues everywhere. It took me quite a while to navigate myself through the town. It really does look like the height of the summer now with the crowds of people coming into the town, and parking is next-to impossible. I’m glad that I have a private parking spot otherwise it would be rather grim.

My entry into the car park though was blocked by a visitor trying to negotiate her way past the informal barricade that we have to stop strangers coming in, seeing as our barrier STILL isn’t working. But eventually I managed to sort her out, only to find that the person whom she’d come to visit wasn’t in.

It was almost time for breakfast when I returned so I made some strong coffee and toast to keep me going until this evening. and then I had a listen to the dictaphone. There was a little girl who had been caught in a strange land, the neighbouring land to where she lived. There had been some conflict between the two lands and the owner of the land to where she had strayed told her to go home and dispose of all of her milk and dairy produce. She went back and tried to break into her parents’ fridge. At first it was difficult but eventually she managed it but she found that it was the freezer and it was full of things like frozen carrots etc. She didn’t know what to do so she decided that she’d have another go. This was where I stepped in because I caught her trying to find the fridge. I asked her what was the matter and she told me everything. I suggested that she went and told her mum about it because no-one unless they are really stupid these days wants a war. Maybe her mum could either co-operate with this guy or else go to see him herself and tell him what kind of deal there is about whatever he is concerned about. It’s certainly not the place for a small child to become involved in this kind of thing.

And then one of the girls on our Welsh course had died and it was going to be another couple of weeks before our Welsh course restarted so her body had been placed outside her room but I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t think that it should be left outside her room for a couple of weeks until everyone came back. They told me to take care of the problem so I came along and put her in a room where there was like a coffin-shape already chiselled in the floor. I dropped her in that with the idea of obtaining approval from someone before I covered it in cement. The teacher in our class said “if you don’t mind me saying so, there are some very weird people in our classes”. I asked “what’s the problem?”. She replied “it’s a strange way that you’ve chosen to deal with this girl”. I answered “you can’t leave her body surely outside her room for several weeks while people come back etc”. She said “there’s a camp bed there. You can erect the camp bed and put that on it”. I answered “that’s a strange thing if you ask me, but I came to ask your advice and you’ve given it so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t follow it. I’ll go out there and put the camp bed outside her door and put her body on it and just leave it there like that”.

There had been an explosion in a mine and a lot of people had been killed. CCTV showed an employee taking something out of his haversack immediately prior to the explosion. It’s believed that that was what caused the accident while the men were having an evening sing-song down there. A couple of weeks later some kind of singer was appearing for a benefit concert for this mine disaster. He began to sing this song and while he was doing it he reached into his satchel for something and was immediately pounced upon by 2 security guys. This led to a kind of confrontation between his security guys and the mine’s guys. The mine’s guys explained what had happened a couple of weeks ago and the singers guys were having nothing to do with it at all. It led to quite a confrontation and people were really annoyed that this famous singer was seeming to get away with this breach of the law just because he was famous without any regard to the consequences that might have happened had he actually succeeded.

Later on I was round at someone’s house last night. I had to make tea so I started off with a soup, putting all kinds of things like vegetables, olives, chives and everything into a pot ready to mince down wit the mincer. But I was rather carried away and not only was the pot overflowing but I’d put the chives in complete with the earth in which they were growing instead of clipping them. I thought “that’s a bad start”. Anyway I managed to get the soup under way. Then I had to think about a main course. That involved frying some burgers so I had to fetch some cooking oil for the frying pan. But I had the wrong frying pan. This one had a handle that was three feet long that you would use for a barbecue. I put some oil in that and spilled half of it. Then I had to fetch some water in a saucepan to cook the rice. I’d done that then I thought that I’d better fetch a kettle full of water so I was going back and to all the time. The Farmer’s Daughter was there again as well. She’s been making a few appearances just recently and I don’t know why. She was having problems with her maths homework. My maths homework had been based on the subjects that she’d been doing so I took my folder with my work in it to her so that she could read through it and ask me questions at a more convenient time as I was really busy. By now the soup was boiling so I was having to stir that round and check that it wasn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan and break up some kind of dry noodles into there, some really tough dry noodles that would absorb some of the excess water and thicken the soup. There was another guy there, the husband of this family who was working. He was giving me advice about what needed doing as well. he was careful about spilling stuff because my brother was working somewhere and he might come out and slip on the water, not to mention the oil that I’d just dropped everywhere. This was turning into a real chaotic cooking session instead of something that should have been so simple and so straightforward.

Finally there was a village fête going on. There were crowds of people watching all the events. There was a group of us sitting at a table. One of us was a little girl. She took quite a shine to me and we had quite a chat. This chat went on for quite some time then in the end she got up and said that she had to go which disappointed me as I happened to quite like her. About 10 minutes later she came back. There were 3 little girls. 2 of them were skipping and she was in the middle. As the skipping rope went past over the girls’ heads they would go over her and she would jump too. This was all done in rhythms so they wouldn’t be tangled up in each other’s rope. So there were 3 of them and 2 ropes with the girl that I liked in the middle without a rope who was jumping just the same. It was something that looked quite impressive. They made their way slowly to the centre of the arena. Then the other events carried on. I was doing some work on a kind of Victorian water pump, something about being jammed by logs in Victorian times by careless felling and how the local council was improving some techniques that was going to lead to more of this careless felling which would lead to more problems with the pumps. I looked up and this little girl was watching the events in the arena. For some unknown reason I felt extremely disappointed that she hadn’t come back to sit by me and carry on with our conversation again.

Yes, two small girls again last night. I’m becoming broody again. I ought to have had a daughter of my own at some point in the past. She would have been spoilt rotten Those three years that I had Roxanne as my daughter were amongst the happiest of my life and I’d do it all again given half a chance. But that ship sailed a long time ago.

And choreography in my dreams too. Whatever next?

Having done that the next thing that I did was to pair up the music for Monday’s radio programme. That’s something that I usually do on Sundays but today I thought “let’s push on and get ahead”. Why not? and a couple of the pairs went together really well. A couple of them … well, less so.

Having had a few other things to do as well I ended up once more being late for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, my first pace to visit will be to see what’s happening down on the beach.

And so I wandered over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on there.

Because I was later than usual there was plenty of beach to be on and there were plenty of people taking full advantage of it. Absolute crowds, in fact.

Quie a few of them in the water as well, not that I’m surprised because every day we seem to be setting new records about heat and temperature. I’m at the stage where I wish that I had the strength to go down and join them and that’s not like me at all, is it?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But there was something else going on down there this afternoon that caught my attention.

It was a bunch of people shouting that did it and so looking around I noticed a bunch of guys doing stuff with cones and markers.

From up here I had no idea what they might have been doing but my money was on them being one of the local football clubs having a Saturday afternoon training session. After all the season starts here next weekend, if I remember correctly.

And that’s another thing, isn’t it? A couple of years ago I was a regular at the local football matches, all kinds of them. But that’s another ship that has sailed too. I can’t get up the hill to the ground these days.

The path around here was crowded too. Everyone who was anyone was out and about admiring the view out to sea, even if it was too hazy to actually see anything farther out.

car park pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That much was apparent by looking at the car park.

All of the spaces were taken when I arrived there and there were probably two dozen vehicles parked on the lawn on either side of the entrance.

Not that I’m going to criticise that all that much because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, going back a couple of years we actually have a photo of a police car doing just that.

So I fought my way across the car park and down to the end of the headland but there was no-one sitting on the bench at the cabanon vauban this afternoon.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Plenty of people out on the rocks though.

This weekend is one of the highest tides of the year and it’s well out right now. So with it being a Saturday it’s brought out everyone for the peche à pied when they can go scavenging among the rocks on the public part of the shellfish beds to see what they can find.

Some of the shellfish are attached quite firmly to the rocks, so you’ll have to flex your mussels to pull them off

Yes, I’ll get my coat. Sorry.

zodiac pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But what are those guys doing down there?

They have a zodiac and it looks from up here as if they are perilously close to the rocks in it. In fact, although I can’t be sure, it looks as if one of the guys is in the water up to his kneess pushing the boat out to sea.

From the way that they are dressed, they aren’t your usual pleasure boaters znd they don’t seem to be wearing any lifesaving equipment so there’s something rather bizarre going on here and I’d love to know what it is.

red powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022On that note I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was going on in the port.

However I was overflown by one of our favourite little aircraft, the red powered hang-glider. By the looks of things it had been taking a pilot and passenger down the coast to Mont St Michel and back again.

In the port there was no change at all from yesterday. No-one playing “musical ships” this afternoon at the Fish Processing Plant and no change of occupant in the chantier naval.

And no Chausiaise at the ferry terminal either.

chausiaise ch907879 l'arc en ciel ch338276 massabielle port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That’s because she was here in the inner harbour tied up at the quayside.

Also in shot are a couple of trawlers, the little Arc en Ciel and behind her the bigger Massabielle whom we saw the other day.

What isn’t in shot is Victor Hugo, the Channel Islands ferry, and there’s good reason for that. When I went to the shops this morning she was actually at the ferry terminal loading up.

She left port at 08:36 this morning and arrived at St Helier at 10:43, and then departed at 18:49 to arrive back at 20:56.

So does this mean that services have finally begun? Watch this space.

Back here I had a glass of iced chocolate milk and put my feet up on the desk ready to watch Pontypridd United in their first game in the Welsh Premier League after their surprise promotion last year against a Fflint side that had, I reckon, 10 new players in their team from last year.

Pontypridd looked a fairly useful side technically but lacked height all over the pitch and had no-one up front to capitalise on the good work that their midfielders were doing.

Y Fflint, apart from having a centre-half who was 6’6″ tall, had some old hands on the pitch who have been around the block a few times and had several spells of a few minutes here and there when they looked pretty unstoppable.

It looks as if it’s going to be a long hard season for Pontypridd but if Fflint can play more often and more regularly as they did in those little cameo flashes they could surprise one or two pundits who have written them off too.

Y Fflint had two players on the field, a winger called Omar Ibrahim who has been playing in Finland and Okera Simmonds who was on the books of Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers and Accrington Stanley and was capped at England under-18 level. And if those two play like they did just now in those little flashes, we’ll be hearing a lot more about them as the season progresses.

After I’d finished I went to make my tea where I had my incident with the pot of tomato sauce. At least the walls and floor are clean now.

Tomorrow I’ve been invited out but I’m not going. An 08:30 start isn’t any good to me on a Sunday especially when I’m feeling out of sorts. I’m going to lie in and have a rest and build up my strength ready to fight the good fight next week.

And I don’t feel much like that either.

Friday 12th August 2022 – GONE!

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And never called me “mother”!

When I went out this afternoon for my walk, I noticed that Victor Hugo, the Channel Islands ferry boat, has disappeared again. Gone on its travels, probably.

According to the fleet radar, she left at 08:12 and arrived in St Helier at 10:20, which is pretty quick going. And there she sits even as we speak. She doesn’t seem to be in any rush to come back home again.

Here’s hoping that the ferry service starts up again soon.

Something else that is gone! And never called me “mother” either is a certain letter.

This afternoon I have just heaved a rather large shark into the swimming pool by sending a letter of 1573 words to the Hospital’s Director of Medical Services.

Both Liz and Alison, to whom I showed it before I sent it, told me that they reckoned that it was too long. But you know me – never write 100 words when 1000 will do the job just as well.

If the past is anything to go by, which it usually is, the net result of my letter will be “nothing at all” but one can live in hope, even if I end up dying in despair. Some things need to be said, some points need to be underlined and (more importantly) the hospital needs to know in precise detail exactly how I feel.

What they do then is their own affair of course, but at least I’ve done all that I can and I can’t really do any more, much as I would like to. We’ll just sit back and see what happens now. It’s in the lap of the Gods.

But it goes to show the value of keeping a blog, and an indexable, searchable one too because although it took up a lot of time, I could come up with dates, places and resumés of conversations. And it’s that kind of thing that can kill any argument stone-dead before it even starts.

So retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, the alarm going off found me dictating into the dictaphone. So yes, I must have gone off on some travels at some point. And that’s despite a night that was later than it ought to have been.

After the medication I went and had a shower and, because I’m feeling under par due no doubt to having had the ‘flu for Christmas, I cut my hair.

Having dealt wit that I came back in here and, managing to avoid falling asleep, I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night. I’d gone to the library to look at a book. The Reference Library was extremely untidy. I was searching through the shelves looking for this particular book and laying down one or two others that I might need when one of the workers came past. It was one of the bad-tempered ones and she was saying that the place looked so untidy. She said “get it tidied” to me and presumably one or two other people, members of the public, so I said a few words to her and she said a few words to me and wandered off. In the end what we did was to start to pick up the loose books lying around and stuffing them in the shelves any old how. Of course in libraries there’s a certain order and a certain position to respect, particularly with reference books so we thought that that would give then ten times more work to do when they come to sort it out. A group of us began to talk about this and said how bad it was here. One of them asked me if I’d like to go to the library at Rennes, a young girl, quite nice. I wasn’t sure at first. One of the other people there had been to the library at Rennes with her. She said that she had some spare tickets still so in the end I agreed that I’d go with her. I don’t know why I needed too much persuading to do something with a young girl. The subject came round to religion. I said that I didn’t have a religion which scandalised them so I told them the joke about me walking by a church and God sending down a thunderbolt which they thought was extremely funny.

Telling jokes again in a dream again?

Later on I’d been for a weekend away. I was already in the middle of a holiday. I was in New York somewhere and something had happened and I had to change hotel and had to change the style of the way that I look and the clothes that I was wearing so that I had a completely different look about me. For a couple of days I had to go away to Southport. I found myself standing outside the station and I had all mu luggage – my huge suitcase and my little suitcase, my 2 sacks with all my bedding. I thought “why on earth do I need all of this just for a weekend?” but it was too late. I was there now. I had to be careful about the trains and was wondering how I was going to manage to manhandle all this luggage. I’d gone over there to the station and borrowed a trolley. I put my bags on it and found that it would go up the steps quite comfortably and quite easily. That looked fine. As I reached the top I came to the steps to go down to the other side. These steps were totally different and I thought that this would be totally agonising going down here with all of this. I reached the bottom and found that the 2 bags with my bedding had gone. I don’t remember seeing them fall off. I wondered if someone had taken them. I couldn’t hang around because the train was coming so I took my 2 suitcases and boarded the train. It was crowded and people were moving my suitcases around as they came in and went out. Someone in the end squeezed them in a corner that upset a guy with a musical instrument. His musical instrument was there. The train gradually thinned out so I could rescue my suitcases. He made some kind of gesture to me which I thought might have been friendly but I didn’t know and this train continued rattling on its way to Southend.

Later on it was the graduation of my little girlfriend who worked on Saturdays in the library about whom I’ve talked quite often and I’d been invited which was a surprise. She obviously thought highly of me. Because of the Covid restrictions she could only invite 3 different households and then only 2 people from each household so I felt extremely honoured. We were at the University making all kinds of arrangements. Someone was asking for details about the graduation so I told them basically that there were only 3 households and 2 people from each one. They had a hard time trying to understand it which I didn’t understand. It seemed straightforward to me but I had to tell them probably a dozen times and they still hadn’t understood what was happening. They wanted to know why but it was quite obvious with Covid. We were back in the hall talking about things, talking about computing. Someone asked me if I’d ever used Flash. I replied “God yes I’ve used Flash on games and everything 15 years ago. I’ve certainly used it but I’ve never actually been inside it to see how it works or programmed anything with it”. Then we were talking about 15 years ago and how that was the heyday of the internet when all kinds of private people were making the internet work and it was a really exciting place to be before Corporate took over the internet.

It’s actually quite amazing that I could come out with something like that in a dream. Back 15 years ago the internet was a fun and exciting place to be. In those days small groups of talented individuals were leading the tech revolution. But now they’ve all either sold out, been suckered in or submerged into the Corporate internet world and these days the onlu small groups of individuals remaining are down in the depths of the dark web spending their time waging war on Corporate tech. There doesn’t seem to be the same “Internet Warriors” that we had back then and it’s made the internet a dreary place.

At least I’m still shining the torch for the lost generation of 15-20 years ago of blogs and personal websites and newsgroups. But I won’t be around for long. We need to turn the clock back and reclaim the internet.

Having had a lengthy pause to gather up my thoughts, I sat down and composed my masterpiece. And rather unlike Beethoven who spent 44 years composing and then the next 195 years decomposing, I spent just several hours on writing out my pièce de résistance.

As a result I ended up with a considerably late lunchtime fruit session while Alison and Liz were reviewing “War and Peace”.

Having fixed the typos I printed it out and put it in an envelope, putting the bill from May in an envelope to send back too, and eventually, later than usual, headed out for the town.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, I stopped at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check the camera.

There’s a good view down onto the Fish Processing Plant from here and strangely, there were no boats tied up playing “musical ships” today. They must all be out and about somewhere offshore earning a living.

But they are certainly expected back sometime soon. If you look down onto the lover level down the ramp underneath the car park you’ll see the tractor and presumably the trailer that it pulls.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen that wandering through the town quite often loaded to the gunwhales with boxes of bouchots.

fire st pair sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Yesterday we saw the signs of a fire over the back of the church here in Granville.

Here, it’s the turn of St Pair sur Mer to catch fire. Even though it’s quite a distance away we can see the smoke billowing up from somewhere across the bay there at the back of the town.

And that reminds me. I did have a quick look through the local newspaper this morning but there was nothing at all in it about the fire yesterday. So that’s quite a mystery to me. It’s the kind of thing that you would expect to be reported.

Anyway, I wandered off down towards town.

burnt houses rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While we’re on the subject of fire … “well, one of us” – ed … we mustn’t forget what happened here in the old town one Saturday evening a few months ago.

That was when the house in the middle here caught fire and went up like a Roman candle, taking the houses on either side with it.

We saw them weatherproof the houses (not that they needed to have bothered given the weather that we have been having) shortly afterwards and that’s how I found them today on my first trip to town after so many weeks.

It looks as if any talk about repairing them has been put on the … errr … back burner for a while, presumably while the insurance details are finalised.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while Victor Hugo has sailed off into the sunset – or, rather, sunrise – Marité is back in town.

She’s been absent for the last couple of days having a sail around the bay, usually coming back at the end of the evening long after I’ve been tucked up in bed with my glass of hot Wincarnis.

When I was younger I would go for the Phyllosan that fortifies the over-forties but they haven’t invented anything yet that will sixtify the over-sixties. But never mind. Sony has a product launch in mind for my generation. Soon they’ll be bringing out the Sony Walkframe.

That is something I could use as well as I staggered into town. I made it to the Post Office and posted my letters, having to remind someone in front of me who clearly has more problems then I do that when you’ve bought your price label for your letter, you need to take your letter off the scales, stick the label onto it and stick it in the post box instead of simply walking out of the building.

And you thought that I had problems.

So I dealt with the necessary, exchanging a few pleasantries with the woman in the queue behind me, and then headed for home.

kiddies roundabout place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022One of the things that I wanted to do was to check the kiddies roundabout.

With that article having been in the paper a couple of weeks ago even though the roundabout has been here for several weeks longer than that, I wanted to make sure that we were talking about the same machine.

So yes, by comparing photos this is indeed the one that came here a while back so I’m at a loss to explain why the local newspaper has only recently picked this up.

It must have been a quiet news day.

bar ephemere chez maguie place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The climb up the hill was better than I was expecting – in that I actually did manage to make it home.

It was necessary for me to pause a couple of times to catch my breath and at one of those places I was overlooking Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère on the Place Pelley.

It’s still here, despite the best efforts of the residents in the new block of flats in the background to drive out of town everything that disturbs their peace regardless of how popular it might be with the people who were living in the town a long time before they moved in.

It’s quite popular too, with loads of people enjoying a drink. No-one on the boulodrome though. It was far too hot for that.

Round about here I fell in with a neighbour and we had a good chat. Then I pushed on for my final leg.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Before going in for my nice cold chocolate drink I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

Being later than usual, the tide was well out so there weren’t too many people down there this afternoon. They must have called it a day. A few people here and there in the water which sounded like a good idea.

Back here I had an ice-cold glass of chocolate drink and then had a play around with some photos for a while.

Tea was pie and veg with gravy, in the hope of making yet more room in the freezer. I need beans and peas tomorrow and I’ve no idea where I’m going to put them

Right now, having had a mammoth diet all day of “Eloy” and “Ten Years After”, I’m going to bed ready for shopping tomorrow. And then a nice restful day followed by football on the internet later. The Welsh Premier League starts back up tomorrow afternoon.

And what will my letter to the hospital bring me? I imagine that it will be several weeks before I hear anything, if I hear anything at all. And I don’t think that anything will change. But there’s not much else that I can do. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I can’t keep going on like this.

Thursday 11th August 2022 – AFTER YESTERDAY’S …

… somewhat better day yesterday, the wheels came off again today. No surprise there, I suppose.

What didn’t help was not going to bed until long after midnight. I don’t know why but I wasn’t tired at all the later it became and even going to bed then, I wasn’t tired and couldn’t drop off to sleep.

Eventually though I did and I was still flat-out when the alarm went off.

You’ve no idea how much effort it took for me to crawl out of bed either. I was convinced that I was going to fail to beat the second alarm, and there wasn’t all that much in it.

After the medication I came back here and that was the last that I remember until 10:00. I’d crashed out completely, and for about two hours too. That was rather upsetting and it put me all behind.

Mind you I caught up again, and in unexpected circumstances too. When I went to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night, to my surprise it was completely blank. I hadn’t expected that.

It beats me completely why I should be so tired if I’ve slept right the way through with no interruptions. But they days when I could work and work and work after days when I’ve had no more than 4 hours sleep look as if they are long gone.

So instead of transcribing nothing, I’ve been transcribing a few days’ worth of notes from when I was in Leuven and that’s all up to date now. For my next trick I’ll have to deal with the stuff from my trip out to Central Europe which is still awaiting attention. That will have to be my next plan, I reckon.

As you might expect, I haven’t written the letter that I needed to write, and neither have I written those 2 e-mails. That’s because despite having crashed out so dramatically this morning, I crashed out again this afternoon.

And did I have a rude awakening?

The hospital called me. They want me to cut out one of my medications and to up my doses of Aranesp (which I haven’t taken for a few weeks).

The bad news is that when I go back in October they are going to send me to the Pneumonologist for more tests. So I explained that I’d had tests with Pneumology just now and they were exactly the same tests as I underwent a year ago. That’s a whole year of my life wasted while they are messing around.

Let me explain more fully. This illness that I have – no-one has survived more than 11 years with it. I fell ill in Summer 2015 so that’s 7 years ago. Even in the best-case scenario I have no more than 4 years left to live. Last year it was a maximum of 5 years of course so I have wasted 20% of my life while they have been messing around.

In any other time, had they said “don’t come back for three months” I’d have been on the next ‘plane to Montreal but I can’t even get down the road these days.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Somewhere in the middle of all of this I went out for my afternoon walk.

Across the car park, with no-one parked in a position about which I could complain, and over to the wall at the end where I could look down upon the crowds on the beach.

And crowds there were too. Plenty of people down there enjoying themselves in the stifling heat. yet another candidate for “hottest day of the year”.

Some had even gone into the sea too and I can’t say that I didn’t sumpathise. At another time in other circumstances I would have been tempted to go down there myself and join in.

hermes I baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was up here I was looking around out at sea to see what was happening.

It was quite busy too out there, both with pleasure craft and with working boats. One of the latter was our old friend Hermes I who we saw the other day having a go at ramming one of the Joly France boats

At this distance I can’t tell if she has her tackle out though. usually we can see the cables but I couldn’t see them when I enhanced the image. She’s also supposed to display 2 white lights if she has her gear out but I can’t see those either.

But what I did like about this photo was being photo-bombed by a seagull as I was taking it. There are plenty of seagulls about right now.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was another mad stampede of boats coming back from the Ile de Chausey this afternoon while I was out.

Amongst the crowd was one of the Joly France ferries. And we can tell by her windows in “landscape” format that she’s the older one of the two.

She has quite a crowd of people on board too. There must have been hundreds of people out there on the islands this afternoon.

Hundreds of people up here on the path too. I had to fight my way past the throngs of people and through the car park down to the end of the headland

fire Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022No-one down on the bench by the cabanon vauban or fishing from the rocks so I carried on down the path on the other side of the headland.

And what’s going on here? As I walked down the path towards the port I noticed a column of smoke billowing up from behind the church.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of years ago when we had a similar phenomenon it was the recycling plant that had gone up like Joan of Arc but in this kind of weather almost anything will burn if you apply a naked flame to it.

We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see what’s in the local paper.

And talking of the local paper, the local newspaper ran an article a few weeks ago about the new kiddies roundabout in the Place Charles de Gaulle. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I scooped them by a couple of weeks.

belle france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022A little earlier I mentioned the stampede of boats that was on its way back to the mainland from the Ile de Chausey.

We’ve already seen one of the Joly France boats but 15 minutes behind her is the very new Belle France.

She has quite a crowd of people on board as well this afternoon so they really must have had a busy day out on the island.

And that has me thinking. Water supplies out there on the island are quite limited so I wonder how they are coping in the secheresse with all of these people going out there. I’ve been on Greek islands where they had ships outfitted as tankers that would bring in the fresh water overnight from the mainland but I’ve not seen anything like that here.

ch918297 trafalgar ch764626 chant des sirenes ch449345 peccavi ch 730708 la soupape I ch898472 cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Onwards I went to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval to see what was happening there.

And we have yet another change in occupancy today. Chant des Sirenes, La Soupape I and Cap Lihou are still in there along with Peccavi who came to join them earlier in the week.

But the unidentified trawler has now left and she’s been replaced by another. I can’t see her registration number unfortunately but her colour scheme is that of Trafalgar who we have seen in there a few times.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … a healthy ship repair yard is a good sign for a port as it encourages more shipowners to take up residence.

sm735890 lysandre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There has also been some activity at the Fish processing Plant today too.

The two boats that were there yesterday, L’Omerta and La Grande Ancre, are no longer there and the boat that would normally replace L’Omerta, Gerlean, hasn’t come back to take over.

But moored over there is one of the blue and white shell-fishing boats and we can tell by her registration number that begins with SM for St Malo that it is in fact Lysandre.

One of these days I’ll have to find out why it is that she finds life in Granville more exciting than one of the ports over on the Brittany side of the bay where she is officially based.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Yesterday I mentioned Normandy Trader, one of the little Jersey freighters.

So look who’s in port this afternoon.

You can tell that it’s her and not her sister Normandy Warrior because she has the raised deck at the back of the wheelhouse. She’s actually a veteran of the Falklands War and I’ve seen the bullet holes in her superstructure.

After that I came back for some fruit and carried on with whatever I was doing. and I can’t remember what that was now

Interestingly though on Monday when I was doing my radio programme on Monday I was talking about Terry Reid who almost sang with Led Zeppelin. This evening, my cousin’s son-in-law who runs the biggest second-hand record shop in Ottawa posted a couple of photos of a couple of rare LPs that he had just acquired – of Terry Reid.

It’s a small world.

Tea was veggie balls with steamed veg and vegan chees sauce and then back in here I wrote up my notes which took a lot longer than it ought because I was chatting to Liz on the internet. We had a lot to say for ourselves.

And then someone posted a pile of old coach photos on the internet – mainly of Plaxton-bodied Ford R1114 coaches and I drifted away in a wave of nostalgia, having driven dozens of those during a substantial period of my life before I fell in love with Van Hool bodied Volvo B10M coaches in which I drove over most of Europe

So on that note, later than usual, I’m off to bed. Here’s hoping for a good sleep and a better day tomorrow. High time I snapped out of this depression in which I’ve slid yet again and got on with what I’m supposed to be doing.

Wednesday 10th August 2022 – YOU CAN’T MAKE …

bad parking place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022… it up, can you?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I did promise not to keep on moaning about the examples of pathetic parking that I’m seeing on a daily basis, but there are some times when you can’t really avoid making some kind of comment about what you see.

This is in our own car park – a private car park for this building where there are barely enough parking spaces for all of the inhabitants.

Two inhabitants don’t own cars which means that there are a couple of empty spaces but if ever they were to have guests there would be some kind of punch-up on the pavement, a grapple in the garden or a laying-out on the lawn.

It really is shameful.

Meanwhile, in other news, to my complete surprise, I haven’t crashed out at all today.

What I put it down to is that I’ve been quite busy today (although not with anything of any relevance) and as a result, time has simply flown by.

It was rather exciting when the alarm went off at 07:30 though. I was in the middle of a dream,in the High Arctic last night of all places in a small town. There was like a granite railway station there, like a port with an arcade and café and one or two shops. There was a Boots chemist that had closed down with a note saying “I’m not like some people around here with a grandfather who owns a chemist on a hill”. There was indeed a chemist on a hill that the people in town used, not the one down in this centre. There were a couple of other shops there closed as well. I’d gone to meet my youngest sister and we’d had a coffee and chat. Eventually I’d managed to find a plug so I could plug in my telephone and laptop as well so that they would charge up. The telephone went OK but I found that the laptop was still working, not switched off so I had to switch it off before it would charge up. There was a photo of some old Inuit guys on there. The funny thing about this was that when the alarm went off at that point while I was doing this. I thought to myself immediately that I’d better lie in bed for 10 minutes or so to give my phone and computer a chance to charge up before I got out of bed.

It’s amazing what goes through my head at times when I’m in that place somewhere in between asleep and awake.

Anyway I had the medication and so on, and forgot to check the mails and messages, and then organised the music playlist for the next series of programmes. I have 6 different playlists, numbered AA to FF with about 50 artistes in each and I rotate through them in a kind of order. I use about 11 tracks every week so it means that a complete cycle of artistes will take me between 4 and 5 programmes multiplied by the 6 playlists (that I work through in order) or about 28 weeks.

Of course, it’s not so simple because there are piles of “various artistes” too from samplers and so on from a previous existence in the 70s and they are dropped here and there into the mix every now and again.

Anyway, this week’s playlist consists of 14 artistes from list CC. Such exciting people and groups as Rory Gallagher, Eloy, Mountain and Atomic Rooster are amongst this week’s artistes.

That took longer than I thought as I hadn’t done it for several months, but once it was up and running I had a listen to the dictaphone to hear where else I’d been during the night. Percy Penguin (again! She’s becoming a regular!) was round at my house last night. We were going to have tea so I suggested that we have a stuffed chicken. So between the two of us we worked out the basic rudimentary properties of a good stuffing that was vegan and Percy Penguin would be bound to be about when we’re talking about a good stuffing. We went into the main kitchen of the house, not my little lean-to type of place but the main kitchen where everyone else was in order to cook this half-chicken that I had. Once we’d gone in there I had to go and fetch everything that I needed like saucepans, herbs, spices, quinoa, stuff like that. I began to collect everything but it became obvious pretty soon that I couldn’t remember half the stuff I need. I was going to be overloaded with stuff anyway. I wouldn’t be able to carry it and what would happen then? In the meantime there were people coming in and out of my place like the chemist and his wife in the middle of this rainstorm. They were doing something in my living room. There was a cat there that was soaking wet and the whole of the area by the door was wet through with this rainstorm as well. I had to go back out with what I’d managed to find to go across to the main house with what I had. Again I was sure that it was nothing like enough. I didn’t have the correct saucepans or anything. I could see that this was going to turn out to be a total tragedy because already if you are talking about 20 minutes per pound to cook a chicken it’s already going to take a couple of hours to do and it’s already about 20:00. I can’t see this chicken being ready for hours before we can eat it. Of course she’d have to go home as well. It was just going to be total confusion.

But I liked the idea of the vegan stuffing to eat with the chicken.

The story of half a chicken is not as far-fetched as it might seem. One Christmas (it might have been 1977) I wanted a small turkey but I couldn’t find one anywhere. I must have been in a dozen butchers. At the last one, in Willaston, there was a woman in front of me who was also searching for a small turkey, to no avail.

So I looked at her, she looked at me, and we both bought the last one remaining, quite a large one, and told the butcher to cut it in half. And each of us clutching our respective half, rather like the KINIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE we went our separate ways.

Meanwhile Retournons à nos moutons there was something else to do with baking where a girl, a young teenager, and there was some kind of cake that needed making. The girl didn’t want to become involved but the father did it all on his own on the quiet and it turned out to be quite a reasonable job. It looked really nice. When his family found out they were quite pleased about him having done it. That’s all that I can remember.

And then of course there was the trip by boat to the High Arctic. Yes, I’m becoming broody again.

Something else that I’ve done today was to transcribe a few more notes from the dictaphone, and then I’ve been doing a few rather unproductive things of my own.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022One of the more productive things that I’ve done today was to go for a walk around the headland as usual, and that always starts with a look at the beach.

And so dodging the poorly-parked cars I wandered off to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look down there to see what was happening.

It was another beautiful summer day so I was expecting the crowds again and while there wasn’t much beach to be on, given the state of the tide, there were plenty of people down there upon it.

Quite a few of them had taken to the water as well which was no surprise given the weather that we were having, and I was feeling quite envious.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And as you can imagine, I was feeling quite envious of these guys.

While I was looking around I noticed this zodiac out to sea in the bay. I couldn’t see what the guys were doing on board but at the speed at which they were travelling it wouldn’t have been fishing.

Even though there was a seagull giving them a fly-past, they didn’t seem to have any fishing equipment on board.

Anyway, I fought my way through the crowds towards the end of the headland to see what was happening there.

boats heading for port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022You can tell that it won’t be long before they close the gates at the entrance to the port de plaisance.

As I was standing on the roof of the bunker looking out to see, I could see stream after stream of pleasure boat heading back from the Ile de Chausey, being led home by a yacht, although I had a feeling that that wouldn’t last long.

At the end of the headland I went across the car park to the end of the headland. But today there were no fisherman and no-one sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban either.

And so I didn’t hang around. I headed off down the path towards the port.

l'omerta la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Over at the fish processing plant we’ve had a change of occupancy.

L’Omerta is still there as you might expect, but Gerlean and Le Styx are no longer there. Their places have been taken by La Grande Ancre and one of the little port lighters.

There was no change in the chantier naval today either. There were the same boats there that were there yesterday, and Chausiaise was still moored up at the ferry terminal. But not with Victor Hugo who was still sitting forlornly in the inner harbour.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While we’re on the subject of ferries … “well, one of us is” – edThora is in port again.

She used to be a car ferry in the past and worked between a couple of the islands in the Shetlands but was retired when new, larger ships were bought.

In her retirement she first went off to be a diving support vessel, presumably out at the oil rigs, but later she was bought and came down here where she’s used as a little freighter that runs a shuttle between Granville and St Helier.

And that’s a route that’s becoming busier and busier. We had two little freighters on the route but a third, Normandy Warrior, came to join them.

And we’ve seen the big freighter Southern Liner that came in to try out the port.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022We haven’t finished with ferries yet either.

While I was having a good look around out to sea I noticed something moving deep down at the head of the Baie de Mont St Michel.

That prompted me to take a photo of it and back in the apartment I could enhance and enlarge it to see if I could recognise who was down there

By the looks of things it’s one of the Joly France ferries taking a ship-load of tourists out for a lap around the bay this afternoon while they have the tide in their favour.

joly france entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022After much deliberation I reckoned that it was the newer one of the two with its windows in portrait format.

And I can confirm that because just at that moment, around the headland from the Ile de Chausey and into port came another one of the Joly France boats.

We can tell by her windows in landscape format that she’s the older one of the two, hence my guess for the other one. She doesn’t seem to be Belle France anyway.

But that was the cue for me to wander off home. I haven’t had my fruit yet. I must have been busy.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Before I do go home though, I’ll just take a photo of one of the yacht schools.

There were three or four of them out there this afternoon but this one caught my eye with the zodiacs of the monitors being used as tenders behind the yachts.

Back here I had my fruit and then came in here to carry on with what I was doing. And so engrossed was I that I had a late tea. Curry of bits and pieces out of the fridge and it certainly was delicious. And rather light the yacht school, a tender behind will be appropriate for me too.

So bedtime now, and then a day tomorrow where I hae an important letter to write and a few ‘phone calls to make. Everything will be back to normal next week. Except me of course. That’s too much to ask.

Tuesday 9th August 2022 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

trawler hermes I baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022… really bad day today.

And that’s completely miserable seeing as I forgot to switch on the alarm this morning and as a result ended up having an impromptu lie-in. You would have thought that I would have expected rather better after that.

So while you admire a few photos of the trawler Hermes I and La Granvillaise on a collision course out in the Baie de Granville I’ll tell you all about it.

And rather surprisingly, I didn’t go all that far during the night so that’s even more of a reason not to have had any difficulty today.

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022In fact, one of the first things that I did after having my medication and checking my mails and messages was to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

I was doing something with my friend from the Wirral and the Ford Cortinas but when I awoke it went almost completely. It was something to do with motorbikes as well and something else to do with lock-ups. I had some lock-ups in Wistaston and I wanted some extra ones particularly as I had acquired an extra car. We’d looked at a few but nothing seemed to be right. One came up in the block where I already had 2 or 3 so I had that but I hadn’t mentioned it to anywone which was why I kept on being reminded about it. I kept on having these reminders about looking for an extra lock-up garage. That’s how I bumped into my friend. He told me about his new car and how he’d come to get that.

trawler hermes I la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And then later on there was an episode of the Clitheroe Kid about the Clitheroes on holiday at the seaside. Jimmy had been up to his usual tricks again and had to write out a apology to his grandfather in so many hundred words. He took a sheet of computer paper and cut off half of it which upset his sister because she was using the other half – using the page for something but now she only had the other half. He was in discussion with Alfie about what it was that he should write to express his apology but as usual Alfie wasn’t very much help at all.

When I’d finished that I had a little play about on the acoustic guitar for half an hour or so. I have to keep in practice although I’m not sure why because I don’t think that I’m ever going to have the chance for a live performance. That ship sailed a long time ago unfortunately.

hermes I baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022After my lunchtime fruit I made a start on the arrears of dictaphone stuff from my trip to Leuven

And believe it or not, I actually managed to undo a day’s worth of notes before I found myself crashing out on my chair. I’ve no idea how long I was out of my tree but it felt like an absolute age.

When I finally awoke, I was in no fit state to go out for my afternoon walk at first and I was all ready to postpone my perambulation until another day, that’s how I was feeling this afternoon.

Eventually though, much later than usual, I managed to stagger out into the street to take the air

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022and as usual the first thing to do is to go and look at what is happening down on the beach.

Consequently I staggered off across the car park and through the crowds to the wall at the end so that I could look down over the top of the cliff.

There wasn’t much beach to be on today, with the tide being well in, but somehow they still managed to fit hordes of people onto whatever beach there was.

Crowds of them taking to the waters too, which isn’t a surprise seeing how warm it was today. Another candidate for the hottest day of the year, I reckon today.

The path around the top of the cliffs was crowded too but I didn’t take much notice, waiting (rather in vain) for another one of Tom Rolt’s “Greek v Greek” moments involving Hermes I and La Granvillaise but they managed to avoid each other.

“No shipwrecks and nobody drownding. In fact nothing to laugh at at all”.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were cars everywhere at the car park – in the parking spaces and even parked up on the lawn as well.

That will account for the hordes of people being around today. I was even expecting to see some fishermen on the rocks at the end of the Pointe du Roc and I wasn’t disappointed.

But never mind. I didn’t see anyone pull anything out of the water today. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that as far as I can remember, we’ve only ever seen one person actually pull a fish out of the water with rod and line.

We’ve seen a few pull a few out with nets, but that doesn’t really count.

cabanon vauban people on bench fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That wasn’t everything out here either this afternoon.

There were plenty of people wandering around on the lower path underneath where I was standing and as I watched, a couple of them left the path and wandered over to the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban.

They didn’t seem to be interested in the fisherman who was on the rocks down below where they were, but something in the Baie de Mont St Michel had clearly caught their eye and all their attention

speedboat trawler hermes I joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And I’m not surprised either because this made quite a lovely photograph.

Our trawler Hermes I had rounded the headland and was sailing down the south side of the headland just as one of the Joly France ferries, the newer one by the looks of things judging by its “portrait” format windows was leaving the port.

Once again it looked as if we were going to have a “Greek v Greek” moment but Joly France I gave a touch of the old “left hand down a bit” and the two boats passed by starboard-side on.

Only a handful of people on the ferry so it looks as if she’s going to bring back a group of tourists out on the islands and those on board have just gone out for the ride.

ch764626 chant des sirenes ch449345 peccavi ch 730708 la soupape I ch898472 cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022We’ve had another change in the chantier naval today as I found out when I made my way around there.

We have of course Chant des Sirenes, La Soupape I and Cap Lihou in there along with the unidentified trawler, but a new boat has come in to join them, the white one with the red and gold stripe.

Her registration number is CH449345 and according to the trawler database, that tells me that she is called Peccavi and we’ve seen her on a few occasions in and out of the chantier naval

And in the background over at the ferry terminal this afternoon we have the little freighter Chausiaise.

gerlean l'omerta le styx fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile, over at the Fish Processing Plant we have quite a bit of traffic today.

L’Omerta is still over there tied up at the quayside as she was yesterday, but she has now been joined by Gerlean. Those two seem to be regulars over there now and maybe I ought to stop being so surprised by seeing them there.

They have company over there too today. Tied up behind them is the trawler Le Styx. She’s busy unloading over there right now.

Hermes I who came into port a few minutes earlier has gone into the inner harbour and is presumably unloading at the other side of the wharf.

victor hugo ch338276 massabielle port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Also back in port today is Victor Hugo.

She apparently came into port late afternoon yesterday after having spent several days either in St Helier or St Peter Port.

Does this mean that the dispute over her operation has been resolved and she’ll be starting up in service, or is this rather wishful thinking? Her colleague Granville is still hanging around out and about in the Channel Islands and it’s been a while since she’s been shuttling back and to from France.

In the foreground is the little trawler Massabielle. I don’t recall having noticed her before today.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Before I went home I had a look at what was going on out in the bay.

It looked as if one of the sailing schools was preparing to go out for a run around. They had brought out all of the yachts and put them in position ready to take off. But the state of the tide means that they won’t be out there for long.

And neither will I.

With my walk almost finished and melting from the heat, I came back home for a coffee and to sort out my photographs from today

Tea tonight was a delicious taco roll with rice and vegetables. And it looks like curry tomorrow, I reckon.

But I’m struggling again for space in the freezer. I’ll have to stock up on frozen veg this weekend but I’m not sure where I’m going to put everything.

But that’s for another time. Right now I’m off to bed. I’ve remembered to switch on the alarm this evening so in theory I should wake up something like on time tomorrow. But whether I’m going to be in any state to do anything remains to be seen

Monday 8th August 2022 – EVEN THOUGH I WENT …

… to bed fairly early last night, the 06:00 start didn’t do me much good and round about 12:45 while I was thinking about lunchtime, I ended up going away with the fairies.

And not just for five minutes either. When the alarm went off at 14:45 to remind me about my physiotherapy appointment (that I’m not restarting until next week) I was only just about tucking into my lunchtime fruit.

That was a period that I would like very much to forget.

When the alarm did go off at 06:00 I was out of bed quite quickly for my medication etc and round about 06:30 I was beginning to attack the radio programme.

There were a couple of new groups and artistes making their debuts so I had to carry out some research rather than just extracting information from my notes, and then I had to find about 11 seconds of speech to edit out when it came to adding the final track as it over-run.

As a result, it wasn’t finished until about 11:20 but it does all sound very good and, as usual, I learnt a lot.

That was the cue to go for breakfast, much later than usual, and Rosemary mistimed her ‘phone call because I hadn’t quite finished my toast when she rang up. We ended up chatting for about 45 minutes during which I told her about my vicissitudes at the hospital on Thursday.

It was shortly after the end of my phone call with Rosemary when I crashed out.

After lunch I made a start on transcribing the dictaphone notes but stopped half-way through because it was time for me to go on my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, the first place to go was to go and see what was happening down on the beach.

Consequently I wandered off across the car park to the wall at the end of the car park where I can look over and down onto the beach.

As it was a lovely day, I was expecting to see crowds of people down there this afternoon and I wasn’t disappointed either. There were plenty of people disporting themselves on the rocks and many of them had actually gone into the sea.

It must have been really nice down there this afternoon and what wouldn’t I have given to be down there with them?

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, while I was looking around down on the beach I was also having a look around out at sea too.

Away out in Granville Bay almost in the English Channel (you can see the channel marker over to the right) was a beautiful set of sails, the topsail of which was bellying out in the wind.

No prizes for guessing who it was, although I had to wait until I returned home to enlarge and enhance the image to make certain.

It is indeed our old friend Marité who has gone out for a sail around the bay with a bunch of passengers. At least, that’s why I imagine that she’s gone out there.

belle france joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was even more activity out at sea too.

As I watched the action in the bay we almost ended up with another one of Tom Rolt’s “Greek v Greek” moments. There was a ferry on its way back from the Ile de Chausey and another one going out from the mainland and it looked at first as if they were on a collision course.

The one of the left heading out to the island is the very new Belle France and the one coming in on the right from the island is one of the Joly France boats.

They didn’t stay on the collision course for long though so I was cheated out of some free entertainment. Belle France did a little bit of the old “left hand down a bit” and they passed each other to starboard.

flying a kite pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022From my vantage point at the back of the College Malraux where I’d been observing the nautical goings-on, I headed off down the path towards the end of the headland.

On the lawn half-way down the path there was a father and his little child having endless amounts of fun with a balloon. Unfortunately he couldn’t keep it up for all that long and it soon came crashing down to the ground.

But just look at the vegetation. It really is in a right state, isn’t it? All burnt to a rather delicate shade of light brown with just the odd patch of green weed that still seems to be thriving.

And the path is like an Oklahoma Dust Bowl from the 1930s and with the wind, there’s quite a bit of dust being blown about.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Acros the car park I walked down to the end of the headland to see what was happening out at sea in the bay.

There was plenty of activity out there this afternoon but I was much more interested in the ferry that we had seen a little earlier that was now just sailing around the headland towards the port.

From this position it’s easy to see which one of the ferries she it. With the step taken out of the stern and the windows in “portrait” format, we can tell that she’s the newer one of the two.

Strangely, there was no-one on the bench by the cabanon vauban watching the fun, and no-one fishing off the rocks either, so I pushed on down the path on the other side of the headland towards point.

ch764626 chant des sirenes ch 730708 la soupape I ch898472 cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There has been some activity in the chantier naval while I was away in Leuven.

Chant des Sirenes and her painted mermaid are still in there, but I can’t remember who was there with her before I went away. Anyway, in there today with her is La Soupape I and over on the extreme right by the portable boat lift is Cap Lihou.

There’s a trawler in between Chant des Sirenes and La Soupape I but I can’t identify her from this position.

L’Omerta was still there moored up by the Fish Processing Plant but she was on her own.

men working on crane chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022They were having fun with one of the cranes in the inner harbour this afternoon.

That’s the one that they renovated a couple of months ago as you can tell by its new fresh paintwork but now someone is busy presumably checking over the hydraulics.

Chausiaise is over there too moored up close to the crane but the two Channel Island ferries are missing.

Back here I finished off the banana drink that I’d brought back from Leuven and then finished off the dictaphone notes from last night. I started out at school, sitting in a lesson writing notes into a notebook. On the cover of this notebook I had a drawing and the name of The Farmer’s Daughter (who has appeared a few times in the past in my nocturnal rambles but was only there last night in spirit) who went to this school and on whom I had quite a crush. When the lesson finished I put my notebook in the desk. Of course it happened to be hers. We all filed out of the classroom and I didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t until a couple of lessons later when one of the teachers asked me for a piece of work and I realised that it was in the notebook that was in The Farmer’s Daughter’s desk. He wanted it straight away so I had to go to her classroom. It was being used by another group. My brother was there along with a load of other people whom I knew so I had to interrupt the lesson to ask if I could collect something out of one of the desks. All the desks had been pushed over to the back wall to make a large empty space in the middle. I didn’t have a clue whose desk was whose and what and where. I had a look in them all as best as I could but I couldn’t find this notebook. I wasn’t even sure that I’d looked in them all. I did everything that I possibly could but in the end I had to admit defeat. I thanked the teacher and the class for their time and made my way out to go. They had all piles of magazines etc stacked up ready to be distributed amongst the students etc. Everything was in a real mess. There was no way that I could find this desk with this notebook in it so I was wondering what was going to happen next.

As it happens, I did have quite a crush on her at school although that didn’t go anywhere. However we did meet up in Manchester once or twice when I was living there and we saw each other once or twice.

Later on Nerina and I had separated and I was left with a pile of cars. I had the red MkV estate, the brown MkIII saloon and a couple of other estates. I decided that what I was going to do was to trim down the fleet and dispose of a couple of estates. I was putting a couple of ads in the newspapers. I’d written the ads but I hadn’t sent them off yet and I hadn’t decided which of the estates I was going to sell. I was obviously going to keep the red one but I didn’t know about the others. Then I was thinking that at the moment I don’t have a car on the road. There was no reason why the MkIII can’t be on the road because that’s MoT’d but it’s not taxed and I could afford to pay the road tax for once so I may as well tax it and have that going. While I was debating this my brother came along and asked me what I was doing. I said that I was contemplating the ceiling. He said “besides that”. I said that I was getting ready – I was going to – I was at work. He said “that’s not what I mean at all”. I replied “that’s all that I’m doing at the moment. I’m not doing anything else. It’s not the Spring or Summer so i’m not working on any cars. I’d leave it until then to put something else on the road running”. The chat with my brother turned in to be something rather acrimonious.

For some reason I was looking at fishing rods. I still had my fishing rod from when I was a kid but it was falling to pieces. I was looking in the window at various fishing rods. There was a young boy standing there looking who came over to talk to me. While I was looking at some that were in the region of £70-£80 he was just looking at any old one. I found out that he had never been fishing before and wanted to have a go. In the end he came into one of the shops with me and we had a talk to the woman behind the counter. I introduced her to him and he explained that he wanted to go fishing. She took him off to have a go with a few things while I listened to the radio about a few few fishing programmes. She came back with him picking a fishing rod at £5:95 but it needs some line and a few other bits and pieces. I said “that sounds good to me. Make sure that he has everything”. Then we started talking about what I really wanted. I explained that I wanted something good that would work under ice as well.

Like most kids, I had some fishing tackle that my grandfather gave me but I only went out about three or four times and just like the fishermen around here, I never actually caught anything. It was like watching paint dry.

Finally there was some woman whom I wanted to see, something to do with the radio. When I found out where she lived I went round to see her. She had some kind of security guy on the door who refused to let me in on the grounds that she was working. I suggested that maybe the 2 of us could do our work together and that way I could talk to her while she was working and neither of us would be wasting any time.

Having had a search around in that old-time radio site that I mentioned the other day, I came across some more ITMA, some “Much Binding In The Marsh”, some PG Wodehouse and some more Clitheroe Kid that I’ve not found elsewhere so I’ve been downloading that.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper which was delicious and now that I’ve finished my notes, I’m off to bed for an early night. I’m exhausted and a good sleep will do me the world of good. I bet that I’ll still fall asleep at some point tomorrow

Sunday 7th August 2022 – IT WAS JUST AS WELL …

marité entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022… that I decided not to go out today on this trip to see the high tides.

While you admire a few photos of Marité coming into port this afternoon after a trip around the bay, I was still awake at 03:00 this morning not even in the least bit tired. Nowhere near going to bed at all, despite all of the efforts that I expended in coming home yesterday.

That is what comes of crashing out like I did late yesterday afternoon. It was about 03:30 when I finally crawled into bed last night – or rather, this morning – and I still wasn’t all that tired.

Mind you, I must have gone to sleep quite quickly because there was plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from last night and it started quite early.

marité entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was something rather indecent written on a wall about something that I’d been up to in the days of my youth with a young lady. Someone had appended some notes to it that attracted a lot of attention. When I went to see it, none of these allegations were actually true (which they aren’t of course – they related to a friend of mine in real life) but that didn’t alter the fact that these allegations are there so I just simply left them there and ignored them but they seemed to be gathering rather a lot of momentum and people were asking me what I was going to do about it. It was very difficult for me to give an answer because I didn’t know how I was going to silence these rumours even though there was no truth whatever in them because you can’t really counteract an anonymous posting in this respect. I’d actually gone there to do something else involving a bucket of water and I had my hands full with this bucket of water at the time as well which meant that I was even less able to do anything about it.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Later on I was dismantling equipment. I had a little workshop set up that was slowly getting itself organised. My brother had one the same but there had been a load of trouble at his workshop and needed some people to go in to refit it. The floors needed re-doing, everything like that. I went in and there was a group of us there. We did what we could but there were a few things that didn’t work. One was some kind of machine where the carburettor needed dismantling so I was working out how to dismantle this carburettor. I wasn’t easy – it wasn’t like a normal one. It was more like one of these Victorian tube ignition things. I was dismantling it and I had a pile of screws and nuts in my hand. There was a little girl helping me so I asked her to fetch a drawer out of one of these little tiny drawer unit things that you use for keeping nuts and screws. She did but it had stuff in it so I tipped them into something else and put these screws and everything into this drawer and told her to find a little piece of paper and write “carb” on it so we know that it’s where the carburettor goes. Someone said “you like working in this workshop, don’t you?”. I replied “I like working in mine much better”. Then someone came by and tried to hold everyone up, wielding a hammer around. He wanted money. I leapt of the top of this workbench at him but I missed. He had some kind of foam spray that he sprayed on me. He added water and it expanded but the aerosol can was still stuck to my jacket so I was able to beat him to death with this can attached to my jacket just by flailing my jacket around and that was that.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a violent dream like this.

man diving from diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while you admire the folk on the diving platform, I was back at home, talking to my Scottish friend. She rang me back later and said that due to a change of plan she’d actually finish work Friday evening. I said that if she could grab a bus, to come down for the weekend. “I can find you a bed” but I added quite quickly something like “don’t worry, your principles won’t be compromised” because of course she’s extremely religious. There was something about a really idle young boy who wouldn’t do anything. We’d installed an air vent with a metal grille in a wall somewhere. The grille was just vertical slats. They were before a judge somewhere trying to talk about him over things that he’d done or not done. I asked the judge if he could paint these metal slats in this ventilation grille for me. They all couldn’t see why not but it was up to him whether he wanted to do the job

people jumping from diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Then another dispute arose about the arrival of camp beds. We wanted 4 camp beds for something but it took us a while to convince some distant member of the family that that was what we needed. In the end they agreed to bring them so I went to change into winter clothes including a pair of winter tights so that I could work outside in the winter when they turned up. They had only brought these beds and not a few other bits and pieces that had been asked, and no car batteries. With no car batteries we couldn’t finish the cupboard that we were building inside the corner of one of the rooms. We found out that it was someone else who was supposed to be bringing the batteries but they had gone out so I had to lift these 4 bunk beds with all the noise and everything in the cold. The only one who would help me was some woman, 50, who had driven this car round who looked as if she was dressed like a scout patrol leader or something

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And while you admire a couple of photos of the crowds on the beach, I’d also had a chat with some kind of accommodation director at an army barracks about some double flats. His basic response was that if I don’t like the way that things are run I can jump into the fire alongside the flats which I thought wasn’t very polite.

Going back to this military dream again there was some issue about a couple of yachts that were in a basin but then in the middle of dictating this I fell into a deep sleep and I was then treated to 18 minutes of snoring and I’m sorry, Percy Penguin (who doesn’t feature in these pages as often as she deserves) for doubting your word when you told me that I snored in my sleep.

Despite not having gone to bed until 03:30 I was awake by 09:30.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That’s not the same thing as saying that I was out of bed though.

You’ll have to wait until 10:40 or thereabouts before I finally saw the light of day and then I went off for my medication.

That was followed by working on the music for the radio programme on which I’ll be working on Monday. It’s another good batch of music and the joins have turned out really well.

There’s even a good speech that I managed to track down for my guest and that should bring a smile to the face of everyone who understands it.

After lunch I went and had a wade through all of the … GULP! … 42 photos that I took when I was on my travels. I’ll have to transcribe all of the dictaphone notes at some point and then update the blog entries, along with the entries for when I was in Central Europe that I still haven’t updated yet.

Yes, I’ve let things slide rather a lot just recently and I need to pull myself together.

cap pilar baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Anyway, I trotted out for my afternoon walk around the medieval walls, but I was detained by having seen Marité coming into port on the tide.

Other things were coming into port as well from out in the bay, including the trawler Cap Pilar.

But what caught my eye about her was her rather strange “bow down” position as she came around the headland, almost as if her for’rard hold was flooded. There can’t be that much fish in her to make her trim like that.

So having seem Marité come safely into port, I wandered off for my walk around the walls.

tent on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022You’ve already seen several photos of the crowded beaches and the sea this afternoon.

No surprise there because it really was a nice if somewhat windy day today. But I’m not sure why you would need to bring a tent down to the beach today.

For all of the people around there wondering what was going on after the owners had erected it, they must have thought that the excitement was … errr … intense.

Far too intense for me of course, in my state of health. I wandered off down the Rue du Nord on top of the medieval city walls.

repointing medieval city wall rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last God-knows how long, the wall around here has been sheathed in scaffolding.

But today, I noticed that it had all gone. So much for the workman telling me a few months ago that they will be here for a year.

What with the way that my health is right now, I wasn’t up to going down to the foot of the steps to see the finished results so instead I pointed the camera over the top and had a play with the exposure time.

And I do have to say that I am really quite impressed with the job that they have done. It really does look well and I hope that they can do the rest of the wall to make it look like this.

repointing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that here a little further along in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux they completely dismantled … “disPERSONtled” – ed … it all the way down almost to ground level.

They rebuilt it right up afterwards and you really can’t tell that it was completely taken apart.

There was a flying scaffolding here too weighed down with 5 tonnes of water in those pallet tanks. The scaffolding turned up overnight last Summer and it did really well to survive all of the storms that we had in the meantime.

There’s an arch a little further on where I can pass outside the walls and walk along the path underneath the walls. In the days of my youth I used to run down there but these days it’s more of an undignified totter.

street musicians place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The path goes past the viewpoints overlooking the diving platform and the beach at the Plat Gousset where I took a few photos, and then I pushed off further along the path.

There’s quite a lot of entertainment going on in the town today and I’d been hearing music. And what caught my eye as I peered down the Rue Paul Poirier was a group of musicians marching up and down the Rue Lecampion into the Place Charles de Gaulle and back again.

Some of the streets are blocked off too for pedestrians only so it looks as if it’s the braderie today, when the shops have a sale to dispose of all of their surplus stock to make more room for the new fashions.

They’ll be setting their stalls out, both literally and figuratively, outside their shops in the street and on the pavements.

seagull chick rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was at it I wandered off down through the Square Maurice Marland.

All of the roofs in the Rue Des Juifs have been covered with seagull nests and many proud mothers have been rearing their chicks through the early summer. Many of them are now pretty autonomous and are hanging around on their own, just like this one.

But as for the Square itself, it’s looking like a very sad and sorry shadow of itself with the burnt grass and dust-bowl conditions. But you can tell which are the native plants and which are the cultivated ones because it’s the former who seem to be doing better in these drought conditions.

fete des soudeurs port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This weekend it has been the Fête des Soudeurs, a festival where all of the local blacksmiths set up their smithies around the town perform in public, with a few musical performances here and there as accompaniment.

It’s all quietening down now but there is still some music and according to one of my neighbours they are auctioning off some of the artefacts.

These days I seems to be having quite a few interactions with my neighbours. This afternoon I was walking around on top of the cliffs looking down into the sea when I fell in with the young guy from the top floor and we had quite a chat.

Back here I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night and then rolled out the pizza dough that I’d taken out of the freezer a few hours earlier and put on one side to thaw.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The pizza dough was put into the pizza tray to proof and then when it was ready I assembled the pizza and put it on the oven to bake.

It was another delicious one but I reckon that I need a new sharp knife to cut the base because the one that I’m using is struggling to fight its way through the base. Maybe I ought to slice it in future and then eat it with my fingers.

So having now finished my notes, I’m ready for bed. It’s a 06:00 start in the morning to make a start on the radio programme that I’ll be preparing and the way that things are right now, it’s not going to be easy.

So here’s hoping for a better night than those that I’ve been having just recently.

Saturday 6th August 2022 – AS BARRY HAY ONCE …

… famously said, IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK HOME.

And, shame as it is to admit it, it was good to have Caliburn at the railway station too because the train can be 15 minutes late arriving in Granville, I can go to do a pile of shopping in Lidl, and still be back home before the usual time that I would have been had I walked, and without any of the stress and fatigue.

Just as well too because apart from the fact that it was a scorching afternoon that would have burnt me to a frazzle had I tried to walk, I’d had another bad night. In fact, when the alarm went off at 05:30 I was already up and about tidying the room.

Never mind the 06:33 to Oostende, I was well in advance for the 06:09 to Knokke via the airport so I clambered aboard that and headed into Brussels. I had a few things to do there and then had only a short wait because much to my surprise they posted the train to Paris half an hour before the next one so we all swarmed up to the platform and surged aboard.

And I could understand why they posted the train earlier too. There were 16 carriages on this train, all of which except the two buffet cars have 108 seats, and there wasn’t an empty seat on the whole train. Getting that lot on board would take much longer than 15 minutes.

My seat was squashed in a corner out of the way so I passed the time of the journey choosing more music for my radio shows.

Paris was heaving too. I was lucky enough to grab a seat on the Metro and we whizzed through the drains quite rapidly. At the exit at the Gare Montparnasse Metro station a couple of people offered to carry my suitcase up the stairs for me, which was very nice of them. But I am glad that I found that easier walk down the street instead of struggling through the labyrinth.

Gare Montparnasse was heaving with people this morning but then the first Saturday in August, that’s hardly a surprise. And I was lucky to find a seat next to an electric socket that actually worked so I could charge up the phone and listen to a live concert of Steve Harley and Nick Pynn which has one of the best versions of “Riding The Waves” that I’ve ever heard.

Once again we were called early to the train which was once more just as well. 2×6-car units and not a spare seat anywhere. I had a lovely travelling companion but she didn’t say much and I carried on choosing music, reading a couple of books and … errr … falling asleep

The car park at the station was heaving too and leaving took quite a while. But I’m glad that I went to Lidl because I could stock up with stuff for the next few days.

You’ve no idea how glad I was to be back at my apartment. I struggled up the stairs not once but twice with my stuff and ended up having quite a long chat with my neighbour from upstairs and we put the world to rights for a while.

Once I’d installed myself inside I made a nice strong coffee and a couple of rounds of toast – the first stuff that I’d eaten today and it was 15:30.

While I was drinking the coffee (two cups) I backed up the big computer in here and even before I’d finished the coffee I’d fallen asleep again. This time it was a good one and I was gone for about an hour and a half.

Tea was what I should have had last night. Alison coming by was a surprise so we ate out and I brought the stuff back with me today. It’s a shame to waste it.

So now I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted and a good sleep will really do me good, I reckon. I’ve been invited out tomorrow but I don’t know if I shall go. I’m not feeling up to it right now so we’ll have to see if I’m feeling any better in the morning.

Friday 5th August 2022 – HAVING HAD SOMETHING …

… of a quiet day today, no-one was more surprised than me to notice that I’ve performed more than 109% of my daily activity today.

That’s a whole lot of nothing.

It was raining when I returned home yesterday evening and it kept on at it for a while during the night. And at 02:50 I was awoken by the most enormous clap of thunder

No alarm this morning, which was probably just as well, and it was 09:40 when I finally struggled to my feet.

Toast for breakfast, and while i was munching thereupon, I was chatting to Liz on the internet, and then I nipped out for a walk.

First stop was at the pharmacy where I picked up some of the medication. Not all of it because they didn’t have it all in stock. I had to return later.

And then across town to the Exotic supermarket for the spices, where I discovered that I’d forgotten to bring the list with me so I had to invent it out of the back of my memory.

They also had some tofu in spinach sauce so I bought a box, thinking that this would make a nice base for a curry one of these days.

The walk back was a struggle but I did bump into the Centre manager who is on holiday for a week, hence the unsatisfactory room that I have. Well, it would be satisfactory to anyone who could make it up the stairs quite easily, but that’s not me.

This afternoon I’ve been choosing music for future radio programmes and I’ve not chosen anything like as many as I would normally do. I must be slipping.

At 17:00 I nipped out for the rest of the medication and then carried on with the music later until Alison messaged me to say that she was on her way.

When she arrived we went to the Greenway Restaurant for fod and then into the town centre for a coffee and a chat and t discuss our future plans. Not that I have too many these days but nevertheless …

There’s a very early start in the morning so right now I’m off to bed, and quite right too. It’s a long way home and I need to be at my best, I suppose. First problem is to make it to the station and that’s not going to be easy.

It’s not something to which I’m looking forward at all.

Thursday 4th August 2022 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING ELSE …

… today that I also vowed that I would never do. But once again, needs must when the devil drives and once again, it’s a sign of how far down the slippery slope I’ve slid just recently.

Not only did I take the bus to the hospital this morning, I took the bus back home again as well. And that’s probably more dismal than going in Caliburn to the railway station.

Last night was quite a bad night yet again with plenty of tossing and turning, and I was wide awake long before the alarm went off. But somehow I managed to go back to sleep so that the alarm awoke me with a resounding crash.

After a shower and a clothes-washing session I went in search of a toaster which one of the staff managed to track down for me so that I could have some toast for breakfast, and then I spent a little 20 minutes or so choosing some music for a future radio programme.

The bus was quite uncomplicated and had me at the hospital quite early which was just as well because I had to track down my new social worker who replaced Kaatje. My medical insurance agreement expired at the end of April so the hospital sent me a bill for May’s treatment. Kaatje usually sent off the billing request to my insurance people automatically so I had to go and chivvy up the new woman.

As expected, the urologist couldn’t find anything wrong with me and suggested that I see the pneumologist. And at this I exploded because as I expected back in April, they are just sending me round in a circle. And I told the doctor what I thought of the situation.

He went to fetch his professor and I told him too in greater detail. I finished my monologue by saying that I felt that I was no longer a patient but now a statistic and that was a barb that struck home.

My examination with the cardiologist went the same way. It started off rather strangely with me wondering how they can correctly check the operation of my heart when they have a young student nurse in a low-cut overall with no tee-shirt underneath clambering all over me to connect me to her machine.

But the professor who saw me felt the lash of my tongue and the cutting edge of my wrath as well and so both he and his colleague in urology now know exactly how I feel.

Not that it did any good because a short while later I was paged to go and have some more tests at Pneumonology – the same tests that I’d had last October and on looking at the screen while the tests were ongoing, I could see that the results were exactly the same. So that was a waste of time.

At Oncology I had what at fist glance might be good news. This last batch of treatment seems to have worked as three months without it has cause a drop in my red blood count of just 0.2. And so they are going to try me for another three months without any treatment.

Ordinarily this would mean that I would be on the next plane to Montreal but the state that I’m in at the moment I can’t even go down to the end of the street. And three months before they even think about doing something else about my breathing issues means a whole waste of of a summer. I can’t see me struggling anywhere on foot dragging a suitcase behind me right now.

Cursing my luck I went to the pharmacy for my medication, only to find that they are closed. Consequently I caught the bus back to the station, did a little shopping and came home.

For 10 minutes or so I crashed out but a phone call awakened me, and then Alison came to pick me up. We had a nice meal and I had a nice cuddle of a cat while I regaled Alison with all of my woes from today at the hospital.

Back here now I’m off to bed. I’ve had enough of today so I’m going to have a good sleep with no alarm in the morning. I’ll feel much better if I have a good sleep although I doubt if I’ll have one.

Wednesday 3rd August 2022 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I vowed that I would never do. But needs must when the devil drives and it’s a sign of how far down the slippery slope I’ve slid just recently.

In fact what I’ve done, while we’re on the subject of driving … “well, one of us is” – ed … is that I drove to the railway station this morning in Caliburn.

It totally beats me why they can lay on a bus service that serves our building, and then send the bus off to places that don’t include the town centre or the railway station or anywhere else that anyone would realistically want to visit

Having spent far too much time hanging around in the past, I set the alarm for 07:00 today and that gave me enough time to prepare myself and to have a whizz around the apartment to clean it a little and take out the rubbish.

There were a few parking spaces free just outside the station which was my good luck so I was in plenty of time for the train. It consisted of 2×6-car units and was quite busy although I was lucky in that I had no-one sitting next to me so I could spread out.

It didn’t take me long to update the computer and then I read a book all the way to Paris. For a change, it was a novel, “The Man Who Was Thursday” by G K Chesterton.

We were about 15 minutes late arriving in Paris but that didn’t matter too much because there was a long wait for my train to Brussels. It had been foggy at Granville but here in Paris it was blistering hot with not a cloud in the sky and I melted through the streets to the Metro.

The Metro was packed but I managed to find the last remaining seat to Gare du Nord.

Gare du Nord was packed as well and there was no hope of finding a seat anywhere. I headed off to my usual comfortable secret bolt-hole where I was shouted at by a trolley driver but I took no notice.

And then I had to fight my way on board the train to Brussels. It was packed and there wasn’t a single seat free. Ther was all kinds of confusion about the seats too, to which I contributed somewhat, with the ticket inspector having flicked over my ticket so I ended up sitting in my seat for the return journey.

In the confusion I lost my computer mouse.

As our train pulled in to Brussels, so did a push-me-pull-you for Leuven. An ancient graffiti-ridden vinyl-upholstered relic of the 1970s but it was here and now do I fell aboard and that whipped us off to Leuven.

Having done a little shopping in the supermarket at the back of the station I came on here to encounter a load of confusion about the keys to my room. And they have put me up two flights of stairs as well and I really don’t need that at all.

Later on I made it down to Delhaize for the rest of the supplies and was lucky enough to find a hard-wired mouse so I’m back in business, and after tea I can write up my notes.

Having already crashed out once earlier, I’m off to bed now. I have no fewer than four appointments at the hospital tomorrow so I can’t afford to hang about. I need a good night’s sleep.