Monday 23rd November 2020 – REGULAR READERS …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 22nd November 2020 – I KNOW THAT …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 21st November 2020 – JUST FOR A …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 20th November 2020 – DOESN’T CALIBURN …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First thing to do was to listen to the dictaphone.

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

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

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

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

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

In the end it turned out that because I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ohhh! The exciting times that we lead these days!

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 19th November 2020 – I FORGOT …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 18th November 2020 – EEUURRGGHH!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 17th November 2020 – JUST FOR A …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 16th November 2020 – PHEW! THAT WAS HOT!

With having a pile of left-over mushrooms from the weekend, this evening I made a curry with some lentils, a pepper and the leftover mushrooms.

And into it I tipped a jar of the Vindaloo sauce that I’d bought from NOZ.

All I can say that tonight I’ll be putting the toilet roll in the fridge and I shall be doing so again and again etc., as there are four more helpings for the freezer. I hope that they will actually freeze and not defrost the rest of the stuff in the freezer instead.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire the photos of a much calmer sea tonight, this morning I missed the third alarm – but only by five minutes. I was up and about pretty promptly.

After the medication I attacked the Radio programme that I had promised to do. And by 14:20 I’d finished – all done and dusted. And I could have finished earlier too had I made up my mind much quicker to save 11 seconds rather than to add in an additional 3 seconds. And there was even a pause for lunch too with some of my beautiful new bread.

Next task was to listen to the dictaphone. And it’s no surprise that I overslept this morning. It just amazes me that I returned home from my travels as quickly as I did.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallI was at home again last night. It was about 04:00 in the morning and I had to go to the bathroom. When I went in there our bath had been transformed into a bed and someone had set up a little camp table with computer on it working away in the bathroom as if we had visitors for the night. So I did what I had to do and later I had to go for a walk uptown to do something, so off we set, me and some other guy. He was some high official of the European Union, something like that. We had a chat and he gradually eased out of his shell, I eased out of mine and we did what we had to do. On the way back we had problems crossing the road. I had to stick my head round a corner, tell him when it was clear then we’d both run for it, which was what we did. We walked on a little further and there was this beautiful view over what looked as if it might be Stoke on Trent right across the city centre. I said to him “I wish I’d brought my camera with me”. We walked on back towards the office and by now this guy had changed into a girl a bit like Malou only it wasn’t Malou but that type of girl. We were having a chat and she came out with a quote while we were chatting that I immediately recognised. I said something like “it’s not every day that I get to go walking around with another Emerson Lake and Palmer fan”. She smiled and we started talking about music and life when we were probably both the same teenagers in the early 70s. Then it drifted on to I was about to get on stage and perform with my group. I awoke in a feverish sweat again.

The room that we were in was very bare and spartan and my friend made a comment about it so I replied with something or other and he or she replied again (and what that was all about I really have no idea)

I was reading a book talking about new all kinds of different things, a transport book and there was a photo of a bus going through through the streets of Dublin. When I looked it was a peculiar pink colour with grey writing and I thought “I’ve seen that livery before” – in fact I have some AAA batteries like it. I suddenly realised that I’d done some work for someone in Conwy once. He ran a night club and there was a rumour going around that he’d bought a coach and it was that colour and we’d seen coaches in two other places on the North Wales coast like in Saltney and somewhere else that might have been Rhyl. I showed it to a couple of people and we had a chat about it. We thought “well, maybe he’s going to start some kind of big bus service. I thought “he might have told me when I was working there. I might have been interested in staying to deal with that

I had to go out and I took this girl with me. We were in a MkV Cortina estate. We reached the sub-post office and I parked in the street. She went to do her task but came out and said that she had to wait hours for this so I had to loiter around. I suddenly realised that I was parked right outside the door of someone whom I wanted to see and the door was opening. Some guy walked out and walked off. Then another guy walked out, the one whom I didn’t want to see but I was hiding in the car so he wouldn’t see me so I didn’t see where he went. I realised that the car was parked about 3 feet from the kerb so I put it into the kerb nicely, which meant that the car behind me was now sitting 3 feet out in the road. I waited, and the next thing that I remembered, I was right down the far end of the street about a mile away. I thought “she’ll be wanting to go home soon so I set out to walk. At the traffic lights at the top of Broad Street there were some kids playing around on like a shop from there. 3 kids in heavily-laden pickups squealing the tyres and doing handbrake turns much to the annoyance of a couple of neighbours. Then an old BAS motorbike went past with a boy and girl on it. He did a wheelie then flipped it as if he was going to perform a somersault but the wheel came off it and flew off down the street. They landed in a heap in the road and I couldn’t help bursting out laughing. “Serve them right”. I reached the car but there was no sign of this girl now. 1 thing that I had noticed was that in this street there was about a dozen MkIII Cortinas. “This is strange”. There was no sign of this girl so I went to telephone her but I couldn’t make my telephone work. There was a pile of soup in it. Every time I pressed the switch to wake up the battery nothing happened. I wondered how I was going to contact this girl now.

We’d been all over Crewe, a group of us and it’s been a long time since we’ve done this during the night. There was me, and certainly Jackie and Alison. We’d been checking out all of these student houses on Underwood Lane. Jackie decided that she needed to go home for something so we’d all meet up in some kind of café. I went with her. She had this bright yellow van pretty similar to Caliburn. They’d all asked me if they could view where Caliburn was, and I was trying to think of it, apart from leaving a telephone active in the van I couldn’t think. A variety of suggestions came up but this telephone was the best but I didn’t have a modern up-to-date 3G telephone spare. So we set off and pulled in on this car park. Hans was there at a table with a girl from school. I said her name but it wasn’t her and I couldn’t think of her real name. The girl I was with – it could have been either Jackie or Alison said something like “she used to live with a guy” and mumbled his name “but now she’s back with her parents”. I asked “who was the guy” so she mumbled the name again but I still didn’t get it. Then she said that she had to visit the bathroom so off she went. I was thinking that I ought to have a word with Hans for if that girl is free I wouldn’t mind a date with her. Just then he came past so I said “hi”. He said “ahh, I have a couple of friends in here today then have I?”. In the meantime I was waiting for this girl to come back from the bathroom in this café place. There was a woman rattling on the door – she’d obviously been quite a long time and I wondered “had she fallen in?”. It was all becoming rather confused. I could hear voices but they weren’t hers. I was wondering “what on earth is happening now?”

In between all of this I went for a walk around the headland

peche à pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust for a change there wasn’t anything at all going on this afternoon, either on the sea or on the land.

The only thing of any note was these people out on the rocks at the Pointe du Roc for the peche à pied. And it’s a surprise that they are there because with the confinement there’s a ban on the peche à pied right now.

And that was that, really. Not even anyone parking illegally in the vicinity of the College Malraux. In fact I even managed to fit in a run along the path on top of the cliffs overlooking the port.

And then I came on home to carry on with the dictaphone notes.

Throughout the day I’ve been talking to my friend with Covid. She’s now out of her time but still having to isolate as other members of her family are still affected. And that’s probably the hardest part of her life right now. It’s enough to make anyone depressed.

And Liz too. She and Terry are in Lanzarote right now, trying to work out whether they ought to come home or to stick out the virus where they are. I know exactly what I would do if it were me.

What with one thing and another I only had half an hour on the guitars and then I went to make my vindaloo, followed by some lovely apple crumble and vegan ice cream.

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallrather later than usual, I went out for my evening runs and walks around the walls.

There was no-one about at all so I could carry out my runs in relative comfort. I stopped off at the viewpoint halfway along the walls to take a photo of the lights of Donville les Bains in the distance, and then ran on all the way to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch to see how the sea was doing now that the storm had died down. I’m definitely doing my best to keep fit.

Having dealt with that, I ran off across the Square Maurice Marland and then walked along the walls towards home.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a really nice view across to the fish processing plant tonight, and we had a trawler down there unloading.

There’s a refrigerated lorry parked there in the loading bay too. He’ll be buzzing off to Paris tonight in time to be on the wholesale market for the restaurants in the small hours of tomorrow morning. Round to the other side, the door to the plant was wide open and the lights were reflecting quite brightly from the water down there.

From there I ran on home to write up my notes for the day and then go to bed ready for my Welsh course tomorrow.

And I have to make some more cordial because I’ve just this evening finished off the last of the lemon and ginger. I’ve plenty of oranges lying around so I’ll make an orange and ginger one for a change.

So now, later than I would like, I’m off to bed. I wonder where I’ll end up tonight.

Sunday 15th November 2020 – I DIDN’T GO …

… to bed until about 2:00 this morning. But even so, not awakening until 11:15 is a bit extreme nevertheless, and the least said about not getting out of bed until 12:00 the better.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire the photos that I took tonight of the storm and the waves smashing into the promenade at the Plat Gousset in the storm, I was listening to the dictaphone

I could hear that I had been been on my travels during the night. But I’ll spare you all of the gory details seeing as you are probably having your tea right now. But interestingly, at some point I must have stepped right back into wherever it is that I had left off because I was talking to a guy about the first part of my voyage. He asked “how did you know that she was telling the truth? Which Government would allow that kind of thing?”. I said that there is only one Government in the whole wide world that would do that kind of thing and that’s the British Government. They are employing all of their wives and mistresses as aides and sleeping with all of their aides who aren’t their wives and mistresses”. We had a talk about all of their morals in the UK after that.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that wasn’t all either. Later on there were more things happening but unfortunately it was just a jumbled mishmash and I can’t remember it. Which is probably just as well.

After my medication I switched on the computer. My Covid friend was on line so we had quite a lengthy chat to keep up her morale and then I went off for something to eat. A nice piping hot bowl of porridge.

After my porridge I’ve spent all day baking as I mentioned yesterday. Supplies are running low round here. There isn’t enough bread for my sandwiches tomorrow and I’m not going to have the time to bake any in the morning with a radio programme to prepare.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor a start, I needed some more bread and it was far too late now to make a sourdough loaf which needs a lot of standing, so I made a yeast loaf as I have done in the past with a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds.

There was no pizza dough left in the freezer so I had to make some more. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’d bought a 2 kg bag of prepared bread flour “just add water” from Belgium the other day for just €1:00. It’s white flour, which is not much use for bread baking, but it would be ideal for pizzas.

And so I made a pile of dough, 450 grammes, to see how it would perform. If it works out well I might look out for some more for my pizzas.

storm whipping up waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallTaking a pause from my baking activities I went out for my afternoon walk while the dough was proofing, straight into the teeth of the howling gale that seemed to have whipped up in intensity from last night.

Clutching hard to my hat, I went over to the sea wall to look at the waves that were breaking on the shore over there. And the whitecaps out there bear full testimony to the force of the gale.

The other people around (there were three or four out there) were just as impressed as I was and so after watching them for quite a while as I did, I set off around the headland on my walk.

storm whipping up waves st pair sur mer baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was certainly interesting to watch the waves on the north side of the headland, so I was intrigued to see what they might be like on the south side in the bay by St Pair sur Mer.

And I wasn’t to be disappointed either. As i reached the peak of the headland the wind was thoroughly wicked and there was a veritable gale blowing straight into my face. As I walked around the headland I could see that the storm raging down there was even more wild that it had been round on the north side.

The contrast between the sea out there in the open and the sea in the sheltered lee of the harbour’s outer wall is quite impressive. You could almost draw a straight line between the two.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe tide is still well out right now but with the force of the waves being driven onshore by the wind I was expecting to see something rather impressive with the waves against the sea wall.

And unfortunately it wasn’t as wild as I was expecting it to be. The waves and the spray were not flying up over the sea wall as I was hoping, but there was still something to see. The waves were giving me something of a little performance.

The guy out there walking around on the sea wall was not going to be in any danger of a drenching when he comes round to this side. But he was the only person other than me involved in the scene.

seagulls in outer tidal pert de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I pushed on along the footpath down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

The tide was out as we had seen in the earlier photo, and there was this beautiful dry patch there which the seagulls had decided to colonise for the moment.

What caught my eye particularly about it was the fact that this looked very much like a representation of a map of the United Kingdom. You can see the mainland of Great Britain and over to the upper left, something that looks as if it might be Northern Ireland. The resemblance was quite uncanny.

And so I headed on for home in the wind to carry on with my baking.

The dough had risen really nicely for both the bread and the pizza dough. This flour stuff from Belgium seemed to work quite well.

The pizza dough I separated into three. Two of them I kneaded and rolled in oil, and then put them into greaseproof paper into the freezer. The third one I kneaded, greased and then rolled out and put into the pizza tray, rolling over the edges to remain in the tray and not overhang.

The bread dough, I kneaded and shaped and put into the mould and left it on one side with the pizza base on the tray to proof again.

home made bread apple crumble vegan pizza Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe baking apples that I had bought a few weeks ago were on their last legs so I washed them and diced them and prepared an apple crumble. Some cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, desiccated coconut and raisins will do all of the apple some good, especially when washed in with some lemon juice.

While the crumble and the bread (which was now ready) were baking in the oven I prepared the pizza and once the bread and crumble were baked I could put the pizza in. I must buy a bigger oven one of these days.

And here are the finished products. The pizza came out really well and the edges where I’d folded them over were nice and spongy. As for the bread and the crumble I’ll tell you about them tomorrow. I was too full for any pudding tonight.

viewpoint rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halllater on I went out for my evening walk and runs, some of which were chasing after the lens hood of my camera that rolled off down the street in the wind. And wind there was too. It was extremely difficult to open the door of the building with the wind holding it closed.

At the viewpoint there was nothing much going on so I ran on in several legs down to the viewpoint where you saw the photos of the waves crashing down on the Plat Gousset.

No-one about at all again so I ran on across the Square Maurice Marland, walked around the rest of the walls and then ran on home to write up my notes for the day. By now the wind had picked up even more and I had to abort my final run halfway through as the wind brought me to a dead halt.

Tomorrow it’s back to work. I have a radio programme to prepare.

When that’s done I need to enquire about Caliburn and then swot up my Welsh for our next lesson on Tuesday. Not that I’m going to have an early night now, but I’ll do the best that I can.

Saturday 14th November 2020 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… the way things have been recently, I actually managed to beat the third alarm this morning.

Well, sort-of anyway. I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor waiting for the world to stop spinning round before I stood up.

Mind you,with not having gone to bed until almost 01:00 this morning I did realise that it was going to be a very long day.

There was a sale onlast night and there were one or two things that I wanted so after I’d finished writing my notes I went to make my purchases.

Only to find that Paypal now has this weird system like my French bank does, that in order to make a purchase they will send a numerical code to your phone number for you to enter into a box on the vendor’s website. It’s a system that has never troubled me previously with Paypal so I’ve never had occasion to use it. So when I didn’t receive the text message I found to my dismay that it had been sent to my old number in Virlet which has of course been out of commission for well over 4 years.

Now you can change your ‘phone number, but only if you log in. And to log in, you need the four-figure number that they send to your phone. Which is still in the Auvergne.

The next step is to send Paypal a message. But to do that you need to log into your account, for which you need the four-figure number.

There is of course the option to telephone them, for which you don’t need to log in. But you can only call them between 09:00 and 19:30 Mondays to Fridays.

In the end, having exhausted ever other avenue, I created a new Paypal account, which was not easy, and thanked my stars that there was a one-hour time difference between here and the UK and for having an on-line access to my bank statements.

It just goes to prove a point doesn’t it? If something is going to go wrong, it’s going to go wrong with me.

With what little sleep I had, I still found time to wander off.I was in Nantwich last night. I had a little house there in Welsh Row that used to be an old shop at one time. I had all kinds of various friends and acquaintances. Two of them were people like Walter Billington used to be. They had been to visit me and I’d shown them out but I’d suddenly discovered them back in my house again searching for something. I went to grab them both but one got away. The other one I managed to grab hold of him and got him in an arm lock and stuck his head under a cold tap to cool him down, and phoned the police. It was a sergeant who knew me so I explained exactly what had gone on and where I was. He asked me “are you drowning someone?” I replied “yes”. In the end a black policewoman turned up outside in a Ford Anglia panda car so I dragged this guy downstairs, not caring if he was bumping along the floor or anything, let her in and told her the story. She made him sit in a corner while we went through the kind of things that he might have been looking at.

After the meds and transcribing the dictaphone notes I found some time to do some work on the outstanding blog entries, which makes a change. And then I went for a shower. At least my weight has stabilised – albeit at 100 grammes over one of my target weights. It’s not gone up any but it hasn’t gone down either.

And then I set off for the shops, in a howling gale. And I bumped into the itinerant who is still sleeping rough. I urged him to go to the Mairie to seek help, but he says that he will be OK. I’m not too sure about that but I’ve learnt from bitter experience, as I’m sure you have too, that trying to persuade people to do things, even if you think that it’s in their best interests, quite often rebounds.

replacing shop front rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that when we were on our way to the shops the other day we saw some workmen busily starting to rip out the front of the cafe on the corner in the Rue Paul Poirier.

In just two days, they seem to have really gone to town with it, for not only have they completely ripped it out, they’ve erected a temporary facade around it to protect the building while they set about installing a new shop front.

It would be nice to think that they would replace it with something nice and aesthetically pleasing rather than something that is simply utilitarian. We can always live in hope, I suppose. It’s better than dying in despair.

replacing shop front rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallTalking of utilitarian, this is what I was talking about.

Regular readers of this rubbish will call that we saw a similar temporary structure across the front of a shop in the Rue Couraye when we were out picking up our rail tickets the other day. That’s all been swept away and we’ve been left with this.

But whatever you might say about “utilitarian”, it’s a vast improvement on the cheap and dated 1960s aluminium shop front that was here before.

However there’s a singular lack of imagination around here because there have been three or four new shop fronts in the town since I’ve been living here and they all look like this. Here’s hoping that the one they are doing in the Rue Paul Poirier will be a little more individual.

No figs at the fruit and veg shop, La Halle Gourmande, and none at the Health Shop, La Vie Claire either. It’s the end of the season. So I asked the guy there what I should use in my kefir instead of figs and he gave me a bizarre look and said “dried figs” – the look being the kind of look that means “why aren’t you using dried figs to start with?”.

At LIDL they had a packet of dried figs and they had tons of other stuff too. But I was limited by what I could carry away. It’s a long walk home and the final climb is long and steep. I wish that they would hurry up and fix Caliburn.

Back here I put away the frozen food and one or two other things, made myself a hot chocolate and grabbed a slice of my banana bread, and then came in here to do some work. I was doing all right too up to a certain point, and then the next thing that I remember was that it was 13:45. 90 minutes I’d been out for, I reckon.

It took me a while to come round to my senses and then I ended up with a very late lunch.

That confused all of my timing and I was running well behind after that.

rainstorm english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on in the afternoon I took myself off for a walk around the headland in the gale force wind that was blowing out there.

Although it was dry at the moment, there was plenty of rain about and the strong winds were blowing it all about at a ridiculous speed. The clouds were so thick and heavy that we were having some really unusual lighting effects in the sky like this one across the bay over the Brittany coast.

And with the wind, everything was changing so rapidly too. I’d go to take a photo of a particularly impressive scene and by the time that the camera had focused it had changed considerably.

different colours tidal settlement baie de mont st michel pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnoher thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we mentioned the other day is the phenomenon of different colours in the sea – this layering effect that we see every now and again.

There was another beautiful example this afternoon in the sea just off the Pointe du Roc. I’d struggled around the headland in the wind but when I saw this I considered it to be worth the effort.

We’ve seen plenty of photos of this point when the tide has been out and there’s nothing on what is at the moment the sea bed to cause this dramatic change in colouring. It’s not even the effect of the clouds obscuring the sun either because you can see what the weather is like.

victor hugo spirit of conrad aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith there being no-one about I had a little run down to the viewpoint overlooking the port and then had a slow walk the rest of the way home.

It didn’t turn out to be all that slow though because the rain that had been loitering around just offshore came in and got me and I ended up having to run for it. Not before I’d taken a nice photo of the harbour with the two Channel Islands ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville down there along with Spirit of Conrad and Aztec Lady.

The harbour gates can’t have long opened because we can see the trail of sediment flowing into the harbour from outside. It’s quite a dramatic contrast when you see it in this context.

Back here I played with a few photos, chatted on the internet with Rosemary and then it was time for the football. TNS v Barry Town.

And regrettably, Apart from the first 5 minutes, Barry didn’t start to play until there was 15 minutes to go by which they were already 2-0 down. They pulled back a goal pretty quickly but it was too little far too late.

One thing that I noticed though was that the Barry defenders were giving the attackers of TNS far too much time and space instead of closing them down. With the space that TNS was being gifteg, it’s no surprise that they were running the defence ragged and they really ought to have had a couple more, including what I considered to be a stonewall penalty.

But I really do wonder what Kayne McLaggon had to do to be awarded a free kick in his favour. The TNS central defenders were kicking lumps out of him and when he fell over the outstretched leg of a defender (no penalty, and quite right too) he was booked for diving, which was probably the most extraordinary decision that I noticed.

Tea at half time was out of a tin, followed by another slice of defrosted apple pie.

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd then I went out walkies on my evening circuit.

As it happens, I didn’t go far. It was much later than usual, there’s a curfew too and the gale is still howling away like mad but I needed the exercise. The Rue du Nord was looking quite pretty in the streetlights and as that’s one of the bits that I run, I set off down there, to the surprise of a couple of small dogs and their owners.

At least it’s in the shelter out of the wind so that it didn’t bother me too much. I could run down there quite comfortably until I reach the incline, which brings me to a shuddering halt.

place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s an alleyway that cuts through there and leads to the Place Cambernon so I nipped down there instead of going all the way around the walls.

And it looks as if the Christmas decorations fairy has paid here a visit too. They might not be illuminated yet but they have certainly been installed. This is looking quite good, I reckon.

But the Place Cambernon isn’t. The bar La Rafale and the restaurant La Contremarche are closed. The place is like a ghost town. But then again, it would be even more of a ghost town if everyone caught the virus and died. I cleared off too, back home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow is a day of rest but I have carrots to freeze, bread to bake and pizza dough to make. My work is never completed, is it?

Friday 13th November 2020 – AFTER EVERYTHING …

… that I wrote yesterday evening about an early night and an early start? it was … errr … 10:30 when I finally crawled out of bed.

If you think that that is devastating, just let me say that after finishing my notes, I started on a little project of no significance, a project that I dip into every now and again, and by the time I started to feel tired enough to go to bed, it was after 04:00.

So 10:30 isn’t really all that bad, I suppose, and at least there was some work of a sort being done.

During the night I’d been on my travels again. I was going somewhere laat night on a bus or something so I had to leave my car, the mk V Cortina NMP parked up at the side of the road. I was going to be away ages so I was worried about leaving it there for so long but as the bus passed by I could see two of the guys from the taxis opening it and climbing in Obviously they needed it for things so that was OK. I ended up round at my mothers where suddenly I had some kind of panic attack – what about all my personal stuff that I’d left in the car? What was going to happen if the people at the taxis got their hands on it? But anyway I got dressed, in a pair of grey trousers that I wore when I was at Shearings. And as I pulled the belt tight, it went two notches over where it usually went which was strange. As I was setting off to visit the parents of a friend my mother shouted “make sure you ring them to tell them that you are coming. Don’t just turn up unannounced”. I thought that that would be difficult to arrange but I said nothing. However my mother said it twice so I wondered what was happening here.

My Covid friend was on line so we had a chat while I finished off what I’d been doing last night. And with the late start that took me right the way up to lunchtime. Something of a waste of a morning, really.

After lunch, fighting off the temptation to go back to sleep, I made a start on amending one of the journal entries from my voyage around Central Europe but I ran aground half-way through.

waves breaking on rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was enough time however for me to go off on my afternoon walk around the headland.

The tide was well on its way in when I went out, and I noticed the effect of the waves breaking on the rocks that were there on the beach and which by now had disappeared beneath the waves near the marker light for the rocks.

They were actually submerged but only to a very minimal depth so although you couldn’t see them, you could see the waves breaking on them.

It was something that held my interest for a couple of minutes and then I pushed on, passing three or four others who were out there this afternoon.

sun in windows carolles Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was very little going on out at sea this afternoon – no boats of any description in the English Channel or the Baie de Mont St Michel.

But there was an exciting phenomenon occurring down the bay round by Carolles. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing the sunlight reflected off the windows of St Pair sur Mer in the late afternoon earlier in the year. Of course, the sun has moved round in the sky and we now have the windows in Carolles picking up the glint of the sun.

You wouldn’t credit just how dark it’s starting to go now, even though it’s only about 16:00. Winter is going to be upon us a darn sight sooner than we think.

coelacanthe joly france waiting for gates to open port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallStill no change in the occupants of the chantier navale. The yacht is still there, as is the vessel Ceres II

But it was interesting out in the tidal harbour though. The gates must have been on the point of opening and boats were queueing up to go into the inner harbour. Here we have one of the Joly France boats, the older of the two, and also one of the two trawlers, either Coelacanthe or her sister La Tiberiade.

There were a couple of other boats in the queue too, and as I watched, the harbour gates opened and the boats went steaming … “dieseling” – ed … into port

le tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallI came to the conclusion that the trawler that I had seen just now was Coelacanthe, and I concluded that for a very good reason too.

Moored up at the Fish Processing Plant was her sister and I could clearly see her name on the side of her superstructure. She’s Le Tiberiade, and one of these days I’ll be able to tell them apart. I’ve noticed a couple of little differences between them when they have been next to one another.

She’s busy unloading her catch right now. There’s a van with an opening cargo door that looks as if it might be taking away some of the seafood, and the tractor is busy negotiating the loading ramp with a full trailer.

coelacanthe thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there, I watched Coelacanthe pass through the gates and into the harbour.

Once inside she began to perform a little nautical danse macabre as she made for her mooring at the rear of the two Channel Island Ferries. And I noticed that Thora was still in port this afternoon. It seems that for one reason or another, she’s not benefitting from these rapid turnrounds that I’ve mentioned before.

But one thing that I did notice from the image that I couldn’t see with the naked eye is that she has steam … “diesel” – ed … up, so it does look as if she’s actually on the point of heading out to the open sea.

thora leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it all was turning out to be quite interesting in there this afternoon.

As Thora “cast off forr’ard, cast off aft” in the inner harbour, Le Tiberiade did likewise and as the one headed for the harbour gate so did the other from the other side, out of view of each other. Half expecting a “Greek meets Greek at the Hull Paragon, Valentine’s Day 1927” moment, I gripped the edge of my seat in eager anticipation.

However le Tiberiade just about made it into the harbour without a collision, Thora

waves on promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been wandering around, I’d noticed that the sea was becoming rather rough. And with the tide being well-in right now I was keen to see what was happening down at the Plat Gousset.

And it was a good move too because even with 90 minutes to go before high tide, the waves were coming in with something of a powerful force and smashing into the sea wall over there.

There weren’t very many people out there enjoying the spectacle from close to, but I imagined that they would all be out there a little bit later at high tide when they really would be treated to something of a spectacle.

thora english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now I imagined that Thora would now be rounding the headland on her way out to sea, so I retraced my steps of earlier up to the viewpoint next to the College Malraux to see how she was doing.

And eventually she came a rattling around the headland into the teeth of the wind and the waves and set course for St Helier. It’s not going to be an easy ride for her in this kind of sea.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I keep on saying that one of these days I’ll hitch a ride on her when she has a couple of trips in rapid succession and see how she does. Luckily I’m in a good position in that I hold a British passport and a Permanent Residency Card for France so there needs to be little in the way of border controls to ease my passage.

thora english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut that’s not going to be for a while with all of this Covid going on. No-one will be going anywhere for quite a while yet.

And so I watched Thora battle her way through the waves for a while and then headed for home.

On the way across the car park I’d seen Gribouille, the big ginger cat, sitting on his windowsill so I went to give him a stroke. And there I fell in with his owner, and learnt some pretty sad news. She’s had a couple of falls just recently, during one of which she fractured her had and it had to be stapled together. But as she doesn’t seem to be able to cope particularly now, she’s moving into sheltered accommodation

Of course, she’s taking my mate with her, but regardless of that, it’s another convivial soul from the building who is moving away. Nothing stays the same for long, and rightly so, but it’s a shame when people move away like this and break up a happy little circle.

Back here I caught up with a few notes and then went to make some kefir. This morning, I’d started on the last bottle and there was another batch brewing nicely.

The four kiwi fruits that I had bought three weeks ago were now nice and ripe so I peeled them and threw them in the whizzer, followed by a generous handful or two of grapes.

Having whizzed them around for quite a while to extract as much juice as possible and then passed it all through my network of meshes and filers into the big jug.

Having done that, I drained off the brewing kefir through a very fine-mesh filter and added it to the juice, stirring it well in, leaving an inch or two of liquid in the bottom to keep the kefir grains covered.

kiwi and grape kefir Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSeveral slices of lemon, a fig bisected and 40 grammes of sugar went into my big jar, followed by 2 litres of filtered water. That’ll brew now for a few days while I wonder where I’m going to get some figs from for the next batch after that as I’ve now run out.

The mixed kefir and juice was then strained through a mesh coffee-filter into the various flip-top bottles that I use. They’ll be put into a cool place out of direct light now to complete the second fermentation and in a couple of days they will be ready to drink.

But I made a bit of a boo-boo here. Remember the pineapple slices that I’d had the other day? I’d put the syrup on one side to use in my kefir today but I’d forgotten it. I don’t know whether it’ll keep for four or five days now.

All of that took so much time that I didn’t have my guitar practice, which was disappointing.

Instead, I ended up with some of the best taco rolls that I’ve ever made. That chick pea and couscous stuff that I used in error instead of the bulghour certainly made a difference. And my defrosted apple pie was delicious too

night rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halllater on I went out for my runs around the walls.

No-one else was out there, everywhere else was quiet, not even the Pizza van in the Place Czmbernon tonight with the lockdown. No-one down in town either.

I had a look to see if the Christmas decorations had gone up in the Rue Paul Poirier but while there is certainly something or other, and several thereof, strung up across the street, there’s nothing illuminated yet.

All of this is to come very soon, I imagine. But I’ll find out more in due course. I ran on home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow it’s shopping day, and I have to track down some figs. That’s not going to be easy because I’ll still without Caliburn so wherever I go and whatever I buy, I’ll have to carry it home and I’m not looking forward to that.

Luckily the freezer is pretty well stocked up and that should keep me going for a week or so but I really do need to organise myself better. I don’t know what it is that I’m doing right now but whatever it is, I’m doing it all wrong.

Thursday 12th November 2020 – I DIDN’T …

… beat the third alarm this morning either – no surprise there, is there?

Probably something to do with my very long day yesterday and the fact that after I’d finished my notes I was editing some photos from the High Arctic and chatting to a young lady friend of mine – she of the corona virus – until the small hours, giving her my moral support – although whether anything that I can do which involves young ladies can be classed as “moral” is a matter for conjecture.

07:30 it was when I raised my ugly head, and when I listened to what was on the dictaphone I wished that I hadn’t gone to sleep. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that occasionally I don’t publish some stuff that I do during my voyages because, believe me, I can have some pretty gruesome dreams at times, but last night was gruesome for a very different reason.

I was working for a Government department last night and was in Montreal – I’d been seconded to work in the office in Montreal. I was staying at a friend’s, someone who had actually found the position for me. I’d gone over there and she had a beautiful flat, a really nice one about 5 stops away on the Metro from where the tax office was. There were lots of people staying there too including my various nieces. It was a pretty crowded apartment with all these people staying in it. So I arrived there and stayed the night and next morning I had to get ready. I was getting ready but there was all kinds of strange stuff going on outside – a huge stampede of cattle in the streets leaping into the river and swimming across to get to the other side on the island, the side where we were. So we walked out to see what was going on. It was due to a food shortage and they were all going off to another Province to be slaughtered. I went back in and had to get dressed. I put some clothes on and then thought “where are the rest of my clothes?” My friend said that she’s tidied away my suitcase and it was stuck right away in a corner under a huge pile of stuff and I couldn’t get at it. I didn’t have a tie but a guy who was there said “your brother has left a few ties here. You’ll have to fill in a form to pay him and you can have this green tie”. So I bought this green tie and there was a long white scarf with it as well that was dragging on the floor. I rolled it up and put it somewhere. “Do you want that?” I replied “it’ll probably come in use for the winter”. I noticed that everyone else was dressed and said “ohh look we’re all in green this morning”. A regular young companion of my nocturnal voyages who was there burst out laughing and said “yes”. Off I set and turned up at the building which was a crummy kind of building in a run-down area. There were crowds of people willing around outside. A guy came over and there were about 4 of us. He gave us a bit of an introduction chat and said that we have to report through door 13B. At 10:00 prompt the doors opened to this office and it was like a huge stampede as thousands of people swarmed in, obviously trying to get a good ticket so they could be in there first. We were swept in in the rush but couldn’t find this doorway. We had a look and there were loads of doors but none was the door that we wanted. In the end one guy I was with, a very tall, very thin guy found like a slit in the wall. He said “go through here and see”. He slipped through this slit and said something like “this is it”. “How the hell am I supposed to get through there?” I asked. He might get through there but I certainly couldn’t. I didn’t think that anyone of any particular size would either. Where our other two people had gone I really didn’t know. I was now pondering about how I was going to get through this slit. If I started I would be wedged in with so many people around me that I wouldn’t be able to extricate myself. That was when I awoke in a sweat.

A little later there had been another instance of me trying to catch a bus. I was scrambling around at a roundabout with cobbles and it had been raining. All these people on motorbikes kept on colliding with each other and falling off. But this was before this particular bit. The only bus coming in was this red bus that wasn’t a local bus at all. I got on and said “take me to a metro station”. he replied “there isn’t one where we are going. I suppose we could drop you off somewhere where you could get another connection”

So later on we were back again in my friend’s apartment a while later. I’d stepped back into this dream where I’d stepped out. This time things were better-arranged and when I got up this morning I could find my clothes and get dressed. I realised that I had the wrong clothes on so I went to look for my clothes. I found dozens of dirty clothes and thought that I was going to have to do some washing now. I’d only been there a day. I got dressed and there was some good music going on. I said to my friend “you have some really good music here and good books”. She said “I’ll tell my son about that”. Presumably he had chosen them all. I started to put the food out but suddenly realised that I was putting out things like vegetables and gravy. That must have been stuff for the evening meal, not breakfast. In the end we all went out and got on the bus. There were 3 of us, me, Nerina and another guy. She sat next to this other guy and started to talk to him in this really friendly involved conversation about going to football matches and discussing her ex-boyfriends, whatever. All the time I was thinking “she ought to be sitting next to me discussing this kind of thing and I was getting extremely jealous. We pulled up at a roundabout and we all got off the bus. Nerina asked “you know which bus you’re getting on, don’t you?”. “No” I replied. She explained to me about the roundabout and said “as long as you get on a bus there and it goes any distance you’ll be fine”

But in connection with the bit about the motorbikes falling over I was telling my brother about my journey and told him a cock and bull story about how I took a taxi because I’d missed all the buses but the taxi could only take me so far and he threw me out at a roundabout where I could get a bus.

Things were certainly happening last night, and I’m reminded of the doctor in THE CANNONBALL RUN who said “I’d really like to probe his case”.

Having written out the dictaphone notes, I had a shower and a weigh-in. And I’ve now gone back over my higher target weight which is a shame. But one of the side effects that I have is “weight gain” and it seems pretty pointless me battling to keep the weight off if they give me all of this that puts it straight back on.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had my shower, I set out for the shops, having forgotten to switch on the washing machine.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw Normandy Trader in port the other day, and then she disappeared again. But she’s back now doing another freight lift to and from the Channel Islands. Apparently she is really busy right now and there is “some talk” – although how serious it is, I don’t know – of buying a bigger ship.

There’s also the delivery of a new pleasure boat – the shrink-wrapped thing on the trailer behind the red and yellow lorry. It looks as if things are hotting up in the harbour.

replacing shop front rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallConsidering that there’s a lockdown on, there are more people about than I would have imagined.

But certain shopkeepers are taking full advantage of the pause well enough. There’s a café there in the Rue Paul Poirier and it looks as if, while it’s closed under the lockdown procedures, that they are ripping out the old front and fitting a new one.

That’s good news if you ask me. It’s nice to see the town slowly being redeveloped as time and funds permit. All we need now are a few more commercial freighters in the port and we’ll be well away. It’s all very well talking about increasing the pleasure boat traffic but what’s the good of the town being packed to the gunwhales 2 months of the year and dead as a dodo for the remaining 10?

One of the reasons why I came here was because of how lively it is throughout the year.

At LIDL I didn’t buy all that I needed, for the simple reason that I couldn’t carry it. I had to buy an extra carrier bag while I was there for what I had already selected.

Pride of place though went to a set of stainless steel mesh sieves. The one that I use for straining my kefir etc is really too big and cumbersome to wield about.

eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way home, I took a little detour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that quite recently I’ve talked rather a lot about the Eglise St Paul. One of the things that I have mentioned is the sad state of the building and how bits are dropping off it rather too rapidly for comfort.

It seems to me that I did mention that there was a ban on walking around or parking near to it, so here’s a photo of the perimeter of the church all roped off and a warning sign “falling rocks” just to illustrate the point that I was making.

It’s a real shame that the building is crumbling away like this.

war memorial eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe real reason why I’d come up here is because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we’d seen the War Memorial here from across the valley a while ago and I’d mentioned that one of these days we’d come to see it.

And sure enough, here we are. There’s no time like the present. And rather disappointingly, there is no mention of any casualties on the Memorial, just a note “To Our Glorious Dead”. I was hoping to see a list of names of local soldiers who had lost their lives.

But interestingly, it mentions “our matelots”. And that set me thinking because I don’t recall any naval engagement during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, the war to which this monument relates. I can see that I shall have to go off and do some more research.

So after struggling up the hill laden with shopping, I made myself some hot chocolate and a slice of my fruit bread I went to talk to my friend who was now back on line. And we had a lengthy chat that took me up to lunchtime and more of my delicious bread.

This afternoon, I remembered to switch on the washing machine and even with the racket that that was making, waltzing around in the bathroom I managed to fall asleep for half an hour or so. I realise now why I usually set it to go when I’m out at the shops.

Next task was to peel a kilo of carrots – I’d bought two kilos at the shops today because I was right out. So peeled and diced, I blanched them ready for freezing. And while the water was coming to the boil, I fed the sourdough. There’s now 400 grammes of that happily fermenting away (and I do mean fermenting too – it’s bubbling really well) and as I need just 200 grammes of starter for a 500 gramme sourdough loaf, I reckon that my next loaf will be a sourdough one, and see what damage I can do with that.

Somehow I also managed to find the time for amending the two missing journal entries, THURSDAY’S and FRIDAY’S to incorporate the missing bits. I was going to look for the details of that aeroplane that crashed near Leuven in 1944 and I will do that one day, for sure, but there was something else that I needed to do.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have another friend stricken with Covid too, and I wanted to ask her how she was. And a quick 10-minute ‘phone call turned into a phone call of 1.5 hours.

People reading this will be thinking that maybe I begrudge the time that I spend talking on the ‘phone and on the computer because I’m always on about it, but it’s very far from the truth It interferes with my plans of course, but that’s what plans are for and I think very highly of my friends. I don’t have many friends but those I do have are the best friends in the world that anyone could have and I’ll speak to them any time of the day no matter where I am and what I’m supposed to be doing.

Except of course, to certain people to whom I’ve confided my innermost secrets only to find that they have become a subject of discussion in a certain Land Rover news group. No friendship can withstand that, but I digress.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, back at the ranch, what with one thing and another (and once you get started you’ll be surprised at how many other things there are) it was after 17:00 when I finally set out for my afternoon walk and by now the light has gone. So much for trying to keep a constant time in order to compare lighting situations.

As I stepped out of the apartment building I noticed a movement out to sea so I went to investigate.

And it looks as if we are having yet another trawler heading for home today too. Whatever else is happening, there’s still fishing to be done and they are out there hard at it.

But anyway, I pushed on with my walk around the headland to see what else was going on.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the answer to that was “nothing at all”. I had to walk all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour before I noticed the next object of interest.

Normandy Trader has left port. That was a very brief visit – the turnround times are getting shorter and shorter. But in her place is Thora, the other little Channel Island freighter. She’s come in to do a quick sea lift from and to the Channel Islands.

These two seem to be hard at it without a moment’s rest and so it won’t surprise me if they do end up with a larger boat each before much longer.

Unless, that is, everyone is stocking up prior to Brexit (not that it will have too much of an effect on the Channel Islands) and it will all go very quiet afterwards.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was watching Thora the trawler that I had seen out at sea was coming round the headland towards port.

And at that moment, another one was heading out to sea. So in anticipation of a mid-channel collision, I stayed and watched them for a while. However, there were no shipwrecks and nobody drowndin’, in fact nothing to laugh at at all. So I headed for home as the sun started to sink down towards the horizon.

My hour on the guitar was something of a disappointment because I went to play the Steve Harley song “Riding the Waves”. I’d worked out the chords to the chorus but I couldn’t find my piece of paper with the notes on. And when I finally did find the paper, it sounded all wrong again.

The reason why I like the song, apart from the fact that it reminds me of someone who I’ll talk about at some time in the future, there’s a rapid series of chord changes involving the “F” chord and I need to improve that.

And before anyone says that there’s no “F” chord in it, I play it in a different key to suit my voice. My singing isn’t that good.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper. While I was tidying up the food to put everything away, I came across one that was left over from the other week and it still appeared to be in good shape. So followed down by the last of the pineapple rings, it was delicious. Tomorrow I’ll have to take some frozen apple pie out of the freezer.

porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on, I went out for my evening walk and runs around the walls.

There was no-one around tonight so I broke into a run almost as soon as I left the building and ran all the way through the Porte St Jean to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord. But I went back to take a photo of the gate nevertheless because it looked so nice, all illuminated now that they fixed the lights the other week.

Nothing at all going on out at sea – or, if there was, I couldn’t see it – so I ran on down the Rue du Nord to the steep incline that always beats me.

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving recovered my breath, I ran down the footpath underneath the walls, being lured ever onwards by the lights of the promenade at Donville-les-Bains.

With no-one about yet again, I stopped to take a photograph of the night scenery out that way, and then having recovered my breath, ran on down the footpath to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

There was no-one about down there or on the Plat Gousset either, and no-one in the Square Marechal Foch either for that matter, so I could run all the way across there to the other side. Tonight I was really enjoying myself. It was a beautiful night – not too windy, fairly cold and rather crisp.

christmas lights rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on along the walls by the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, I looked down to the Rue LeCampion and unless my eyes deceive me, they’ve put up the Christmas lights in the street.

That’s flaming early, I reckon. They must be planning something special right now. I don’t recall the lights being up this early before. Maybe it’s to take advantage of the fewer people wandering around in the streets during lockdown. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s something to do with that.

Back here, I carried on writing up my notes. There were plenty to go at tonight. I’m hoping for an early start tomorrow because I’ve plenty to do. Carrots to dice and blanch of course, and then I ned to start to organise myself about my trip around Europe earlier this year.

It’s not going to get done by me simply thinking about it.

Wednesday 11th November 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change I managed to beat the third alarm to my feet. And that’s not something that happens every day these days.

And that’s not the best of it either.

Twice during the night I had to leave the bed – once to find the dictaphone that I had forgotten to put by the bedside as I went to bed, and the second time to look for the spare batteries when the batteries in the dictaphone went flat.

And considering that I’d had yet another late night consoling my friend on the internet, this is all pretty astonishing too, especially when you consider that today is a Bank Holiday and I don’t normally have an alarm call on a Bank Holiday.

With all of this going on, it’s even more surprising that I managed to find the time to go off on my travels during the night.

I was on a big cruise liner last night, an American one. There were loads of people on there and for some unknown reason I was feeling a bit tetchy and irritable like I normally do after a few days in other people’s company. These Americans were really getting on my nerves and it reached the stage where I could barely hide my contempt for them, something that regular readers of this rubbish will know about only too well. It reached the stage where on one occasion I had to go somewhere and the quickest way for me and a couple of other people with me was to unlock a kind of emergency door and step through that out to the other side. As we did that and stepped through we had to stoop down to do so there was a couple of other old guys there and they started to try to push us around. I spoke in some kind of derogatory term to them and this situation slowly started to escalate out of hand, if it wasn’t out of hand already.

This has quite a familiar ring about it doesn’t it? And even more so if you consider the events of early September last year that I’ll write about one of these days when I learn to moderate my language.

Later on we’d been out to the South Pole. It was the 19th Century and we had gone very far but hadn’t reached the Pole. We’d got onto the Antarctic continent and gone quite a way but couldn’t go any further so we turned round to go back to our base camp and set out back for the UK. We’d left Caliburn there and a few things had been left inside Caliburn including a book that belonged to Nerina. We sailed back. It was quite interesting by the way to see an aerial photo of the area a bit later on where a town had grown up etc and where we had been. We could see our route. When I returned to Gainsborough Road Nerina was being very sullen and offhand with me. What I did was to take her bookmark back that was in the book. She was extremely annoyed about this book. I said “don’t worry. We’re going back to get it next year”. There was some confusion about whether it was a library book. She’d had notice that it had already been renewed. I said “no, that was another one. This was such-and-such a book”. It had a duck-egg blue cover. She was just extremely offhand. Then she asked if I knew where a place called TK fasteners was in a certain town, a town where I was working. When she described what it was for – you could buy snowmobile bits there – I knew immediately where it was but it was very difficult to describe it. She’d been to the area once so I was trying to explain. “Which way did you come into the town?” because there were a couple of ways but she wasn’t really answering. Then she sat down and started to draw herself a map. “Oh, you’ve remembered, have you?” She replied “no, someone has sent me a photo and I’m copying it out”. When she finished that she stood up, picked up her coat and said “I’m going”. “Going where?” “Going home. i’m not staying here with you any more and you’re going to regret something”. “What?” “This 99”. “Regret what about 99?” “99 pence”. “Well, what about 99 pence?”. “You’ll find out” she retorted. “I suppose you’re going to be keeping the warmth, are you?” “I suppose so, yes” I answered. “That’s a shame. And it’s a shame about that lamp as well. I like that lamp”. “Well, take it with you”. “It was your friends who bought it for us”. “Well, take the lamp if you want it”. But she wouldn’t take it and just turned round and walked out of the house. I didn’t have a clue what was going on and what was the matter with her and what all of this was about. I was completely bewildered.

After this, I had an attack on the outstanding notes from my stay in Belgium. And now they are all transcribed and that’s that job finished. And right at that moment my friend came on line and we had a good chat while I soothed her fevered brown from this distance, poor kid.

With a few other things that needed doing, that took me up to lunch and more of my delicious bread (I’d had some of my wonderful fruit loaf with my morning hot chocolate).

This afternoon I sat down and finally made a start on finishing the radio programme that I had started in Leuven and by the time I knocked off for my guitar practice I’d just about finished it – another hour’s worth of music.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk, and I remembered to go around the old medieval walls today as well.

There was quite a wind blowing out there today so there weren’t too many people out there this afternoon. There was a lot going on out to sea though, such as this trawler heading back home to port with today’s catch.

It was having quite a battle against the waves too. The wind had whipped up quite a storm this afternoon.

And something else that was interesting was that we had the different coloured streak of water out there again today that you can see in the foreground.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather might have been extremely windy and so keeping a lot of people indoors, but there were some out there taking full advantage of the solitude.

The tide was only just on its way out so there wasn’t much beach to talk about yet these people here were making the most of what beach there was.

Having observed them for a few minutes, I set off – at a run – along the Rue du Nord until I encountered a group of pedestrians coming my way so I slowed down to a brisk walk.

tiberiade coelacanthe english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat caused me to look behind and see what there was going on behind me.

When I’d set out just now, I’d noticed a light moving about in the harbour so I suspected that there was a boat on the move in there. And sure enough as I watched, around the headland and out to sea came another trawler. I can’t tell at this distance if it’s Coelacanthe or her sister ship Le Tiberiade but it’s certainly one of them.

Doing her impression of Steve Harley, she went off riding the waves right past the streak of different-coloured water. And one of these days I’m going out to test the salinity of the streaky bits to see if it is indeed fresh water being discharged into the saline water of the sea. It’s a well-known phenomenon that’s been reported on on many occasions in the far north of Canada and places like this.

It’s another way of mariners being able to tell if they are near land when big rivers are involved, and I would love to prove this for myself.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I managed to break into a run again and push on a little way until I encountered another group of people.

Once they had gone, I broke into a run and went all the way down to the viewpoint over the Plat Gousset. The wind here on this corner really was wicked and I was surprised to see even a handful of people down there.

There were several people in the Square Maurice Marland too, so that put paid to any plans that I had to go for a run across there. But there was nothing else whatever of any importance or note going on so I walked on home to warm up with a nice hot mug of coffee.

Having finished the radio programme I had my hour on the guitars, which wasn’t as successful as it has been of late and then went for tea – steamed vegetables and veggie balls in a nice vegan cheese sauce, followed by pineapple and ice cream.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I stuck my head out of the door, I was glad that I’d had a few goes at my running this afternoon because the wicked headwind put a stop to anything in the Rue du Roc.

But I made it around as best I could to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, even managing a couple of legs of my running. No change in the chantier navale today, and nothing special going on in the harbour either – quite probably because the tide was right out by now.

One of the Joly France boats – the older one – was moored up over there at the ferry terminal, and it looked as if Chausiais was tied up in front of her. But that was about it really.

rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was nothing happening in the inner harbour either tonight. None of the Jersey freighters had paid us a visit today.

But by now the rain and started and with the wicked wind out here it was as if I was being lashed by a rather vigorous cat-o’nine tails. And seeing as I was the only one daft enough to be out here right now – not even any kids on the car park, I took a photo of the Rue du Port and then ran all the way home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I have to go shopping. With no Caliburn here I don’t have much in the way of fresh stuff so I can see me making two trips to LIDL – one tomorrow and the next on Saturday.

It’s rather inconvenient but it’s all in a good cause.

And then I can push on, update the journal for when I was in Leuven just now and then, hopefully, push on and catch up with yet more arrears from my trip around Central Europe earlier this year.

It’s high time that I put that to bed and got on with the real stuff.

Tuesday 10th November 2020 – WHAT A …

… bad day this was today.

But I could console myself (although it isn’t appropriate to do so) in the fact my day was nothing like as bad as that of some people.

And therein lies the root of it all. Just as I was going to bed last night, one of my dearest friends came on line for a chat and to tell me the news that she has contracted Covid, and is in isolation in a separate room in her own home away from her family.

We ended up talking to each other until about 03:00 about this and that until she decided that she needed to go to sleep. And so no chance of my waking up at 06:00. 09:20 was a bit more like it, and then I would have stayed in bed until later had I had the choice.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I don’t have too many friends – I go for quality, not quantity – but that’s now two of them, in widely separated parts of the World who are suffering. These are probably going to be the first of many. This virus is coming too close for comfort and I’m not sure how the rest of us are going to escape.

And as I write this, I discover that another two friends of mine suffered from it too, but right at the beginning of the outbreak and so they didn’t really publicise it like people would subsequently.

Anyway, with my running late, I had to prepare for my Welsh class, which took longer than it ought, and when the computer, when I switched it on to connect to the Zoom site decided to perform an upgrade. I had a feeling that it was going to be one of those days.

Our teacher didn’t help much either. She took us all the way through the course, all 2.5 hours of it, without a single break and my head had turned to jelly a long time before the end of the class.

After lunch, and more of my delicious bread, I had a listen to the dictaphone.

During the night we had been watching some kind of report on the economy in north-east France, an industrial town, about the father of a family who worked on a railway siding that served a couple of factories and how things had already been difficult when they had closed the line for a while to replace everything but now they were talking about the factories closing down with people changing habits by buying from abroad etc. They were saying what a hard time people like this father were going to have, yet there he was. He had 8 children and living in some sort of primitive conditions with a tin bath. he was saying that by the time the 8th child got into the bathwater it was pretty black. It would be even worse by the time all of this work had been going on with the dust and everything that it was creating. My friends and I appeared to have very little sympathy for him because he seemed to be one of these people who was stuck in a routine and had a total lack of imagination. All he could do in his spare time was to just breed children

With one or two other things that needed some attention, it was soon time to go out for my afternoon walk

cloud formation cotentin peninsula Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLooking out across the bay I saw what can only be described as a “mariner’s delight”. And any ancient mariner – and, indeed, a few modern ones too – will tell you about these.

A clear but moisture-laden air is blown across the sea by the wind and then hits the coastline. To cross the coastline the air has to rise up and the change in temperature and pressure causes the moisture to condense.

It’s a sure sign of land ahead and mariners throughout the centuries will have their eyes glued to the horizon looking for these cloud banks as they cross vast expanses of water.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that WE SAW A BEAUTIFUL ONE when we were in Labrador in 2010.

joly france english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was peering out to sea I saw movement on the water over by the Ile de Chausey and it was heading my way.

And so I carried on walking, knowing that it was drawing even closer to me as I advanced along the footpath. Of course I had a really good idea of who it might be but nevertheless I took a photo of it for closer examination

Sure enough, I was perfectly correct, not that there was ever any doubt. Our old friend Joly France is on her way back from the islands accompanied by a squadron of birds of some description.

sun shining through clouds baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound on the point at the headland and I had a look out to sea westwards towards the Brittany coast.

The weather is completely different here as you can see. It’s almost completely overcast. There are a few obvious gaps in the cloud cover and the bright sunlight is coming streaming through them onto the surface of the water.

This is the kind of thing that is well-worth a photo. It has produced quite a surreal effect over there and that kind of view would be almost impossible to reproduce artificially. Nevertheless it would have been nice to catch a trawler or something in the sunlight.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy this time, Joly France had caught up with me and had come around the headland into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

It’s the older one of the two Ile de Chausey ferries. You can tell that bu the fact that the upper deck superstructure is larger than on the other one and the windows on the main deck are more square than deep-rectangular.

But even with confinement it seems that the ferries are still working. As yet I’m unconvinced of the wisdom of that decision as it will merely entice second-home owners and tourists out to the island, taking the virus with them.

With this virus, which has a shelf-life of two days, the only hope of beating it is for a complete lockdown for a couple of weeks. Half-hearted measures aren’t going to be of any use whatsoever.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLeaving Joly France aside for the moment, I wandered off along the footpath to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was going on.

And we have a visitor in port today. Normandy Trader is here on one of her runs from Jersey and back again. But she’s not moored in the usual place for loading and unloading. She should be underneath the crane that’s round to the left out of shot.

All that I can think of is that maybe Thora was in port too and had needed the crane for loading and unloading but I must have missed her. It can’t be because of Chausiais as she was moored up at the ferry terminal.

Back here there were still a few things to do and so I never did get round to doing what I had planned to do today. But I had a good and enjoyable session on the guitars his evening – more Bowie stuff again on the bass followed by some Creedence Clearwater Revival, and then another 30-minute concert with the acoustic 6-string.

And my singing is improving too. But before anyone gets excited about it, just let me say that it couldn’t get any worse.

Tea was an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit out of the freezer, followed by pineapple and vegan vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce. There’s actually some room in the freezer now too, which is a surprise.

Just as I was about to go out for my walk, the telephone rang. It was Rosemary who wanted a “quick chat”. And we excelled ourselves tonight with a ‘phone call that ran on for a grant total of 2 hours and 50 minutes. That must be a new record, especially as during the chat I was also conducting two discussions, one with Liz and the other one with TOTGA, on the internet at the same time.

Not that that’s a problem, because no-one ever knows what I’m talking about so it doesn’t ever make any difference however many people I’m talking to.

But having sorted everyone out, no matter how late it is, I’m off to bed. But I can’t go to bed without mentioning one final thing.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, the question of Brexit has affected many of us who left the UK to seek our fortunes in the Real World. It’s caused all kinds of distress and dismay and we are all having to cope with it as best we can, jumping through all kinds of hoops to ensure that we can keep our homes and our livelihoods here.

Between us all, some of my friends and I have been obliged to apply for (and be granted) Permanent Residency in France. Others of my acquaintance from the UK have now obtained Canadian, Irish, Belgian and German nationality, and probably a few other nationalities too.

And so today it’s “hats off” to Grahame, a regular reader of this rubbish who has proudly told me that he is now an official Austrian citizen. Well done you.

When I think of the talent that the UK is losing, just among my own circle of friends, by this stupid, reckless decision no wonder the country is in such a mess.

And that reminds me – if you want to say tell me something, exchange points of view or simply say “hello”, there’s a contact button on the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

Send me a message and let me know that you are here.

Monday 9th November 2020 – I DIDN’T …

… manage to beat the third alarm this morning. But nevertheless I managed to tear myself out of my stinking pit fairly quickly so it wasn’t too much of a problem.

helicopter air sea rescue notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you look at some photos of the rather dramatic air-sea rescue that took place this afternoon out in the Baie de Mont St Michel I’ll tell you something about my day today.

First thing after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And, more importantly, who had come with me.

And there was actually something there, so I must have been away at some point. And what I heard about my voyage took me quite by surprise because it’s quite a rare event, what happened during the hours of darkness.

helicopter air sea rescue notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall Last night I dreamt that I had gone to the local Council offices to talk about getting a French nationality. The woman had sent me into a room which was where I would have to wait but my appointment would be something like 09:30. After a while I noticed that they had been calling through people who had come into the room after me and I was starting to become a little concerned about this. I went back to the reception and told them. The woman there said that there were a lot of people to see of course but she could absolutely guarantee that I would be seen before 11:30 that morning. I thought to myself “OK, I’ll have to wait” so I went back. But then I awoke in this dream and found that I was actually inside an old van with a load of other people. I had a look at my watch and it was 10:45. I thought that I have to go and make this appointment. How long have I been away and what have I been doing in the meantime? So I shook myself out, climbed out the van which was something like a CA Bedford or J4 with sliding doors. Someone else wanted to come out behind me so I had to help them out, then the curtain in the doorway was getting in the way. Then I thought “should I take a book with me or something? But them I thought that I don’t really have time. I have to get all the way back to the Council offices and hope that I haven’t been called in the meantime and that I’ll be there before 11:30.

It was really weird, this waking up in a dream and finding myself still in a dream.

helicopter air sea rescue notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce I’d organised myself with the dictaphone I had a radio prgramme to prepare.

It’s the 69th issue of my programmes and now I’m deep into the obscure tracks, which was always the plan. Groups like Amazing Blondel, Brian Auger’s Trinity, Eyes of Blue and the Swedish musician Bo Hansson will be making their debuts when this programme is broadcast and there are plenty more of the same to follow.

And so round about 07:30 or so I sat down to make a good start.

helicopter air sea rescue notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall It took me less than 90 minutes to choose the first 10 tracks, remix them, combine them in pairs and add on the introduction.

Then I had to research the groups because with so many new groups, I didn’t have much in the way of prepared notes, and then I had to write out the texts and then dictated them.

Once I’d dictated them I had to edit them, split them into segments and then link all of the pairs of songs together with the segments of text in between.

That left 4:20 so knocking 45 seconds off for a closing speech, that meant a final track of 3:35. Having chosen one of the right length and remixed it, I then had to dictate a closing speech which I unfortunately overran and ended up having to trim down the programme by 19 seconds.

Nevertheless, buy 14:20 it was all done and dusted, despite having a break for hot chocolate at 10:30 (and my fruit bread buns were perfect) and for lunch (and my hone-made bread was pretty good too).

First task when I finished was to ring up to enquire about Caliburn. And, as I expected, the time limit that I was given was … errr … somewhat optimistic. They’ll ring me up when he’s ready, but I can see that it’s not going to be any time soon.

Second task was to sort out the rest of the radio programme that I’d started. I even started to type out the notes but I’m afraid that my early start proved somewhat too much for me and I ended up asleep on the chair for a while.

cormorants on rock Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallConsequently my walk outside this afternoon was rather later than planned, but I went out just the same.

For a change I forgot myself and ended up going off around the headland instead of around the walls. The tide was well in and out there sitting on a rock was a colony of what looks like cormorants.

They were just sitting there not doing very much, except one of them that was flapping its wings as if it was going out of fashion. The birds posed quite nicely for a good few minutes and then I pushed off to find out what the racket was all about out to sea in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

helicopter air sea rescue notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd out there, hidden in the spray kicked up by the rotor blades of a helicopter, was our local lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

As I watched, the helicopter made two or three practice runs towards her and then on the next one, she hovered quite close and as I watched, she lowered a person down on a winch.

By the looks of things it may well have been nothing more than a practice exercise but it was still exciting just the same.

With nothing else going on out there this afternoon, I wandered off back home again to do a bit more work.

Later on, I had a really enjoyable hour on the guitars. One of the things that I did with the bass guitar was to work out the bass line to David Bowie’s “Heroes” and I found, to my immense satisfaction, that I could sing it at the same time.

Back 40 years ago I could sing and play the bass but it wasn’t all that easy. Despite the fact that I still haven’t manage to recapture whatever skill I might have had, I’m finding singing to be so much easier and I don’t understand that at all.

With the acoustic guitar, I selected half a dozen songs and then had a little concert. As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I need to spend more time concentrating on maybe just a dozen songs and knowing them very well rather than dissipating my efforts over a hundred or so.

But one track that I’ve found that I can play and sing quite easily is Counting Crows’ “Recovering the Satellites”, although that song and “Heroes” that I mentioned just now remind me rather too much of a certain night back at the beginning of September last year and one day I might even write about it.

There wa san old burger in the fridge that needed eating so I had that for tea. And being fed up of pasta, I had a baked potato with tinned veg seeing as I have run out of carrots. And the veg was peas, peppers and sweetcorn from a tin that I had bought ages ago at NOZ. As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … rummaging around in the food mountain at NOZ does provide me with a varied diet.

Both Rosemary and TOTGA wanted a chat on the internet so I was rather late going out for my evening walk and run.

And to my surprise, not only did I manage 6 runs, I ran them without any effort too and I reckon that I could have pushed on even further had I wanted.

escalier du moulin a vent Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn between a couple of the legs I stopped for a breather at the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen plenty of photos of the Place Marechal Foch during the night, but it occurs to me that you may not have seen the view looking behind me

There’s the nice little flat level ground which is disfigured by a small bunker or two of the Atlantic Wall, and then the stairs – the Escalier du Moulin a Vent that leads up to the Place de l’Isthme. And while there is indeed a “Windmill Staircase”, there’s no windmill. although there used to be and I have seen an old postcard that shows a view of it.

trees lit up square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo-one about so I had a good run across the Square Maurice Marland.

It was all looking quite nice, the trees all illuminated by the lights and with no leaves to hide the effect.

And from there I continued around the walls and then ran on home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I have my Welsh lesson so I need to do some revision in the morning, and then in the afternoon I hope that I’ll be able to finish off the radio programme that I started in Leuven.

Then there are plenty of other things to be doing and who knows? One of these days I might be able to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Just don’t hold your breath.