Sunday 19th September 2021 – THIS WAS ONE …

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… of the nicest pizzas that I have ever made.

Surprisingly I can’t think what I did to it to make it any different from the usual. The diced peppers that were left over from several weeks went in the bin as being unfit for human consumption and as I had no fresh mushrooms I used tinned stuff, sticking them in the oven to dry them out.

That was about all that I did that was different but whatever it was, the results were all that counted. No complaints there.

Last night I didn’t go to bed until quite late because I couldn’t find the energy or the motivation to leave my chair. But once I did go to bed I went straight to sleep and stayed there until … errr … 07:30. 6 hours sleep on a Saturday night/Sunday morning is not very much but it shows just how much I slept during the day yesterday.

Even so, there was no danger of my leaving the bed at that time of morning. I went back to sleep and stayed there until 09:20. Even that was quite early for a Sunday but if you can’t sleep, you can’t sleep.

After the medication (when I forgot what medication that I’m supposed to be taking) I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone. I was looking at apartments last night, either to rent or to buy. During the furniture removal that we were doing we were stationary and someone backed into us. There were a whole kind of problems that didn’t involve me because I wasn’t the driver of our vehicle but we were talking about this to a few people and they were surprised that there was even a dispute about it. Anyway we were something going on and I went over to one of the other estate agents who was letting the apartment on behalf of Pozzo. They had the keys so I went to see it. It was strange, an open-plan apartment and had no walls. You looked over the balcony straight down into the hallway. I thought that this was the coldest apartment that there ever is going to be. It was nice but I couldn’t get over the idea of having no walls. In the end I came away. I was with a former friend. We wanted an Indian meal so we looked around. There was this really posh hotel-type place. Finding a place to park was the 1st thing. Then we had to walk to try to find a waiter. There were dozens of them, all done up in buttoned jackets looking like something out of a 18th Century novel. Just as we were about to ask, I awoke.

Later on I was with a group of people and we were at that hotel and left all out clothes there. We had the bill for 4 coffees and it came to something like £299:00. We wandered off into the streets of Glasgow. We had somehow become separated in some roadworks and I could see them disappearing away. I was trying to catch up but there was all kinds of obstructions and road works and people on bikes in my way and I couldn’t catch up. In the end I found myself on a demolition site with all old apartment blocks in the real back-end of Glasgow. I was having to scramble over scaffolding and everything. First of all I couldn’t remember the name of my hotel, and secondly I couldn’t even work out where I was. The map that I had wasn’t much help. I wasn’t even sure which side of the Clyde I was on. Eventually I came out and I was on top of a hill going through a small village. Down in the valley I could see a river and a railway line. I thought “if I can get down there I can probably work out where I am and maybe catch a train back. We were so high up that I couldn’t see how I was going to get down this slope to get into this valley where this river and railway line were.

Once I’d done that the next task was to pair up the music for the radio programme. That didn’t take me all that long and by the time that I was ready to stop for lunch it was all out of the way.

After lunch there were several tasks that needed my attention.

Firstly, the ice-box in the fridge had frozen up so I emptied the fridge and switched it off. A week or two ago Liz had given me some old towels and what with the lino that we laid a few weeks ago, I had everything that I needed and basically the job took care of itself.

When it had defrosted completely I washed and cleaned it, sorted out the food, washed and dried the shelves and then reassembled it. And there seems to be much more room in there than there used to be.

Earlier on, I’d transcribed the other dictaphone notes from when I was away and then turned my attention to FRIDAY’S JOURNAL ENTRY that I had missed.

hang gliders rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There were several breaks in my afternoon routine, including, as usual, the walk around the headland.

But I had hardly set foot out of the building before a squadron of Nazgul took off from the field next to the cemetery and started to head my way.

“Almost perfect timing” you might think, and having read Lord of the Rings as many times as I had when I was nought but a pup, it was somehow rather unnerving watching them head my way.

Probably the same feeling that Frodo and the others had as they were on their way to dispose of the Ring and the Nazgul appeared.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So having managed to escape the wicked clutches of the Nazgul, first stop was at the wall at the end of the car park to check on the beach to see what was happening down there.

With it being a warm but cloudy day, I was expecting to see the crowds down there making the most of it but, surprisingly, it was quite empty. There can’t have been more than a dozen people down there, and there wasn’t anyone that I could see in the water.

With it being one of the last weekends of the summer, I should have thought that the madding crowds would have been down there this afternoon

joly france yachts baie de Granville ile de chausey Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021They may not have been down there on the beach, or even on the path around the headland, but in the gap between the Ile de Chausey and the mainland there were plenty of people.

Here are just some of the yachts that were out there this afternoon. There were probably three times as many as this all told.

In the middle of all the yachts there was something fairly large moving quite quickly towards the mainland. When I returned to the apartment later I enhanced the photo and blew it up, and I could see that it was one of the Joly France ferried coming back from the island.

Unfortunately it was too far out for me to tell which one it was.

f-gsbv Robin DR400 180 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out there, I was overflown by a light aeroplane going by towards the airfield.

She’s F-GSBV, one of the Robin DR400-180 that is owned by the Aero Club de Granville.

She’s described in their literature as “a good aeroplane for travelling and is ideal for 4 passengers and their luggage to travel all around France and Europe”. And so today she took off from the airfield at 16:10, did a quick lap around just offshore and came back in to land at 16:24.

Not exactly the “all around France and Europe” as they advertised. Mind you, she did take off half an hour later and was airborne for almost 35 minutes.

cabin cruiser yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021With nothing going on whatever offshore at the end of the headland I carried on round to the path on the other side of the headland.

And out here in the Baie de Mont St Michel there were just as many pleasure boats as there were on the north side of the headland.

Here, we have a fine collection of yachts, a cabin cruiser and a small motor boat. And plenty more of them out of shot too.

There looked to br a rainstorm brewing up down at the foot of the bay near the Pointe de Carolles too, but luckily the wind was blowing from the north-west so it was pushing the rain farther to the south.

yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Here is something that we haven’t seen for a couple of weeks.

There is this big yacht that’s been in the compound of the chantier naval for quite some considerable time and doesn’t seem to have moved at all.

It’s all been masked off and there has been some primer applied with a spray gun, but the work seems to have run aground because I can’t see that any progress has been made for several weeks.

The summer season is now almost over so I don’t suppose that they are in too much of a rush to complete the work.

catherine philippe l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021In the main area of the chantier naval, there has been quite a lot of activity while I was away in Belgium

The trawler Saint Andrews has gone back into the water leaving just the unknown black trawler, the trawler Catherine Philippe and L’Omerta, the shellfishing boat.

By the way things are looking, they aren’t going to be around there for long. The paintwork on all of them looks quite fresh and so they’ll be back in the water quite soon.

Although I do remember having said that sort of thing on several occasions in the past and been made to eat my words. I can see me doing the same with these three.

chausiaise belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Before I headed back for home I had a look out across to the ferry terminal.

Over there is the little freighter Chausiaise, tied up to the outside of the terminal. Behind her is the very new ferry Belle France. The other two Joly France are out at sea and we saw one of them just now.

Back in the apartment I finished off the cleaning of the fridge and filling it up, and then I kneaded out the pizza dough, rolled it out and put it in the pizza tray to proof for an hour or so.

When it was ready I assembled the pizza and baked it ready for tea.

Now that I’ve written out my notes I’m going to bed. I have the radio programme to prepare tomorrow and then go to the shops for some fruit and veg before lunch because there isn’t anything here to eat as far as fruit goes.

One or two other things too, so I’ll be going in Caliburn. I’m not really up to going on foot.

Saturday 18th September 2021 – JUST A FEW LINES …

… because I’m really not feeling like sitting down and writing War and Peace after the day that I’ve had.

As seems to be usual these days, I had a pretty disturbed night last night, not being able to sleep very much. It always seems to be the case when I have to arise early in the morning.

But arise early I did and I had plenty of time for my train. I was on the station at 06:15 in the freezing cold – winter is coming quicker than you might think

My train was the 06:33 to Brussels that arrived at about 07:05 so there was plenty of time for me to go to the supermarket and pick up a little something for lunch before my train left at 07:43.

Yes, half an hour later than usual, simply because my usual one had no seats left. But even though this train costs €30:00 more, I don’t have to change trains at Lille and stagger halfway across town.

We were 10 minutes late arriving in Paris Gare du Nord but there was still plenty of time to cross the city on the metro to Gare Montparnasse.

The train that was awaiting me was a two-trainset one of 16 carriages, and was pretty much empty. It looks as if they were just using one trainset pulling the second one as a positioning voyage. I’d slept for much of the way between Brussels and Paris, and repeated the exercise on the train between Paris and Granville.

In fact I was asleep when the train pulled into the railway station at Granville.

The walk downhill into town was quite easy but to be on the safe side I’d bought a can of go-juice at the Carrefour in the Rue Couraye.

The climb back up the hill in the Rue des Juifs was a nightmare as you might expect and I can’t go on much longer like this. It took me about four or five stops to make it up to the top, one of which was a nice long one while I drank the drink that I’d just brought.

Back here I sat in my chair and vegetated for quite a while. It’s good to be back home, as Barry Hay once famously said.

Later on I made a coffee and without moving from my chair I watched the football on the internet. TNS v Barry Town.

With the demise of Connah’s Quay Nomads and the strengthening of TNS over the summer, TNS are pretty unstoppable and this is how it proved to be.

Their 3-1 victory tonight was really a foregone conclusion but Barry’s defence was appalling. Their second goal came about because the Barry keeper didn’t dive to cut out a ball doing across inside his goal area at about knee-height.

For the third goal, Declan McManus was standing in an onside position on the goal line right in the centre of goal with not a defender anywhere near him for about 15 seconds before he was presented with a simple tap-in.

Round about 23:00 I finally summoned up the energy to leave my chair. I’ve had no tea tonight because I was too tired to make it and I’m just going to dash off a few notes before I go to bed. I’ll add the photos into the notes in due course when I’m feeling better.

Friday 17th September 2021 – AFTER YESTERDAY’S …

… exertions it was no surprise to anyone that I was in bed by 20:45. But the difficulty whenever I do that is that I’m usually awake quite early and so I never seem to take advantage of it.

But if anyone thinks that I’m going to be out of bed at 05:40 and doing things when there’s no alarm set, they are totally mistaken. Even 07:20 was rather early but there’s no point in staying in bed if I can’t go back to sleep

At 09:00 I nipped downstairs to the “Match” supermarket in the basement for my bread for lunch. And some drink too. I’ve already finished off the 1.5 litres of iced tea and 2 litres of banana-flavoured soya drink that I brought on Wednesday night.

Back up in my room I finished off my notes from yesterday and then had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was with a couple of friends and we were discussing, of all things, rape. The girl said something like “rapists should all go on strike and down tools”. I replied that if all rapists downed tools, there wouldn’t be any such thing as rape at all. And despite the gravity of the subject, I was pretty impressed that I could come out with a pun like that while I was asleep.
Later on there was an issue about a socket not working. I immediately reckoned that there was a bad joint somewhere and the first joint that I tested came apart when I pulled it I was with a guy whom I knew so I asked him if he would hold a lamp at the socket while I held the wires togeter to see if this was the bad joing in question but he refused. I had to run off and try to find a light with a plug that would fit in the socket and try it myself.
Even later Rosemary was asking me about the Battle of Rhedae. I knew that it had taken place on the outskirts of Clermont Ferrand (which it didn’t – I was thinking of the Battle of Gergovie) so I went to fetch my Michelin guide to the Puy de Dome and had a good search through but couldn’t find it in there, which was no surprise seeing as Rhedae, which is these days believed by many to the the town of Quillan, is in the Razès in South West France.

class 18 electric locomotives gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was busy working I was keeping an eye on what was going on outside down on the station.

At a certain moment a train from Oostende pulled into the station just as a train from Eupen and Welkenraedt pulled in on its way to Oostende.

But of them were powered by the typical Class 18 electric locomotives. The one from Eupen, furthes away from the camera, is being pulled by a locomotive whose number I can’t see, and the one from Oostende, closes to the camera, is being pushed by locomotive number 1819.

aeroplane going in to land brussels airport zaventem Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021What else I could see from my window were aeroplanes flying from right to left just above the horizon.

Way over to the left is the Brussels National Airport at Zaventem. All of these aeroplanes are on the flightpath going into land there and there were quite a few too. At one stage I counted one every three or four minutes.

When I lived in Schaerbeek back in the early 1990s my apartment looked out right across to the airport way out in the distance and the aeroplanes that came in to land were clearly visible at night with their landling lights illuminated. They would come into land right in line head-on to my apartment and the view was fantastic.

universitaire ziekenhuis Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021Another thing that you could see from my window up here on the 5th floor was the Universitaire Ziekenhuis Leuven, the University Hospital of Leuven.

That’s the building, or buildings, I should maybe say, over there on the skyline on the right-hand side of the photo. And this photo will give you some idea of the size of the hospital. It’s one of the biggest in Europe, if not the World.

The thing that impressed me about this hospital is that while most hospitals give instructions zbout how to arrive there from the town centre, this hospital give directions from the airport.

It’s truly a cosmopolitan hospital and that’s what I want. Many hospitals and medical services are quite chauvinistic about their treatment, but not so the Belgians. They aren’t afraid to mention medical research that is being undergone in other countries.

class 21 electric locomotive gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021Another thing that I noticed pulling into the station was a rather elderly Class 21 locomotive.

These first came into service in the mid-80s, with 144 taking to the rails. There are Class 11s, Class 12s, Class 21s and Class 27s, with the latter being the most powerful and the former being the least powerful.

They were built by the Belgian BN/ACEC combine which is now no longer in business. And so since the Class 18s have arrived, these are gradually being withdrawn and dismantled as a source of spares for the big Class 27s.

Something else that came through the staion that I wasn’t quick enough to photograph, much to my regret was one of the new Bombardier-Alstom “M7” double deck multiple units that are currently on proving trials on the Belgian network. That would have been quite a thing.

With a nice quiet day I ought to have done so much more too but unfortunately much of the time was spent curled up on my bed having a little relax. No point in fighting it.

Later in the evening I caught a bus that took me out to Alison Wonderland, as her new home is called. She had some falafel left over from her barbecue so I cooked it while she went to the fritkot down the road for a bag of chips.

We had a nice meal and lengthy chat, and instead of singing for my supper I helped her move some heavy furniture around.

Once I’d recovered my strength Alison drove me home. I was totally exhaused and so with an early start tomorrow, instead of writing up my notes I crawled into bed and that was that.

Thursday 16th September 2021 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… last night was one of the best night’s sleeps that I have ever had and I’ve no idea why.

am80 multiple unit gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021It was actually light when I awoke, which was no surprise seeing as it was already 08:40.

From my window here on the fifth floor I can see the railway station down below and there was an AM 80 multiple unit just pulling into one of the platforms.

In the background is another multiple unit covered in some awful and appalling graffiti. I can’t see what type of multiple unit it is and I really don’t understand why some people think that it’s clever to g round making a mess like this.

Anyway, I had my medication and then turned my attention to the dictaphone to see where I’d been visiting during the night.

bus station Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021While you admire a photo of the local bus station, a dreadful modern insult to the fine old Flemish architecture across the road, I was flying to Repulse Bay to join a trip with Adventure Canada so I set out to walk. I ended up having a huge walk around the countryside in the winter snow and at one point standing on a hill somewhere I could see right across through into the mountains, the Alps. I assumed that it was the alps because it looked so spectacular covered in snow, everything like that. As I walked on towards home there was a row of terraced houses. My friend and his sister who had been appearing in my voyages just recently lived in one of them. As I was walking past, he came out, got into his car with his girlfriend and drove away. I was quite happily singing to myself and out of the corner of my eye I could see a face peering around the corner of the upstairs curtain to have a look down. I thought that it would be just a momentary glance but I noticed that the face was watching me all the way up to my front door and into the house so there was no doubt that she knew exactly who I was.
Later on I was in northern France or Flanders somewhere with Caliburn. I’d been visiting some people and ended up puttign a new rear axle into Caliburn. I had to go to see Hans but it had taken me so long to do this axle that by now it was starting to go dark. I set off and as I came to a bridge or junction a group of motorcyclists made a few gestures to me and I suddenly realised that there was a police trap at the road junction. I put my seat belt on and went there. They had a good look around Caliburn, even making sure that all of the air popes for pollution were correct. He didn’t like one of the windscreen wipers but I explained that the controle technique was due soon and the guy who gave it a service would say something about it. In the end they checked my papers as usual and waved me on my way. By now Caliburn had transformed himself into a scooter and I was pushing myself along with my foot. This was making my back ache and ache and I thought that at this rate I would never get to Hans’s place, never mind come back with a back like I was getting with all of this work on this scooter.
Sometime even later I’d been in Belgium visiting people and trailing a few interesting things about wartime. I’d ended up in this village and one of the guys there was telling me a story about how there had been some hero in some local village who had led a group of resistance and saboteurs against the Germans. He’d been shot for his pains and these other people who were there. We were trying to find out more about this guy, where he’d been buried and so on. I was explaining to these other people that if they were going to make a film of this guy it would be interesting and they should join in the hunt for his grave. But they weren’t all that keen and drove away. I ended up chatting to I dunno the mayor of this village who in the end told me where his grave was and how to get there. I had one or two things to do first, that meant going out of the village. Coming back I ended up on the wrong side of the river and had to walk along the river bank. I came to a cemetery that was right on the water’s edge and I thought that I bet there was going to be bodies washed out of here by the river so I had to ford the river which was cold and there were shoes everywhere in the river. I walked back down the hill – it was pitch dark by this time and ended up back in the centre of this village where there were all these children dressed up in religious clothing carrying banners. It was quite dark now and it looked as if there was going to be some religious torchlit parade so I thought that this grave will have to wait for daylight now. I was going to loiter around and photograph this parade.

buildings diestsevest Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021Having dealt with all of that, you can look at a few more modern monstrosities and I’ll make a start on choosing the music for the next four radio programmes.

With me being stuck here in Leuven without anything going on and not being in any condition these days to go and find it, I’m making the most of my time here by doing some work on my radio shows.

With four shows, I have to choose four lots of ten songs. It’s not as easy as it sounds because I have to make surehat I’m not playing the same artists too frequently, and that the total length of the 10 songs is no more than about 49 minutes.

The speech that I do runs out to about 7.5 minutes and the remainder of the one-hour programme is taken up by the final song that closes the programme.

Once the music has been selected, I then have to remix it and set the volume levels so that they are all equal.

By the time that I was ready make my butties and leave for the hospital I’d almost completed two of them

building bondgenotenlaan Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021Down in the Bondgenotenlaan I walked past the building where Wibra used to be.

That shop had moved elsewhere quite a few years ago now and the building had been gutted. Since then, in typical Belgian fashion, work has continued along at a pace that would have embarrassed a family of snails.

This of course isn’t the usual way that I go to the hospital so I was keeping an eye open for other things of any importance, but there was nothing that I could see that was unusual or noteworthy.

And so instead I carried on down towards the city centre

display grote markt Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that recently there has been some kind of fitness centre in the square – a couple of stationary bicycles.

They seem to have been moved now, and instead we have some kind of display featuring diversity.

Diversity is of course a wonderful thing but it’s not really the kind of exhibition to display opposite the old town hall to which access to the main entrance is only gained by going up two flights of about 25 steps.

And with all of these very ephemeral exhibitions springing up in the Grote Markt, I wonder what we’ll be seeing the next time that we come here.

brusselsestraat amerikalaan franz thielemanslaan Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021From the Grote Martk I pushed on down the hill towards the bridge over the River Dijle.

A few months ago we saw them working on the piece of ground that was on the corner of the Brusselsestraat, the Amerikalaan and the Franz Thielemanslaan.

The work now is actually finished, which is quite a surprise, and it looks quite nice too, although I would have preferred to have seen some other centrepiece than a waste paper bin.

The greenery is looking quite strange. Not that I know anything about greenery and vegetation of course but this doesn’t look particularly well-maintained.

erecting marquee brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021Down the street I continued until I reached the site where the Sint Pieter’s Hospital used to be

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that at the rear of where they have installed the velodrome, they were erecting some kind of hardstanding.

Today, as I was walking past, they were erecting a marquee and some kind of wooden framework that had strings of lights attached. It looks as if there is going to be some kind of event going on here over the course of the next few days.

But the potted palms that we had seen last time that we were here are still in place. And so this event has the air of being something tropical, but they could have chosen some better surroundings for it.

stationary cycling machines brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021But at least I now know where the stationary cycles have now been installed. They are here at the velodrome.

Last time, I mentioned that there is going to be some kind of cycling race taking place in Leuven. Apparently, it’s this weekend, and that will explain why I wasn’t able to find a room to let at my usual accommodation, with all of these cyclists being here.

There’s also some kind of world record attempt taking place, although I’ve no idea what that might be.

So this weekend there is going to be total chaos in and around the city, and so I’m glad that I’m going home early on Saturday morning.

medieval tower pile of earth demolition brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021Elsewhere on the site, there are some signs that the ground improvements are slowly advancing.

By the looks of things, several lorry-loads of earth have turned up quite recently, presumably ready for them to start the earthworks and redevelopments in early course.

In the background, the demolition work of the old building there doesn’t seem to have advanced all that much. I’m not sure how much of that buildig is actually going to be removed but they need to get a move on if they want to progress.

In the middle ground, the old medieval tower still has its scaffolding and roof, but it now seems to have grown a green nylon netting around it to protect it from damage.

cycle racks kruisstraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021Further on and down the street I went around the corner into the Kruisstraat.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the installation of the new cycle racks outside the rather derelict Sint Jakobs Church, and I expressed surprise that that would be installing them there because I didn’t reckon that they would have much use.

And it seems that I was right too, because even now that the racks have been there for several months, you can see just how much demand there is for cycle racks at that particular situation.

The walk up to the hospital was another nightmare in the searing heat that we were having this afternoon. I had to stop a total of four times to catch my breath and I was in agony by the time that I arrived at the hospital.

The nurse who stuck my catheter in my shoulder was formerly a midwife and if she delivered babies the same way that she put the catheter in, I’m surprised that there are so many healthy babies in Belgium

We went through all of the procedures as usual and my blood count is down yet again – to 9.0 this time. And this is despite 5 injections of Aranesp. This is causing them some concern because the Aranesp is the treatment of the last resort and should normally give some improvement.

And that explains why I’m feeling so lousy these days.

Anyway, next time that I’m back they are going to give me “further tests” – assuming that I’ll still be here next time.

While I was there waiting for the perfusion to finish, which seemed to be for ages this time, I finished off choosing and editing all of the music for the next few programmes

building site kapucijnenvoer Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way home I went down to the bottom of the hill to have a look at the building site in the Kapucijnenvoer.

There’s quite a large surface area for them to cover on that site but even so, they seem to be moving along fairly rapidly with the subterranearn part of the work. There’s been quite some progress since the last time that we looked.

But judging by the thickness of the outer walls and the substantial nature of the construction, it’s going to be quite a large, tall building although from what I can see, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of car parking facilities for a building the size that I am expecting to see.

building site kapucijnenvoer Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021There’s another building site that is under construction in the Kapucijnenvoer, closer down to the Brusselsestraat.

This work here has been progressing quite rapidly and now they are up to three floors, and it doesn’t look as if they are going to go any higher with the construction.

Presumably they are going to be cladding the building with something. Brickwork would look quite nice but these days, they don’t seem to go in that direction and choose something cheaper instead, no matter how sad it might look in 10 years time.

And I feel sorry, as I have said before, for the people living in that beautiful little house in the Zongang who have now ended up with this building right outside their front door.

The walk through the town was quite depressing too. The walk out to the hospital had worn me out and the perfusion that I had has tired me out even more. And the heat is pretty unbearable as well, that makes life even more difficult.

building site diestsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021The quickest way home is down the Diestsestraat past all of the cheaper shops in the lower end of town.

There has been some building work going on down there as well and when I walked past I could see that the work hasn’t advanced all that much despite all of the time that they have been doing it.

It’s not as if this kind of building work takes a long time. These large brick blocks can be thrown together quite quickly and the roof trusses come prefabricated these days so it’s more of an assembly job than a construction job.

building site diestsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further on I came across another set of building works

This small block of flats is being renovated and it looks as if they are going to be installing new windows in it Next door but one, there has been a building demolished and they are presumably going to to be building a new building on the site

The building next to it looks rather precarious and it’s being held up by a form of metal bracing to stop it falling over

Just down the road is one of these multiple-store pizza chains and it was advertising a vegan pizza. I wanted to have something for tea and so that sounded like a good plan

sunset Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021So while I had the setting sun shining through my hotel window, I sat and ate my pizza, which was delicious, although rather overpriced.

By the time that I’d finished it I was totally and completely exhausted. It was only about 20:45 but I’ve done 123% of my day’s activity in this heat and I’m too tired to care. I went to bed really early.

It’ll do me good to have a really decent night’s sleep, especially if tonight’s sleep will be as good as last night’s.

Tomorrow I don’t have much to do except to write up my notes. And in the evening I’m off for an evening out with Alison. Another decent night’s sleep after that and I’ll be ready for my early start on Saturday to go back home.

Wednesday 15th September 2021 – HERE I ALL AM …

… not exactly sitting in a rainbow, and not sitting in my usual hotel either. I’m in an Ibis Budget hotel at the back of the railway station in Leuven.

As I mentioned a few days ago, with not having organised my booking until too late, there were none of the cheap rooms going at my usual place. I had to look elsewhere for somewhere to stay.

This place is actually cheaper and much closer to the railway station – like 100 metres in fact. There are no facilities here in the room though, but you can’t have everything.

This morning it was a real struggle to leave my bed and I wasn’t in much of a mood to do anything. Consequently I ended up with not enough time to do a full back-up from the big desktop computer.

Nevertheless, I’d made my sandwiches and my coffee so at least something was prepared.

joly france belle france chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Round the corner I went and ended up at the viewpoint overlooking the port.

And having permed any two from three of the Ile de Chausey ferries over the last few days, we have a full house of Chausey boats over at the Ferry Terminal this morning.

Both the Joly France ferries and the third one, Belle France, are over there, as is Chausiaise, the small freighter. It’s far too early for them to be out working.

My route took me down into town and back up the hill towards the railway station. And the walk was absolutely agonising again, just like last time. I might be feeling a little better, but it doesn’t look much like it.

84579 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The train arrived in the station at exactly the same time as I did, which was nice.

And one sign of progress was that I managed to climb in correctly and respectably, not like last time when I couldn’t climb into the train and actually fell in.

It’s just a one-car unit of 8 carriages today and it was heaving with people. Not an empty seat anywhere and I had a very uncomfortable place without a table to work on.

Backing up my computer was uncomfortable but everything else was difficult and I spent most of the journey catching up on my sleep.

We arrived bang on time at Paris Montparnasse and then I had to wander off to find the metro to take me to the Gare du Nord. The walk to the metro platform takes ages because the railway station has been moved from where it used to be, and it’s not doing me very much good at all.

One of these days I’m going to have to find an alternative route.

TGV INOUI 205 TGV Reseau Duplex gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo September 2021At the Gare du Nord I didn’t have long to wait to board my train.

With them having to check the vaccination certificates they opened the gates to the platform 25 minutes before departure rather than the usual 15 minutes.

The train today is, as usual, a couple of the TGV Inoui Reseau Duplex trainsets and for a change, I was sitting on the lower deck. Once more, I had a companion but like the one that I had on the earlier train, he didn’t say a word.

To pass the time on the journey, I was reading a University thesis on the creation of the system of Kingships in early Anglo-Saxon Britain.

TGV INOUI 213 TGV Reseau Duplex gare de lille flanders railway station France Eric Hall photo September 2021When we arrived at Lille Flanders I had to walk the whole length of the train down to the exit.

The trainset at the front was another identical one of the TGV Reseau Duplexes and I took a photo of it as I left the station. And then I had to walk across town to the Lille Europe railway station.

Once again, the train came into the station just as I did, and once again I ended up with another companion.

She didn’t turn up until the train was almost due to depart, by which time I was settled down comfortably with all of my stuff everywhere and we had quite a pantomime for her to take her seat.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4516 PBA gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021At the Gare du Midi at Brussels there was quite a queue to leave the platform because the escalator was out of action.

That gave me plenty of time to go and photograph the train that had brought me here. It’s one of the TGV Reseau 38000 PBA (Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam) trainsets, and just one as well. A single 8-car trainset today. The holiday season must be over.

The crowds eventually thinned out and I could make my way down to the gallery underneath. No-one checking vaccination certificates or passports or anything, so I could wander off and find the train that was going to take me to Leuven.

push me pull you gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021There wasn’t all that long for me to wait until a train arrived for me.

It’s one of the “push me pull you” train sets that has come from Oostende and is on its way to Welkenraedt and Eupen. It was fairly empty and there was plenty of room for me to spread.

A couple of trips ago we’d gone past the sidings where they had parked up the redundant locomotives awaiting scrapping and the NIKON 1 J5 through the glass window in a rainstorm didn’t bring them out very well.

With the NIKON D3000 I was hoping for a better effort but we took the newer high-level lines past Schaerbeek station so I didn’t get to see them.

class 18 electric locomotive 1880 gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021When we pulled into Leuven station I could walk down to the far end of the platform and photograph the locomotive that had been pushing us along.

It was one of the Class 18 workhorses of the Belgian railway network that handle most of the express trains these days. We’ve travelled on these dozens of times in the past.

Just outside at the back of the railway station is a supermarket and I picked up some drink and biscuits from there. As it happens, my hotel is actually on top of the supermarket so once I found the lift I didn’t have far to go to check in.

sun shining through hole in the clouds Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021It’s been a very cloudy day today with scattered showers and here in Leuven there’s a heavy cloud overhanging the town.

At one point I was looking out of the window of my fifth-floor room and right at that moment a ray of sunshine came out through a small hole in the clouds. It was quite impressive.

As for my room, it’s a twin-bedded room with a TV and that’s your lot. Nothing in the way of facilities.

There is a nice shower though and after I washed my clothes I took full advantage of it. That was really nice and refreshing.

gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021There’s a fritkot down the road from here so they made me a bag of chips and a salad wrap for tea.

It was right opposite the railway station and there was a good view of the train shed from where I was sitting. It looked really eerie all lit up in the dark.

Back here, I’ve written up my notes and now I’m off to bed for a very early night. And quite right too because my trip here has taken a lot out of me today.

The walk up to the hospital is something to which I’m not looking forward tomorrow, so I’m going to have a lie-in in the morning and gather up my strength ready to fight the good fight all the way to the hospital,

Tuesday 14th September 2021 – WELL, AT LEAST …

chest x-rays place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… I do actually have a set of lungs

There are certainly two of them inside my ribcage and while I don’t really know anything about what I’m looking at, they both look pretty much the same to me.

And one thing that I like about the French – indeed the European – medical servce is that not only was there just a couple of days between my ‘phone call and my appointment and not a couple of months as in the UK, my appointment was at 10:00 and at 09:51 I had been x-rayed and was waiting for the images.

And they said “wait 30 minutes and then pick up your photos”, but the actual wait was more like just over 20 minutes. Efficient is not the word.

Last night was another bad night that I spent tossing and turning under the covers drifting in and out of sleep. And it really was a struggle to haul myself out of bed when the alarm went off.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There were three presidents or secretaries or whatever of the Rolling Stones Fan Club who had arrived by canal or on bikes on their way into town so I had to go out there to the canal. I was one of the first away and when I arrived I found that George was there. He’d been there for hours watching them because they had been waiting for so long. He thought that there were 4 or them but I definitely only counted three. Then some more of our party turned up so I went into the back of my van to get out the stuff that we needed for this operation.

Later on during the night I’d gone on a holiday somewhere skiing. There were all kinds of organised excursions as well. There was one where they were allocating people to different things. Someone asked me what I was doing on one particular afternoon right before we went home. I said that I didn’t know so they replied that the notice board was “over there”. I had a look and it seemed that I’d been put down for an early start to go on a coach tour. I thought “I may as well go”. Only about half the people who had been put down turned up and no-one was particularly interesting but we had a chat all the same. The concern was with drivers’ hours. Was the driver taking us on this sight-seeing trip going to be the same one who was going to be taking us home in the evening because how would he fit his drivers hours in? We ended up in Coventry at the museum. The bus driver had parked the exit door right over a puddle. everyone was getting out of this coach and wading through this puddle but I slid down the wing because it was an old half-cab bus and reached the ground that way and went off to have a look at a few of the exhibits which showed Coventry basically before it was bombed, and Coventry afterwards. I mentioned to Nerina, who had turned up by this time that I’d written about Coventry for my University thesis (and I DID TOO as it happens). She replied “yes, she knew” but she didn’t seem to be all that interested so I didn’t say any more.

Having written out my notes, I headed off for my x-rays at the Laboratory On The Edge of Town. And that didn’t take as long as I was fearing, and I was back well in time for my Welsh lesson.

teacher taking photo of schoolchildren place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One of the regular features of these pages is “taking photos of people taking photos of people”.

As I pulled into the car park outside here I nearly squidged a crocodile of schoolkids on a walk around the area. They weren’t in any particular hurry to get out of my way.

They all assembled on the clifftop over by the wall that overlooks the beach, and a teacher went to take a photo of them all. Luckily I had the NIKON D3000 to hand and was able to take a quick snap of them all before they all moved on.

The Welsh lesson wasn’t as easy as it might have been, and for two reasons too –

  1. I was struggling to keep awake for some of it
  2. Now that on-line working has come to an end, Zoom has stopped its free offer for schools and colleges, so every 40 minutes we had to log out and back in again.

As for the lesson itself, it passed quite well and I seem to have grasped the hang of what we were studying.

After lunch I had another go at these old duplicates and, to my surprise I found another several thousand that I hadn’t thought too much about. But eliminating the duplicates went ahead quite happily and another 6.2GB of photos bit the dust.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When I went out for my afternoon walk, the first thing that I did was to go over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach.

The tide was quite well in so there wasn’t a great deal of beach to be on. Not that it made a great deal of difference because the weather wasn’t as good as it might have been – cloudy and overcast – and not the right kind of day for sunbathing.

Nevertheless, there were still a couple of people who had taken to the water this afternoon and looked as if they were enjoying it. So hats off to them.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021With the cloud cover that we were having today, it kept the haze down so the view out to sea was quite good.

Not as good as it was the other day but still better than some days that we’ve had. While I was looking out to sea towards Jersey I could see a small yacht about halfway out in the bay.

The island of Jersey was visible in the background but we couldn’t actually see or distinguish anything out there this afternoon.

And so instead, with nothing else going on out there at sea, I set off for my walk along the headland out towards the lighthouse.

boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When I reached the lawn, I could see out across to the other side of the headland and into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Out there in the bay this afternoon was a small motor boat. I couldn’t see what the crew were doing, but I shouldn’t be surprised if they were out there fishing.

My attention was also drawn to the background of the photo. We’ve seen quite a few interesting things on the skyline at the back of Jullouville and today we can see on the right some kind of chimney and on the left there’s some kind of what looks like a stone tower.

One of these days i’ll have to go for a drive around there for a closer look around.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But right now I was more intent on pushing off across the car park over to the headland to see what was going on out at sea.

And, just like yesterday, and one or two other days just recently, I wasn’t the only one interested in what was going on. Today, we had a couple sitting on the bench by the Cabanon Vauban looking out to sea.

Not to any good purpose of course, because out in the bay all the way across the bay to Cancale there wasn’t anything going on at all. Not even a boat of any description.

sailing school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs on the far side of the headland towards the port.

When I’d gone past the sailing school this morning on the way to the laboratory they were busy dragging out a few of the yachts ready to start the lessons.

And this afternoon, as I walked along the clifftop I could see some of the yachts from one of the sailing schools out there in the bay having a lap around before the tide went out.

In the background, there were people out there on the Plage d’Hacqueville having a good walk around. i’ve not yet set my foot on that beach so that’s another job for one of these days.

saint andrews chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The path took me along to the viewpoint that overlooks the chantier naval where I can see what was going on down there.

The work on the little trawler Saint Andrews is progressing. Some of the hull and superstructure has been masked off and they are quite busy giving her a second coat of paint.

She looks something of a mess right now but I bet that she will look really nice when she’s finished.

There wasn’t any change of occupancy in there again today so I carried on down the path

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Yesterday I took a couple of photos of the ferry terminal, where we saw the two Joly France boats.

At the time, I mused about the whereabouts of the brand-new ferry Belle France. I didn’t know then where she was but I can tell you where she is today. She’s actually tied up at the ferry terminal this afternoon.

In front of her, out of shot, is the newer one of the two Joly France ferries. The older one of the two is nowhere about so she’s probably out at the Ile de Chausey witnessing the next instalment of dodgems round by the landing stage.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I watched, the reversing siren on Belle France sounded and she reversed out of her berth.

From my viewpoint I saw her reverse out into the channel and she looked as if she was about to head off to the Ile de Chausey, even though there were no passengers on board.

However, having reversed out and turned 180°, she then reversed back into her berth and tied up again. I’ve no idea why she wanted to do that.

From the viewpoint I headed off back to the apartment and my banana smoothie and where I unfortunately crashed out for an hour or so.

This evening I’ve packed my suitcase ready for tomorrow and then made tea – a slice of pie with potatoes and vegetables. And it tasted delicious.

Right now though, I’m off to bed. I need to be on form tomorrow for my trip to Leuven. I’m not looking forward to this.

Monday 13th September 2021 – IT’S A PITY …

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… that my 70-300mm LENS is the longest lens that I have.

Had it been of any greater length it might have picked up some really exciting activity out at the Ile de Chausey over the weekend.

Someone in a zodiac pulled up at a landing stage on the island to drop off some passengers and a speedboat, taking a great deal of exception to someone beating him to the pitch, rammed him – not once, not twice but continually over a period of seven or eight minutes.

They say that the police and the harbour authorities are “very interested” in the affair, and i’m not surprised.

If you are interested, you can see A VIDEO OF SOME OF THE ACTION

There was plenty of action during the night in here as well. I’d borrowed a van to do some removals. I had everything in the van and gone to do this but the place wasn’t ready so I had had to hang on to the van. I was going to do it next morning. The guys whose van it was wanted their van back by 11:00. After much discussion we agreed that someone from their place would come with me early in the morning, we’d unload the van and then he’d drive back the van so that I could go on to work. There were two pints of milk on the table so I said that i’d take one with me as my breakfast but my mother refused and said “no”.

A little later there was something going on about an old Transit van that i’d had for years, like that Sykes Pumps one. The diesel engine had been no good in it. I took the diesel engine out of my old white Transit and put it in. Then I tried to start it and to my surprise it fired up. I remember saying to someone that I’ve had this van for 18 years and it’s the first time that I’ve ever heard it run

Later on again I was working in Manchester. There was a huge office car park and we were parked on there. They were talking to an old manager of Rangers FC about what was going to happen to some buildings just below. He said that they were going to turn them into shops so the discussion went on to parking. Were they going to be parked in our area or not? he said not – they would probably have parking of their own. I went outside the compound and looked back. One of the buildings here was a huge 37-storey building like a space rocket thing. I was working in another one. I was lying down on my back looking at this building and these two girls came past. I said that that was where I worked . They looked at it and asked “what floor?”. I said “the ground floor. They won’t get me working on the 37th floor for any love or money. Just then I heard a load of clanking and it sounded as if the car park was being locked. I had to run back to the car park but I couldn’t get in because the gates were closed. There was a security guard there and he opened the gate for me and let me in. He said “I’ll let you in this time but don’t do it again because you won’t be let in otherwise.

There was some other stuff as well but as you are probably eating your meal right now, I’ll spare you the gory details.

After the medication I made a start on the next radio programme. And despite having to stop for a coffee and for breakfast it was all done and dusted by 11:20. And it’s a pretty good one too. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

While I was listening to it afterwards I was busy sorting through a pile of old photographs and weeding out the duplicates. There’s a couple of GB in there right now and I imagine that as I progress there will be plenty more to go with them.

After lunch I had a shower and then did a pile of tidying up because the nurse was coming around to give me my fortnightly injection.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a week or so ago I had a very lengthy talk with the skipper of Normandy Trader. Amongst other things, he told me some news but asked me no to say anything quite yet.

Anyway, now I’m able to spread the news about. Several weeks ago he saw a sister boat to his own and discovered that it was for sale. He made several enquiries and as a result, this morning the boat passed into his fleet.

At the moment she’s called Brecqhou Warrior but she’s likely to have a name change before she starts work.

lotus place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

Once again I was held up before I’d gone too far, because on the car park is one of the little Lotus Sevens.

At least, it says that it’s a Lotus and while I have no reason to doubt that it is, one has to be very careful about accepting cars like this at face value. There are plenty of kit cars out there that resemble the real thing, and some of them are very good indeed.

There are several cases of people having been “taken in” by faithful replicas. It’s very hard to tell some of them apart.

red autogyro place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021esterday, I couldn’t even get out of the door without being overflown by the red autogyro.

This afternoon I should have delayed my walk by about 30 seconds because then exactly the same thing happened. As I was looking at the Lotus, the autogyro came out from behind the College Malraux.

It rattled past overhead, the pilot and his passenger, and disappeared off towards the airfield where presumably it went in to land.

There were several other aeroplanes that went past, light aircraft or full-size commercial aircrat but they were all too far out in the bay or too high up for me to photograph them with any clarity.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Having dealt with all of that, I went over to the wall to look down at the beack to see who was about.

The tide is now well in so there isn’t much beach down there right now but there were still quite a few people down there.

And who can blame them? It was a really nice afternoon with plenty of sun and not a lot of wind. An ideal time to be down there.

There wasn’t anything going on out at sea this afternoon which was quite a surprise, so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs.

One of the sparrowhawks was there looking for food but he wouldn’t keep still long enough for me to take a photo of it, so carried on through the crowds of people.

man on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Across the lawn and across the car park, I went down to see what was going on there.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single boat of any description that I could see out there this afternoon. The only sign of any life was this guy down there sitting on the bench in front of the Cabanon Vauban.

And wherever he has come from, it’s been a hot and difficult walk judging by the sweat stain on his back.

So with nothing to see out at sea, I cleared off along the path towards the port.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There was no change of occupant today at the chantier naval so I looked over towards the ferry terminal to see what was going on there.

Moored up there at the walkway was one of the Joly France ferries that run over to the Ile de Chausey.

This one has the larger upper deck superstructure, no step at the stern and windows in “landscape” format, so she’s the older of the two near-identical boats.

The red crane on the quayside was working although I couldn’t see what it was going to lift, but there was certainly something going on over there with the boat.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021In front of her was the other one of the Joly France boats.

We can see by the smaller upper-deck superstructure and the windows in “portrait” format that she’s the newer one of the two.

And if we could see her stern clearly, we would see a step in it as well.

All that remains to be found now is the brand new Belle France. She must be over at the Ile de Chausey hoping to catch a bit more of the aquatic demolition derby. They could sell tickets for an event like that.

refrigerated lorries fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Not many fishing boats in port this afternoon and I’ve no idea where they all are because I couldn’t see them out at sea.

But they are obvously out there working somewhere because there’s one refrigerated lorry already at the fish processing plant and another one reversing into position.

And this is what makes a mockery of the UK Government’s plans to simplify the HGV driving tests and eliminate the reversing requirement. There’s only one way for an articulated lorry to park in a loading bay, and that’s backwards.

It’ll be extremely interesting when I newly-qualified driver has to reverse up to a loading bay between several other lorries.

Back here I had my banana smoothie and then made a start on my Welsh homework but at 17:00 I had to go upstairs to speak to a neighbour. I have several cunning plans going on around in my head right now, and one of them has something to do with this building.

Tea was another one of these curries made with everything that was lingering in the fridge – well, almost everything because having forgotten the diced peppers yesterday, I forgot them today as well.

Tomorrow I have my lung examination early on, and then my Welsh lesson. There’s my homework to finish too. And then Wednesday i’m off to Leuven. It’s all go here, and I can’t keep up with it.

Sunday 12th September 2021 – I KNOW THAT YOU …

… have been sitting on the edge of your seats, gripping tightly with eager anticipation waiting for me to tell you what was going on under the marquees that we saw yesterday.

And so this afternoon on my walk around the headland I went for a closer look, only to find that like Longfellow’s “humbler poets”, they have folded “their tents, like the Arabs, and as silently steal away”.

Gone! And never called me “mother”!

hang glider touches down pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Someone who was not as fortunate as to “steal silently away” was one of the Birdmen of Alcatraz

As I was walking on the path around the headland this afternoon, I was there to actually watch him come to grief as his Nazgul ran out of wind near the lighthouse and he silently descended to earth.

He wasn’t able to relaunch himself either in the time that it took me to walk up there. It seemed that his guy wires had become tangled and he was busy trying to untangle them. Whether he did so or not I don’t know

hang glider overhead pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021His colleagues, however, were having no such difficulty.

All through the afternoon they were whizzing by overhead without the slightest hint of a problem, just like the one overhead right now. It was just the other one who was having issues with the wind and his Nazgul.

The problems that I was having this morning though were of another kind. Like not being able to have a decent sleep for one reason or other. Most of the night was spent tossing and turning in bed.

With having problems sleeping, I was up and about by 09:30 which is quite early for a Sunday. I even had a slice of fruit loaf for breakfast after my medication.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too. I don’t remember much about this first bit except that there was a mother and a young daughter who had gone off somewhere to the seaside. Something happened and the mother was on her own. Someone said something to her like “if you think that that is bad you should see the antics that your daughter is getting up to”. I don’t remember any more about this, but what was interesting was just before I went to bed a few of us were chatting on the internet about exactly this subject – a mother and daughter who we all knew (well, we knew the mother anyway) who had gone to Llandudno for the weekend.

Later on there was some kind of walk doing on from Paris where everyone was walking different points of the compass. I was walking out to the west so I set out and was loading loads of diesel into one of the Mk111 Cortinas. It was really thirsty and really drinking it. I don’t know what was the matter and neither did anyone else. I thought “this isn’t going to be any good” so I set off and walked all the way outside Paris into the countryside. The first night was going to be spent at my house. I’d just moved house into a new modern house and none of my furniture would fit. It was all thrown in everywhere, paper all over the floor and it was really untidy. I thought that I was going to have to sort all of this out again. I set out on the second day and ended up losing everyone. I was on my own walking and night was falling. I walked down a hill where these roadmen were fitting all these cobbles. They were talking about what a good job they were doing compared to the one done underneath where they were working. Eventually I found my friends, all asleep and getting ready to awaken for the next day’s walk. As for the house I’d only just arrived. I was tired, everything like that and I really didn’t fancy going back out straight away to carry on this walk without having had a sleep.

The next plan was to do a little (only a little) tidying up as I was expecting company. And once the place was looking a little more respectable I spent the rest of the time, would you believe, editing the photos from Greenland in August 2019.

Yes, I’ve started on the outstanding arrears again, after all this time.

After lunch my invitee came round and we had a very interesting chat about my project for the radio. He seems to be quite enthusiastic about the idea and so when we have our next quarterly meeting (sometime round about the end of September) we’ll discuss it with the others and see what they can come up with.

red autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021After he left, it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

And I hadn’t even left the building when I was interrupted by the noise of something going by overhead.

It’s our old friend the red autogyro that has been for an afternoon out over the bay to have a good look around, taking a passenger with him.

One of these days I’ll have to blag myself a ride on it, or on the yellow autogyro that we see quite regularly too. I bet that the view from 500 feet is pretty spectacular. It looked pretty good from 25,000 feet when I flew overhead on a scheduled flight a few years ago.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So, without any further ado, I wandered off to have a look at the beach to see who was about.

The tide was well out this afternoon so there was quite a lot of beach to be on. Crowds and crowds of them.

Quite a few in the water as well, and why not? Beautiful blue skies and beautiful blue waster – it was a gorgeous day today with not a great deal of wind about (as our friend the Birdman of Alcatraz whom we met earlier will testify.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So that was the situation lower down on the beach at the water’s edge. What about the situation higher up?

Round by the steps that lead down from the Rue du Nord there were quite literally dozens of people, nestled in their own little nook and cranny in the cliffs out of the wind. A perfect sun-trap.

It actually made me quite envious and I felt like going down there to join them. But the trouble is that I doubt that I could climb back up the steps afterwards when it was time to come home.

repairing medieval stone wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From here, there was a pretty good view of the work that they were doing on the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

They have made some progress at what they have already done so far, but I was more interested in what they were doing with the scaffolding.

It’s not a true “flying scaffolding” because you can see that in places is actually anchored to the ground but it’s still going to be a work of art.

The green railings that you see are those that go around the gate in the walle and on the left of the image you can see the path that leads down from the gate and underneath the walls.

la cancalaise english channel France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I’d been looking around at the beach, I’d also been looking out to sea as well.

There was almost nothing out at sea this afternoon, not even any fishermen, except for this familiar shape out there all alone in the English Channel.

With masts and sails like that, it can only be either La Granvillaise or La Cancalaise and my money is on the latter seeing as she’s right out there in between the Ile de Chausey and the Pointe de Grouin and heading towards land.

st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021The view out to sea today was absolutely excellent and you could see for miles.

Even the houses on Jersey were visible with the naked eye, and with the NIKON D500 and 70-300mm LENS they really came out very well.

But despite how clear they might be, I can still only recognise a couple of them from here. But not to worry, I have a cunning plan to deal with that issue which will be put into operation in early course (I hope) if things go according to plan.

n81fm Mooney M20R Ovation - M20P pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was walking along the path towards the lighthouse and the grounded Nazgul, a, aeroplane went by out in the bay.

She’s one whom we haven’t seen before as far as I can tell. She’s a Mooney M20R Ovation – M20P carrying the registration N-81FM which, if my memory serves me correctly, is a British registration number. So what she’s doing here I don’t know.

She arrived at Granville this morning at 11:49 having been picked up by radar at Etampes at 10:22. When she took off from Granville she stayed pretty low because it wasn’t until 16:46 that she appeared on the radar, somewhere near Flers. And she disappeared off the radar near Etampes at 17:33.

And how I wish that these planes would file flight plans.

Apart from the Birdman of Alcatraz there was nothing else happening along the path so I cleared off across the lawn and the car park.

helicopter baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I did so, something else went buzzing by overhead.

Someone has had his chopper out this afternoon and it went flying by overhead. With it being silhouetted against the sun it was very difficult to see what colour it was but I think that I could see red and yellow paintwork on the fuselage.

That seems to indicate that it might be the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter that is based out near Donville les Bains.

There wasn’t anything happening out there in the bay this afternoon either. So rather disappointingly I fought my way through the crowds (yes, there were crowds) and went down the path on the other side.

tidal creek port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Here’s something that i’ve never seen before, and i’ve no idea why.

This is exactly what a “tidal creek” would look like on some mudflats somewhere in a tidal estuary and while there are one or two little water courses around the harbour area, there isn’t one just here

So I’m totally bewildered as to how come this has suddenly appeared this afternoon, and what has caused it. It’s almost as if an earthquake has occurred.

No change in occupancy at the chantier naval today, so I came on home for my banana smoothie.

This morning I’d taken one of the frozen pizza doughs out of the freezer and it had been defrosting.

Once it had warmed up I kneaded it, rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray to proof for a while.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When it had risen sufficiently I assembled my pizza and put it in the oven to bake.

And here’s the finished product. It really does look nice and it tasted even better. And it would have been even better still had I remembered to put the diced peppers on it as well.

So that’s the end of my weekend. rather a productive one too. I’ve no idea why but it seems that the for the last few days I’ve been feeling more like my old self.

Of course, one swallow doesn’t make a summer as we all know, so I don’t want to start crowing too soon, but with another injection due tomorrow, I might actually be feeling more like going to leuven on Wednesday than I have done just recently.

But I’ll let you know more about that tomorrow because I’m off to bed. I have a radio show to prepare in the morning too.

Saturday 11th September 2021 – IT’S BEEN ONE …

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… of those days where anyone who can possible get out to sea had been out there today.

We started off today with Marité having a really good sail around the Baie de Granville, in company with a pile of other yachts, some of which you can see in this photograph.

She was quite far out at sea this morning and I didn’t really have the time to wait for her to come back closer to the shore. But never mind. Read on …

armorique english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further out there in the bay, right out beyond Jersey, is another ship – a huge one this time.

At first I thought that it might be the high-speed Condor Voyager, which I know to to be out there somewhere, but then I had another think.

Another car ferry, a full-size one, left St Malo about 100 minutes ago and on blowing up my image (which I can do, despite modern terrorist legislation) she has a superstructure that is much more like a full-size ship.

And when I saw that the ship was the Brittany Ferries’ Armorica and compared a shot of her stern with my photo, then I’m now pretty certain that that’s who she is.

commodore goodwill english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There’s another large ship heading the other way, towards St Malo.

Just one quick glance at her was enough to tell me exactly who she is, without even checking the radar or the port arrivals.

Her colour scheme is that of Condor Ferries and so she must be Commodore Goodwill, their big ferry that takes cars and commercial freight between the UK, the Channel Islands and St Malo

In fact, I did check, and she did arrive in St Malo about 50 minutes after I took this photo.

la cancalaise english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Also out there this morning on the right of this image is a ship with a very familiar set of masts and rigging.

At first glance you might be forgiven that she is La Granvillaise but actually, it isn’t.

She actually has a sister boat, a near-identical twin that operates from Cancale on the other side of the bay and is called, surprisingly enough, La Cancalaise, and that’s who she is. I’m pretty certain of that.

As for who the other one is, she could be any one of a couple of hundred yachts that were out there early this morning.

We haven’t finished yet with the maritime activities, but I thought that I would give you all a break from the excitement and give you a chance to recover your breath.

When the alarm went off this morning, I was actually already awake. I’d awoken blot-upright for some unknown reason at 05:47 and there isn’t really much point in going back to sleep then.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. In fact I had been on a bus. I had to go and pick up my youngest sister from School. She was at a school called Pebble Brook which was in Shavington (which of course it isn’t). I had to catch the bus and I asked for Dodd’s Bank. The bus drove into Shavington and went clean past Dodd’s Bank so I had to press the button myself and have it stop. The conductor asked “how pressed the button?” I replied “I did. I should have alighted at Dodd’s Bank”. He asked where I was going and I replied “the Primary School”. He chuntered a bit but anyway I alighted, walked through the track alongside the brook and ended up at school. All the kids were milling around and I could see her there, except that she was more like Roxanne by now. I took her by the hand and we set off. I asked her if she had ever been to see any of the houses where we lived when we were kids. She replied “no. Where are they?”. I said “we’re here” because 61 Osbourne Grove is just around the corner from the school. I showed her that house. of course it’s nothing like the heap that it was when we lived there. It’s all been modernised and 2 houses have been knocked into 1. The people inside could hear me talking about what it was like but they never came out which was a shame so we set off to go round the corner and down the street to Vine Tree avenue.

While I was at it, with not going to the shops today I had a couple of hours to spare so I paired off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be doing on Monday. I may as well get ahead of myself just for a very rare change and it will give me some free time on Sunday.

Then there was some tidying up to do because I was going to have visitors. and sure enough, Liz and Terry came round. Terry gave me back my 3/4″ drive heavy duty ratchet and socket set, and I gave him back his computer that I’d been fixing.

Liz gave me a few old towels that she was planning to throw away. I have nothing here for mopping up heavy spillages, protecting surfaces or anything like that and half a dozen decrepit towels are ideal for this kind of thing.

A coffee at La Rafale was next on the agenda so we headed off out that way, checking out the ships in the Baie de Granville as we went past the viewpoint.

diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021After our coffee we went for a good walk around the old medieval walls.

Regular readers of this rubbish will be interested in the photo just here because if you compare it with THIS ONE taken from the same viewpoint yesterday, this will give you a really good idea of how high the tide is when it’s right in.

You can just about make out the crown of the diving platform, and even a seagull that is photobombing me.

marite baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned Marité, about how she was quite far out in the bay, and I told you to “read on”.

We’d spent quite a time in La Rafale and on our walk but even so, It was quite a surprise to see Marité just here in front of us as we came round the corner.

She’s done her morning lap around the Baie de Granville and it now looks as if she’s going to be doing a lap around the Baie de Mont St Michel before coming back home before the harbour gates close.

charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And we haven’t finished yet either.

There was another boat that seemed to be doing a lap or two around the inner harbour with a load of passengers.

She’s the Charles-Marie of course and this is one of the very rare occasions when we’ve actually seen her with her sails unfurled.

When we returned to the apartment Liz and Terry went to their car and headed off into the sunset – well, not exactly the sunset but you know what I mean – and I came in here because it was almost lunchtime and my nice fresh bread awaited.

After lunch, I had a couple of other things to do, such as carrying on sorting some images – a project that I started ages ago when I merged together all of my hard drives into one large one.

What had restarted my enthusiasm (such as it is) for this particular project was the other day when I spent half a day looking for a couple of photographs and couldn’t find them. I decided that I ought to be more organised and not let things drift as I seem to be doing right now.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This took me up tp the time to go on my afternoon walk around the headland, and as usual, the first port of call was the beach.

Looking over the wall at the end of the car park I could see that there was plenty of beach to be on, and there were plenty of people making the most of it.

There were even a few people who had taken to the water, which was no surprise because although it had been quite cool this morning, as the day went on it warmed up quite dramatically and after the miserable summer that we had, it looks as if it’s going to be unseasonably warm for a while.

powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out with Liz and Terry this morning there had been quite a lot of aerial traffic. Ordinarily I would have photographed some of it but you can’t really do things like that in company.

One of the aircraft that had gone by overhead was the red powered hang-glider, and I was lucky while I was out this afternoon because as I was watching the beach she came by again.

This time of course there were no hang-ups, if you pardon the expression, and I could take quite a nice photo of her as she roared by over my head. Unfortunately, from this position I couldn’t see who was in her.

50sa aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021and that was by no means all of the aerial activity. There was plenty more to go at yet.

Something else that went by overhead almost immediately was one of the little aeroplanes that seem to have a serial number range all of their own that I have yet to decipher.

This one is 50SA, whatever or whoever she might be. I keep on meaning to go one of these days over to the airfield and have a good look around, make a few suitable enquiries and maybe even blag myself a flight in the yellow autogyro. Who knows?

hang gliders pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And had I been out a few minutes earlier, I might even have witnessed some more aerial activity too.

But when I arrived at the lawn by the lighthouse at the Pointe du Roc, I could see that a couple of the Birdmen of Alcatraz had come to grief. It looks as if their Nazguls have given up the ghost, the wind has dropped or else Legolas has shot them down with his arrow in the dark.

Now, the riders are lounging around presumably waiting for someone with a car to come and rescue them from their peril and take them back home.

la cancalaise english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But for the last few minutes I’ve been digressing.

While I was watching the beach and watching the air, my third eye was casting around out at sea to see if there was anything exciting going on out there.

Earlier this morning, I posted a photo of La Cancalaise out there in the English Channel. And when I went out for my afternoon walk I noticed that she was still out there, with a couple of smaller boats to keep her company.

It would seem that they don’t have the same issues with the tides at Cancale as we do here

fishermen in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It goes without saying that if there is going to be all this much marine activity, there are bound to be some fishermen somewhere.

What was surprising though was that despite the dozens of boats milling around, there was only this zodiac that looked as it it had any fishermen in it.

So I left them to it and pushed off on the path along the clifftop past the downed Nazguls and across the car park to see what was happening out in the bay.

To my surprise, the answer was “nothing”. It looked as if the crowds that we had seen out there this morning had all gone home. No point in my loitering around. I’ll head for my home too.

saint andrews catherine philippe l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The path along the top of the cliff on the far side of the headland takes me past the viewpoint overlooking the outer harbour.

From here, there’s a really good view down into the chantier naval and I was right yesterday when I thought that I could only make out four boats down there.

We have the blue and black one whose name I haven’t yet discovered, and facing her is Saint Andrews. The white blue and red one is Catherine Philippe and to her right is the shellfishing boat L’Omerta .

Nothing else has come in this morning to fill the empty places.

stalls and marquees parking boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the car park at the Boulevard Vaufleury are a pile of marquees and the like.

Ordinarily I would have gone for a nosey about to see what was happening but it’s a sign of how ill I am that I couldn’t face the extra few hundred yards to go and check.

What I’ll do is to go home now, and if they are still there tomorrow I can give them the once-over without having to take too much of a diversion.

But these health issues are really depressing me and no mistake.

Back here there was football on the internet and for once, the broadcasters had picked a match of two teams that are down at the wrong end of the table, Aberystwyth Town versus Cardiff Metropolitan.

Despite the lack of skill compared to the more successful clubs this was an exciting match as the action raged from one penalty area to the other. Aberystwyth played soe really attractive football but the Met were more direct and began to take control the longer the gamae went on.

They were unlucky to find Aberystwyth’s goalkeeper, the Slovenian Under-21 International Gregor Zabret, in stunning form and he kept them out right until the end when a wicked deflection off one of his own defenders sent him the wrong way.

Aberystwyth are now third-bottom in the table but surely, on this performance, they’ll finish higher up the table than this.

Tomorrow is Sunday, and that means a lie-in. I have more visitors in the afternoon so I want to be at my best and maybe even tidy the apartment a little. It does need it.

Friday 10th September 2021 – ON WEDNESDAY …

digging trench laying drains rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021 … we took a little trip to see the roadworks that were going on in the Rue du Boscq.

On the way back home from the physiotherapist I came back that way to see how they were doing and they seem to have made a great amount of progress in just 48 hours.

They’ve already started to dig the trench that looks as if it will be going the length of the street and they are laying the drainage pipes in there already. They certainly seem to be advancing a lot quicker than those workmen did in Leuven when they were doing a similar job that took 18 months and more.

lorry load of gravel on old railway line parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021What had excited my curiosity was that a heavy lorry was going down the track bed of the old railway line towards the road works.

He had a trailer that was quite heavily loaded with gravel, and so that gave me some kind of indication that the work was progressing rapidly. They wouldn’t be bringing in the gravel to leave lying around for 12 months or so.

And it was interesting to see that the old track bed was being put to good use as well, even if it won’t ever be a railway line as well. A sign of the times, maybe?

notification of works rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Something else that has appeared since we were here on Wednesday is a noticeboard at the town end of the work setting out the plans.

So we are going to have a cycle path, some car parking, piles of trees (at last), a real footpath and 2 viewpoints, presumably up on top in the Avenue de la Gare where one may look down on the scene.

There don’t seem to be any plans for a lift though to take you up to the station instead of having to negotiate these awful steps.

It’s going to cost pretty much €2,000,000 and I hope that they have their money’s worth out of it.

having fun with signs parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Talking of “these awful steps”, these are the ones that I mean.

Trying to walk up here with a suitcase in the pitch-black in the middle of winter is a nightmare. Since I tried it once like that, I’ve been going up the Rue Couraye instead.

There was a pile of builders’ material that had been dropped here and it looks as if someone has been having a great amount of fun playing around with the road signs. Still, it keeps them out of mischief.

By the looks of things, I didn’t get into much of a way of mischief during the night. There was nothing whatever recorded on the dictaphone. I didn’t sleep right through though – I had a miserable, uncomfortable night tossing and turning in bed for much of it. I was exhausted when the alarm went off.

home made bread fruit bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021After the medication there was the bread-making to be done.

There was no ordinary bread left, and only a very small amount of fruit bread so I decided to make both lots seeing as I had the oven on.

Having had one or two failures with my fruit bread just recently through having tried a new method, I decided on a kind-of hybrid method and that actually looks quite a nice loaf.

After I’ve tried some tomorrow, I’ll tell you what it’s like but I do know that the ordinary loaf is excellent.

Having made the dough I went to have a shower to make myself smell nice and it was just as well that I did because the nurse came earlier than expected.

He had all kinds of trouble trying to find a vein from which to take the blood, but not half as much trouble as some of those butchers in Montlucon did.

Once he had departed I could have my coffee and the last of the old fruit bread, and then make a start. First task was to deal with the dictaphone arrears and now every one of those has been transcribed. Another good job done.

The next task was to deal with an outstanding h=journal entry from THE END OF AUGUST. by the end of the day that was finished and as from tomorrow I can turn my attention back to the 2019 photos and the trip to the Ile de Chausey.

As for updating the journal with the details of the night’s travels for the three weeks or so that I let things lapse, I’ll just do a couple a day.

There were the usual breaks, one for lunch and another one to go to see the physiotherapist.

ferry to ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way out, I went via the old medieval walls.

And from the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I could see way out to sea and there was something of a reasonable size heading out towards the Ile de Chausey.

Without any doubt at all, it was one of the ferries going that way so I photographed it in the hope that back here later I could see who it was.

It wasn’t easy, but I could see that she had no step in the stern and had a more angular that streamlined shape so I think that she may well be the elder of the two Joly France boats.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One of the features that seems to run through these pages is the sad state of the medieval walls.

The area round by the Place du Marché aux Chevaux was closed off about a year or so ago and when I was round this way a couple of months ago they had made a start on repairing them.

Just recently however, they seem to have made rapid progress and while the actual repointing hasn’t progessed that much on the outisde of the walls, we now have a huge scaffolding that is in the course of being erected just there.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021What caught my eye were the huge water tanks that are on the scaffolding there.

With 1,000 litres of water in each of them, each one will weigh a metric tonne. So judging by the way that the scaffolding is being erecting, it looks as if they are going to be erecting a “flying scaffolding” over the walls and the water tanks are being used as a counterweight.

This is going to become quite interesting and one of these days at low tide, I’ll go down onto the beach and have a good look from underneath at what they are doing.

female underwater swimmer rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was looking around at the scaffolding I was also having a look around on the beach as well.

Emerging from the water down there just like Ursula Andress in DR NO was another one of these underwater swimmers, complete with snorkel and flippers.

Whatever it is that they are doing, I still haven’t managed to find out. It can’t be anything special because where they are swimming is uncovered at low tide. It must be some kind of training exercise, that’s all that I can think of.

beach swimming pool diving platform promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A view that we haven’t seen properly, with not having come this way for a while, is the view down to the Plat Gousset.

First thing that I noticed was that it it still seems to be the summer season as far as the local Council is concerned. The beach huts are still there and the diving platform is still on its pillar.

These are all removed into storage at the end of the season. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen the power in the storms that crash down there during the winter. The storms will make a considerable mess of those cabins if they were to remain there during the winter.

There are some steps at the end of the path that go down to the Place Marechal Foch. I went down that way and headed off through the town centre.

delivery van unloading rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Another thing that regular readers of thids rubbish will recall is that bad parking is another regular feature of these pages.

Delivery vans these days are everywhere these days and they park anywhere they like. But if you have a look at this photo very carefully, you’ll see that there’s an empty parking space just to his left,.

Rather than waste 10 seconds of his own by manoeuvring into it, he proceeds to waste about 5 minutes of the time of 20 other motorists stuck in the queue behind him.

This is the kind of thing that brings these delivery drivers into disrepute, and it’s hardly any surprise that people have such a low opinion of them.

At the physiotherapist’s, he put me through my paces on his tilting platform. He gave me a pile of new exercises to do, with the result that just about every joint in my body, except the right knee, which is why I’d gone there for treatment in the first place.

flowers dying avenue de la gare Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, I went down the Avenue de la Gare to look at those flowers that we saw last week.

Whatever was happening to them has obviously happened very quickly because most of the flowers seem to have died in that very short space of time.

And there were no more than a handful of butterflies compared to the other day.

Down the steps I went to the Parc du val es Fleurs to check on the roadworks, and then went to the Carrefour for some fruit, seeing as I won’t be going shopping tomorrow.

empty quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It’s amazing the difference that a couple of kilos of fruit make. It was quite a struggle to climb back up the Rue des Juifs

At the viewpoint overlooking the harbour I could see that the pile of freight that had been visible on the quayside yesterday afternoon has now disappeared.

Checking the comings and goings in he port on the radar later, I could see that Normandy Trader arrived in port at 09:10 and left again at 11:13. That is what I call a quick turn-round. I can’t keep up with all if this.

trawler aground in naabsa position port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Yet another subject that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that of fishing vessels which, instead of going into the inner harbour, are left outside in the outer tidal harbour to simply settle down in the silt.

The technical name for this is NAABSA, i.e. Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground, and it seems to be happening more and more frequently these days. We’ve seen this vessel a couple of times now moored up against the sea wall near the entrance to the harbour.

When I first came to live here we would only very seldomly see one, but these days it seems to be a couple of times a week. There must be something going on about the mooring in the inner harbour and I wish that I knew what it was.

trawler saint andrews catherine philippe l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There’s plenty going on over at the chantier naval today though.

By the looks of things, there has been a big clear-out of ships that were in there. Of the seven that we have seen over the lst couple of weeks, we now seem to be down to just four.

The ones that remain, by the looks of things, from left to right, are Saint Andrews, the unidentified one, Catherine Philippe and L’Omerta. Back into the water today have gone Yann Frederic, Peccavi and Massabielle.

The next question that needs to be asked is “who is going to come in to take their place?”. There’s a very high turnover of boats in there these days and those places won’t be remaining empty for long.

tank cleaner porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021from the viewpoint over the harbour I headed off for home.

We have another lorry parked up by the Porte St Jean that can’t fit under the arch. It’s not a question of a trans-shipment today. That’s a tank cleaner or drain unblocker.

Someone must have a problem with the drains and so there’s about half a mile of pipework running into the old town as the driver tries to blast it away. There’s no end of inconvenience that you encounter when you are living within the walls.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Before I went home, I went to have a good look down on the beach as usual.

The tide is well out but there weren’t too many people down there. It was rather cool and windy compared to how it has been and that might explain it.

There did seem to be a few people in the water too, although I don’t know why because it’s not really swimming weather. Anyway, I left them to it and came back here for my banana smoothie and a little rest.

As it happened, it was more than a little rest too. Probably about an hour’s deep sleep, in fact. And it’s no surprise because I’d worked hard at the physiotherapist’s and then i’d had the long walk home up the hill.

Tea was a burger on a bap with a baked potato and veg. No pudding still, but it doesn’t seem to be working because not only did I put that 100 grammes back on, I added another 100 grammes to it as well.

But right now i’m off to bed. I have visitors tomorrow morning and I want to be on form.

Thursday 9th September 2021 – HAVE A LOOK …

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… at this photo of Le Loup, the marker light at the entrance to the port here.

And then, have a look at THIS ONE that I took two days ago when I was out on my rounds.

Can you see the difference? It’s pretty impressive, isn’t it? Not for nothing do I say that right outside my front door are some of the highest tides in Europe –
“Here’s €5:00”
“Right outside my front door are some of the highest tides in Europe”.

It’s no surprise that we can have ships the size of the gravel boats coming into the harbour when they did, with that depth of water underneath them.

photo in doctors surgery Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And here’s another photo – one that has an interesting story behind it.

My social networking site is pretty much flooded with adverts these day – as if the owners don’t already have enough money. I only have to mention something, no matter how indirectly, and I’m immediately swamped with adverts about it.

Photography is one of the things that features quite a lot on my pages and so I’m swamped with photography adverts. One of them that features more than most is an advert for a piece of post-processing software, and I was convinced that I’d previously seen the photograph somewhere else.

Sure enough, there stuck up on the wall at the doctor’s surgery is exactly the same photo, only with text and graphics added. I was planning on doing a screenshot of the advert so that you could compare the two, but of course, today is the first day for about a Century when it hasn’t appeared.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself once more. Let’s start at the very beginning.

When the alarm went off, I fell out of bed again and staggered into the kitchen. Although the night hadn’t been all that late, it certainly felt like it.

Back in here after the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d caught Covid last night, and so had a few people. I was somewhere in Stoke on Trent and somehow it had come amongst us. I wasn’t feeling particularly too bad so I was still working. A former friend of mine who features occasionally in some of my voyages featured in this one too and he was talking about getting a shop somewhere on one of these shopping estates on a council estate somewhere where they did wi-fi and something like that that he could do. He had spoken to a couple of people about doing different things with it but it was never going to be serious. He was wondering about what phones you sold, who you sell them to and what programs you put on them, all that kind of thing. It carried on from there but I awoke in a sweat and half the stuff that I had dreamt had disappeared.

Somewhere along the line I was on a bus trip with a group of young guys. I don’t remember very much about this at all.

Later on it was another one of these “I was leaving work” dreams. I’d had a pile of boxes delivered to me. My brother was there. He said “at least this one here we ought to be dealing with before I left. So we opened it and there were tins of food in to, small fish like anchovies and a few tins of picked onions, olives and whatever. I asked him to open the tins and we’ll set them out to make some kind of buffet. Every time ha opened a tin we has helping himself to some stuff so I smacked him on the hand and took the tins away from him and had a word with him about it. A couple of minutes later some army colonel or someone came past. He started to take a lump of pie crust so I slapped him on the hand and said something about people pinching all of this food before we’ve even set it out so he went to take an olive so I gave him a resounding smack across the hand even though he was a colonel. This smack echoed around just about everywhere it was so hard.

But as I mentioned the other day, I’m having a lot of night sweats just recently. It’s something about which they always ask me at the hospital and I keep a kind-of informal note to remind myself for when they ask.

There was also time to wade into the pile of arrears and now there are only two left. That’s tomorrow morning’s task, I reckon, in between making the bread for lunch as I have now run out.

joly france belle france fishing boat ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When it was time, I headed off out to the doctor’s for my appointment.

Of course, I took the camera with me, which was just as well because over at the ferry terminal this morning we have a “full house” of Ile de Chausey ferries.

From left to right, we have the newer of the two Joly France boats, in the centre is the brand-new Belle France and to the right, we have the older Joly France boat. You can tell the difference between them when they are together like this.

It looks as if they are going to be having a very busy day if they are all over there like that.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And it looks as if we have a full house too!

Here in the inner harbour tied up to the harbour pontoon is the little Ile de Chausey freighter Chausiaise. It seems that whatever plans that they have for today, the plans don’t include her.

My plans though are to go down to the doctor’s for my appointment. Whose silly idea was it foe me to have a doctor’s appointment for 08:30?

At the doctor’s I saw the photo that I mentioned earlier, and we had quite a lengthy chat about things.

He thinks that I have a heart issue, which accords with what the hospital has told me. But while the hospital is content to sit back and let things develop, he’s going to try to fit me in with a heart specialist as soon as he can.

He is also interested in my lungs too, and reckons that I ought to go for a pulmonary X-ray. He’s given me a prescription.

And then there’s a full and complete blood test (which should be interesting as the laboratory here always seems to come up with figures different to those of Leuven). The nurse is coming to do that tomorrow morning early.

The bad news though is that despite everything, he’s told me that this illness has some kind of cumulative effect. So once I start to struggle, the more tired I become and it makes me struggle to keep going so that wears me out even more and it’s a downward-spiralling effect.

This illness was diagnosed in November 2015 although I reckon that I had it for a while before then. People have died of this illness long before 6 or so years of suffering, so I suppose that I’m well ahead of the game. I’m just going to do my best to get further ahead.

It reminds me about the German Emperor, was it one of the Frederick Williams, who was complaining to his doctor about the treatment he was receiving.
“I can’t make you any younger” said the doctor.
“I don’t want you to” replied the Emperor, “as long as you succeed in making me older”.

Down at the chemist’s, I was staggered by the price of the injections. The next four cost e210:00 in total.

And we hit an unexpected snag too. This is a “special request” medication that can’t be prescribed by a GP – only by a specialist. I need my prescription from the hospital, which I didn’t have with me. And as it’s a foreign hospital in a foreign language, it wouldn’t be acceptable.

However, there is always a work-around. I’m a private patient with a private health insurance from my former employers, not from the State, so it doesn’t go through the State system. My prescription from the hospital will do and she’ll let the supplier worry about it.

On the way back home I bumped into a neighbour so we had a chat and then I came home for my coffee. I needed it.

Back here I set to work on the radio programme that I’m planning for the end of the year. Much as it is regrettable, I don’t want to do the interviews myself because it’ll end up as being perceived as “whining Brits” and that’s exactly what I want to avoid.

Someone else who works at the radio is quite amenable and I get on well with him so we had an internet chat throughout the morning about my plans and eventually we arranged to meet on Sunday afternoon.

What was this about “never working on a Sunday?”.

But to be serious, I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday and if I don’t set things in motion before I go, I’m going to be missing out on a whole week and maybe more, and I don’t have the time to waste.

While I was at it, I paid the motor insurance on Strider. I went a whole year last year without even seeing him, never mind driving him, because I couldn’t get to Canada. It’s probably going to be the same this year too but it can’t be helped.

After all that, I crashed out in my chair until lunchtime. It’s just amazing how tired you can become.

After lunch I had another go at some of the arrears and a journal entry from last week that was left unfinished is now on line. Not only that, I’m well on the way to catching up with another one too. I suppose that I’ll be up-to-date just in time to go off to Leuven and create yet more arrears.

Just wait until I have to add back about three weeks’ worth of nocturnal voyages.

chantier naval port de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021by now it was time for me to head off to the chemists to pick up my injections, taking the original prescription with me.

It struck me as I was going around the corner that we haven’t had a view of the chantier naval from this viewpoint for quite a while so seeing as I had the big NIKON D500 with me, I put that right.

Still the same seven boats in there from yesterday. There’s no change. Still, you can’t win a coconut every time, can you? Anyway, there’s no room now to fit in anyone extra.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour, I noticed that there’s more activity going on there.

Having seen Thora in port yesterday and take away all of the freight, they are busy now piling up some more. Maybe this means that Normandy Trader will be coming in very soon to take it all away.

Meanwhile, down at the berth usually occupied by Marité, there’s no activity there at all because she’s no longer there. Put to sea as soon as the gates opened earlier, I reckon.

She’s still finding things to do even though the tourists have gone home and people are at work or at school.

Down at the chemist’s they had my products so I picked them up and hurried back here to put them in the fridge. However I bumped into yet another neighbour and I had to spend a couple of minutes being sociable regardless.

trawler baie de mont st michel cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way up the hill in the Rue des Juifs I stopped at the viewpoint to have a little rest and look out at the sea.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a trawler operating deep in the Baie de Mont St Michel. Today, there’s another one working there, but lower down the bay nearer to the sea.

You can see the town of Cancale in the background. It’s looking quite nice this afternoon in the sun, although nowhere near as splendid as it did that morning a few weeks ago when it was all lit up by the sun.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Seeing as I’m out and it’s the right time of the afternoon, I went to have a look at the beach.

The tide is well out by now but there aren’t all that many people down there. I suppose that most people with any time to spare have gone off for a lap around the bay on board Marité.

So I came back inside, put my injections into the fridge and made myself a banana smoothie. Then I came back in here to carry on with the work that I’d been doing before I went out.

Tea tonight was a chick-pea and potato curry with rice. It was quite nice too, although not very spicy. I could have done with some more to liven it up a little.

Now that I’ve finished, I’m off for an early night. I have the nurse coming for my blood test, I have bread to bake, and then in the afternoon I have the physiotherapist.

But I’m impressed that my doctor is taking such an interest in me.

Wednesday 8th September 2021 – I HAVE HAD …

… a nightmare this afternoon after I came home from the physiotherapist – a real nightmare

new fishing boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But more about that anon. Let’s first say “hello” to the New Kid On The Block.

If that boat had been in and around the harbour previously, I would have been sure to have noticed it with its pretty distinctive, if not garish colour scheme.

She seems to be fitted out as an inshore fishing boat, the kind that fishes for shellfish, and she’s local to some extent in that her registration number begins with “CH” indicating that she’s registered in Cherbourg, so she obviously belongs somewhere up the coast here.

She’s not easy to miss so I’ll have to keep my eye open to see if she hangs around for a bit.

Anyway, this morning I didn’t hang around at all. As soon as the alarm went off I fell out of bed and went to take my medication.

Once that was out of the way I finished off the computer that I’d been repairing. While I was writing up my notes last night I was thinking of a way round accessing the files on the old hard drive that was locked in “administrator only” mode and because it was in a caddy, there was no way of entering the admin password.

Well there is, actually, if you think about it and it’s not for nothing that I have 32GB of RAM these days in the big desktop machine. Mind you, I was there until almost 01:00 doing it this morning fighting my way in but by the time that I’d finished everything was now on an external drive.

So this morning it was a case of loading it back up and performing a compare with the directory names. These days Windows writes its own and is no respecter of case so I had to make sure that the names on the external drive corresponded with the names that Windows created, otherwise that would have caused more problems.

Once that was all finally done, I could turn my attention to last night’s voyages. One of our number was due home at about 19:00 from her work in Stockport so about 18:30 mother started to fill the oven and warm it up ready to start cooking and baking the bread. The oven was on and everything was in there but she didn’t show up. We wondered where she’d got to – she’d left no messages or rung any of us to say that she was going to be late. We were puzzled as to where she was. It was getting close to Christmas and we had all of out Christmas shopping to do, all that kind of thing and we couldn’t really afford to be wasting several hours here and there while someone goes off gallivanting and we have work to do. One of the people in this house was a little girl probably about 8 or 9 or something. There was a game on the market, like a multilingual game about being in charge of a fire engine. Part of the publicity was about a house that was burning down. I’d already seen this game once in English but the publicity that we saw just now was being displayed in Welsh. Then she said that she was going to be visiting Aberhonddu and I was impressed that I said that in my sleep rather than the English “Brecon”. I thought that it was strange that I’d heard nothing about that so I asked how she was going. She said that they were going by aeroplane which I thought was a really weird way for a school trip to be setting off like that with schools so strapped for cash.

Another large pile of arrears disappeared too and now there are only 5 of them.

The rest of the morning was spent looking through my collection of photos from 2006-07-08 for 9 or 10 significant ones that currently have a very important meaning. I eventually found them too, after a great deal of difficulty too

After lunch I had a quick shower and then headed out for my physiotherapy.

delivery van transshipping porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Just out at the back here we have yet another delivery that can’t make it through the Porte St Jean into the old walled town.

It’s not for me to say anything … “not that that’s ever stopped you in the past” – ed … but this is a local delivery from a local company, and so I thought that they might be aware of the difficulties of delivering to the old town.

They don’t really need a vehicle of that size to deliver their domestic appliances ao surely a smaller one that can pass underneath the walls would have been a better bet.

peche a pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Out in the Baie de Mont St Michel the tide is well out this afternoon, so we have some people out there at the pêche à pied.

Not that the pêche à pied is anything that interests me over-much but were it to do so, I wouldn’t be doing it just there right at the entrance to the harbour where the boats pass by directly overhead.

What is interesting about this photo is that back in the early part of the year we saw the big earth-moving machines down there digging out the sandbank that forms to the right in the harbour mouth. It didn’t take too long for it to come back again, did it?

thora unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was walking on down the Rue des Juifs I could see a familiar antenna sticking up and visible from above the walls, so I went to the viewpoint overlooking the port for a good look.

Sure enough, our old friend Thora is back in town this afternoon. And a very clean and spruced-up Thora too. When she first came into port a few years ago she was looking beautiful but the weather and the sea had taken a dreadful toll of her.

But now at least on the superstructure above the waterline, she’s looking really tidy with a fresh coat of paint. I wonder if they’ll take her out of the water at some point and paint below the waterline.

unloading vehicles from thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By the time that I arrived at the viewpoint, it looked as if I’d missed the exciting bit.

The big crane was just lifting its jib up and away from the lorry down there, so it looks as if Thora has brought into port that motorhome and trailer that are on the back of the lorry.

It’s quite possible that this has been the repatriation of a broken-down motorhome and the freight and transport charges via St Malo have made them think about another way of bringing it home to France from the Channel Islands.

roadworks diversion rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the port I headed off up the Rue Couraye toward the physiotherapist.

Near the top I stumbled across another diversion in the street. Roadworks in the Rue du Boscq by the looks of things so I shall go that way and check them out on my way home.

At the physiotherapist’s I was put through my paces with a different collection of exercises today. He’s certainly making me work in there and I hope that it’s going to be doing me some good. I need to be much better than this if I want to do any good in the future.

roadworks uprooting railway line rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, I went down to the Rue du Boscq to see what was happening.

To the immediate left where these concrete pipes have been dropped, that was where the old railway line down to the port used to run. They’ve ripped that out as far as down here now by the looks of things.

Then there’s the street itself. The surface has been ripped out and is probably going to be resurfaced in the near future, with new drains (hence the concrete pipes).

Somewhere underneath all of this is a little river that flows down to the port. Wouldn’t it be nice if they were to remove the culverting and open it up. But there’s little chance of that.

uprooting railway line boulevard louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021That photo was taken to the left at the bottom of the hill. This is the photo taken looking to the right.

You can see the railway lines embedded in the road but further on, they’ve been ripped up. This was the part of the line that we saw them dismantling from the other end when we were off on our way to leuven one morning.

It’s really a shame to see the railway pulled out like this. It really marks the end of an era, signifying that the port is no longer important enough to warrant a railway connection. All of the seafood goes by road now, and we’ve seen the refrigerated lorries at the Fish Processing Plant.

It’s not really encouraging when you consider the drive for carbon neutrality.

On the way back to home I dropped into an estate agent’s. There’s a project to convert an old bank building into apartments and the sign has been on there for as long as I’ve been living here. I went to ask what was the latest state of play and, basically, we’re no further on that we were 4.5 years ago at all.

bouchot beds donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The climb back up the hill was a little easier so while I was here I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

There had been a terrific thunderstorm and rainstorm this morning that had soaked everything in sight so even though the storm had long gone, I was surprised to see so many people on the beach as there were.

With the tide being way out right now, the bouchot beds out at Donville are well out of the water. And they stretch for miles too. You can see the tractors and trailers out there harvesting the crop while they are clear of the water.

Back here my problems really began when I returned. I had my banana smoothie and came in here to drink it. Instead I fell asleep for another 90-minute marathon and I could have well-done without this afternoon.

And then disaster struck. All of the cheap seats on the train to Leuven and back have gone – in fact my favourite train, the 7:17 back, is fully booked up and there’s no seat at all. There’s no room at my favourite bolt-hole either so I’ve had to shack up at an Ibis Budget.

That’s not the worst of it either. My credit card isn’t recognised by my card reader – it will only recognise the previous card. But that is blocked of course because the more recent one has replaced it. And then my Belgian Visa Debit card won’t work for some reason either.

In the end I had to pay with my French Mastercard and I’m not at all happy about that. All in all, I’ve had a disaster today as far as all of that goes.

Tea was pasta and a vegan burger and still no dessert (I’ve lost 100 grammes since Monday) so I’ve come back in here to write up my notes and then have an early night. My appointment at the doctor’s is … gulp … 08:30 and I’m not looking forward at all to that. Not at all.

Tuesday 7th September 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… much better and much more productive day today – due almost entirely, I reckon, to the fact that I had a sleep for about 90 minutes or so on my chair this morning not long after I had risen from the dead

As you might expect, it was a struggle to leave the bed this morning when the alarm went off and when I came back in here after the medication, I didn’t do very much in the way of work before I was away with the fairies.

When I finally awoke and came back round into the Land of the Living, I made myself a coffee and then attacked the dictaphone.

Yesterday’s notes were transcribed and went on line, and then I turned my attention to today’s notes.

I’d been on the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR last night and it was our final day out. We’d all been off looking at something and I was wandering around. Suddenly I had this uncomfortable feeling that everyone else had gone. Not to worry, because these were the days when I could run so I set off at a run back to it. Matthew Swann and a few others were there. Yhey were being quite derogatory about it They asked what had happened and I told them that I had fallen asleep. They had a moan and everything like that. I was quite literally leaping over obstructions, scrambling down hills and so on. But it turned out that it was all like giant beds with blankets and sheets on and I was falling down the side of these giant beds and running up the other side of them, hanging on to the sheets and everything as I went over the top. Every now and again I would bump into someone who knew me. They all were wondering what I was doing, whether I was doing something for a bet or a personal achievement. I explained what had happened, and I was wondering what would happen when I would reach the other side of the island. Had all of the boats gone out to the ship and left me right behind? But I awoke in a night sweat, as I have been doing for the past couple of weeks.

Later on there was something about we were driving somewhere in Germany and retracing our steps back the way we had come. It all started to become confusing when we arrived in a big city. There were all these weird blue and white buses and trams driving around and I couldn’t quite follow the signposts for some reason. I wasn’t even sure where I was supposed to be going. After we had driven out of the city and going into the suburbs I suddenly looked over to my right and saw a couple of shops in the distance that were extremely familiar so I turned round and started to head off that way thinking that if I remember them it must have been from when we came in and therefore it’s that road over there that must be the right one out again.

While I was asleep just now I was driving around Montreal with one of my Canadian friends talking to her. She was asking me all kinds of questions about places in Montreal and its vicinity and I knew none of them. I came to the conclusion that I didn’t know Montreal anything like as well as I thought I did. We were discussing dating sites with someone else. he was wondering about their popularity. I said “well sex is the most important part in people’s lives and people just aren’t meeting up as they used to” which he agreed. I went out anyway, going to post a letter and get some food. In the meantime a bus did a U-turn in the road in front of me and clipped a car that was in front. Another vehicle clipped another car somewhere else. I was driving around finding myself in an area that I didn’t really know at all and wasn’t really sure how I was going to find out anything.

Grabbing another mug of coffee, I went for my Welsh lesson and ended up being rather late because the portable computer chose that inconvenient moment to perform an upgrade.

The Welsh lesson passed really well and then after lunch, because I was feeling very lively, I caught up with an outstanding task. A while ago someone gave me a laptop to fit an Solid State Drive in it,seeing as I have a certain little computer program that means that I can do it without going through any complicated back-up procedure.

It took me quite a while because it’s an old steam-driven computer, dating to at least the year 2000 running an underlying DOS operating system so I had to dig deep into my memory from 20-odd years ago.

It works fine now except that I can’t extract the data files from the old drive because this computer doesn’t have a USB 3.0 port so tomorrow, if I’m feeling up to it, I have a cunning plan that I can use to make things work.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This took me right up to the time that I go out for my walk around the headland this afternoon.

Across the car park I went to look out over the wall down onto the beach to seed the crowds of people down there this afternoon. And crowds there were as well today.

Although there are a couple of people wearing swimwear, walking away from the water, there weren’t any people in the water here this afternoon. And this was surprising because this was one of the nicest days that we have had so far this year

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further out along the coast down at the Plat Gousset, there were even more people on the beach.

Quite a few people in the water too, making the most of the opportunity presented to them by the availability of the water in the medieval fish trap.

Way further out on the beach at Donville les Bains, there are dozens of people taking advantage of the sunny afternoon. Of course, you might well expect this now that the children have gone back to school and the holidaymakers have all now gone home.

There was nothing whatever going on out at sea in the Baie de Granville – no kayakers, no frogpersons and not even any fishermen so I had a very lonely trudge around the headland in the heat.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I walked around the corner by the old bunker I could see that out in the Baie de Mont St Michel on the other side of the headland that Le Loup, the marker light on top of the rock at the entrance to harbour, was looking splendid today.

The dark line underneath the lower of the two red lines is where the tide reaches and so it gives you a good idea of how high the tide can be.

Out in the background on the beach at Kairon-Plage in between St Pair sur Mer and Jullouville, there seem to be hordes of people this afternoon. More than I would expect so I wonder what is happening there today.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned that there were no fishermen out in the Baie de Granville.

On this side of the headland however there were plenty of people down on the rocks having something of a scavenge about.

With the tide being so far out this afternoon the public part of the foreshore down there is now uncovered so they can have a good forage for the shellfish and other seafood in rockpools that have been left behind as the water recedes.

Judging by the size of the containers that they have, they must be having a good and successful time.

trawler baie be mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Over the past few months we’ve seen the local fishing boats working out in areas that have previous been unexploited.

Today, right down at the end of the Baie de Mont St Michel close to the Brittany coast, we have a trawler down there this afternoon having a go to see what it can pull up out of the water.

At this kind of distance I can’t see who she is, and I’m not even sure that she comes from here.

So with nothing else happening, I pushed off along the path on top of the headland towards the port.

l'omerta fishing boat massabielle trawler chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And down at the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval I could see that we have had plenty of excitement down there today.

The little trawler Briscard that was nearest the camera and Pierre de Jade, the trawler next to her, seem to have gone back into the water this afternoon.

It didn’t take long for their places to be filled either. L’Omerta, the little shellfish boat that we’ve seen so often sitting on the silt by the Fish Processing Plant, and Massabielle, a trawler whom we haven’t seen before, have taken their places.

It’s all go in the chantier naval these days.

Back here I had my banana smoothie and then had another play with that computer, which took me up to teatime. Taco rolls with the rest of yesterday’s stuffing.

Tomorrow I’m at the physiotherapist’s so I need to have a good relax and gather my strength during the morning. But not 90 minutes-worth.

And while I was typing up my notes, with my other hand I fixed the computer issues that I mentioned just now

Monday 6th September 2021 – HERE THIS AFTERNOON …

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… in the port we have Marité, back again after her outing at the weekend and tied up at her usual spec in the corner at the end of the harbour.

And today, it’s Monday, so everyone is back at work or at school and Marité thus has nothing to do and nowhere to go.

So as you might expect, we are having one of the most beautiful, warm and sunny days of the summer so far (even though it’s September).

It’s a very sharp contrast indeed to yesterday when she was out and about with the Sunday day-trippers in one of the thickest fogs that I have ever encountered since I’ve been here when the tourists couldn’t see a thing.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was down there at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour I had a good look around to see how the Galeon Andalucia was doing.

And there she was! Gone! And never called me mother! Apparently she slipped out of port on the morning tide earlier today and is now heading off back down the coast on her way home. I shall have to catch up with her later.

Right now though, I have to say that I had a rather miserable night last night, tossing and turning in bed for ages with a very disturbed sleep.

There is some stuff on the dictaphone too. We were going north to Scotland, 4 of us. One of them was CPO Pertwee. I can’t remember what it was that we were planning to do but to climb a mountain was not exactly some part of it but we thought that that might have been a possibility that we could have reached the top. There was a tremendous overhang at some point and it wasn’t a very easy climb at all. Pertwee asked “what do you think would be in the papers if we actually climbed it?” and he replied that it would be first of all the leader and the fourth person would have climbed up, secondly followed by Pertwee and me, with me carrying all of the equipment of course. Then we turned round and went back and ended up that night on this camp site just outside somewhere in the Scottish lowlands. Who should be bump into but a girl who worked in Crewe. A young girl. I was following the other 3 around all alongside the river but I ended up talking to this girl. We had a bit of a chat but she didn’t seem to be very interested in having a longer chat or anything like that. In the end I drifted away but I couldn’t find the other 3. The bottom end of this path was crowded with people partying. There were lights and everything but I couldn’t find the other 3 and thought “had I know, I would have brought this girl down with me regardless of what she wanted to do and we could have joined the party.

later on we’d all been out at the weekend to go somewhere. There was talk that we might all go out there again the coming weekend. In the meantime we were all thinking about tidying up the house. I was ill and was at home so my mother had me help her tidy up the house which was not my plan at all. She asked me to vacuum off a few surfaces but she had all kinds of rubbish on them including half of a dead plant that she had broken off branches and had leaves everywhere. The vacuum cleaner started to suck up the leaves and jammed so I had to start to pick up all these leaves and branches by hand and move them outside. Then she came down and hardly took a bit of notice about what I was doing and chatting away about this plan of the question of going away again for the day came up. I thought that I’d like to invite this girl who I’d met. I suddenly realised that that meant that there would be 6 of us in the car and it would be overcrowded. I thought that I could take her in BILL BADGER but he was hardly the kind of vehicle for taking girls out on dates. I had several old Cortinas dotted around (again!) the garden and the place wasn’t looking very tidy at all. There was a beige MkIII saloon there that was quite rotten. I was wondering if I set to work and did the bodywork on it this week and get it to be presentable. There was a nagging feeling in my mind that there was a time limit that I had to do something – a legal time limit but I couldn’t remember what it was. I knew that if I didn’t do it there would be complications but I couldn’t remember when or where it was that I had to do this.

Despite how I was feeling, I did manage to crawl out of the arms of Morpheus and into the kitchen to take my medication, and then back into here to check my mails and messages.

Once all of that was dealt with I could crack on with the radio programme that I need to deal with today.

Up until about 10:40 I was doing really well and all that remained was to choose the last track. And then the wheels came off because I was interrupted by a telephone call.

A few days ago I had an idea about a series of radio programme for later on in the year and i’d sent a mail to the co-ordinator. He called me back at about 10:40 and we had a very lengthy chat.

As a result it wasn’t until about 12:05 that I finished the programme, about an hour after I had intended to, and then I had to draft a lengthy report as well as to send out a few feelers here and there to potential interviewees.

After lunch I had a shower and then went to see the co-ordinator where we chatted for well over an hour, batting ideas backwards and forward about how I intend to do it. So now, not only do I have a plan drawn up, I have an awful lot of work before me until Christmas

By the time that I had come back, it was time to go back out again for my afternoon walk, so I grabbed the big NIKON D500 and headed off outside.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Naturally, the first port of call is going to be the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down upon the beach and see what is happening.

And despite it being a work day or a school day, there were plenty of people down there on the beach this afternoon.

Not only that, there were plenty of people down there in the water too. No surprise there, given the beautiful day. You can tell that just by looking at the colour of the water down there.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2109/21090044.html”>people on beach rue du nord plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Now that I can actually see something out there this afternoon, I had a look further down the beach to see what was going on there too.

Down at the bottom of the steps, bottom right in the photo, we have someone armed with his surfboard or paddleboard or whatever on the point of heading out to the water.

Further down, there were plenty of people out there at the water’s edge at the Plat Gousset. That’s the most popular beach around here and is always where you’ll find the crowds, if there are any about. Access to the beach is much easier there.

fisherman in kayak pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was sounding out the beach down there, I was also looking around out at sea to see what was going on there.

This afternoon we have a fisherman down there in a kayak. He certainly has a couple of fishing rods with him but I imagine that trying to cast a line from a kayak is not a very easy proposition.

What has also caught my eye is whatever it is that he has at the back of his kayak. It looks rather like a set of wheels to me, so maybe it’s something that he can use to pull his boat in and out of the water from the beach.

frogmen scuba divers pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021His wasn’t the only aquatic activity that was being undertaken out there this afternoon.

Out there just offshore we have a couple more frogmen – or frogpersons as I suppose that we have to call them these days.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen them a while ago out there in more or less the same spot and I couldn’t understand what they were doing then. It’s probably something to do with training although I don’t know why they would want to do it just there.

red microlight ulm pointe du roc Granville Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was watching the water sports down there I was overflown once more.

It was the little red microlight that we have seen on several occasions. He’s up there with a passenger, by the looks of things, and they were doing a couple of laps around the end of the headland.

Once he disappeared finally out of view, I wandered off across the car park to the end of the headland. There wasn’t anything else going on out at sea which was a surprise given how nice the day was today.

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six F-GVJC pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was wandering out that way, something else came flying past overhead.

One look at the machine told me who it might be, without even seeing her registration number. She’s F-GVJC, the Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six that we’ve seen a few times. You can tell that by her elongated nose.

She doesn’t seem to have filed a flight plan for this journey so I’m not able to say where she’s going, although it can’t have been far because later on this evening she took off again for Melun, near Paris.

Airbus A321-271NX G-WUKN pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This aeroplane is much more easy to identify because even at 20,000 feet we can see her livery.

She’s G-WUKN, an Airbus A321-271NX and she’s flying flight W65122 on behalf of Wizz Air between Fuerteventura and Luton Airport at a speed of 347 knots. She was built in Germany, where she is currently registered, and her first commercial flight was as recently as March this year.

It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a good view of a full-size aeroplane flying overhead, and we were lucky to have this view because as you can see, she’s being overtaken by a load of cloud and we are on the point of losing sight of her.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021At the end of the headland I could see out into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

There is one of the smaller fishing boats heading back towards port although I don’t know why because the harbour gates won’t be open for a while.

At first, I thought she might be La Grande Ancre but gazing full-on into the sun, it’s very difficult to make out anything.

There were no fishermen down there on the rocks and no-one at the Cabanon Vauban either, so I carried on along the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port.

yann frederic chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval we can see that a change in occupancy this afternoon.

We stall have seven boats, the same number that we have had for the last couple of weeks, but the green, white and black trawler La Soupape that has been up there on the blocks for several weeks has now gone back into the water.

In her place is another trawler, the Yann Frederic. This is the first time that we’ve taken notice of her since we’ve been living here but I don’t suppose that it will be the last, judging by the length of tile that they spend on the blocks over there.

Mind you, they already seem to have made a good start on her, and there is someone working on one of her aerials.

joly france chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But whatever is happening here, I really have no idea.

One of the Joly France boats, the newer one of the two with the smaller superstructure and deeper windows, is over there moored at the ferry terminal.

Chausiaise is over there too, and I can’t think what she’s doing because it looks as if she’s moored right across the ferry terminal preventing any other boat from going in there to tie up.

The other two ferries, the older Joly France boat and the very new Belle France are nowhere about so Chausiaise had better move herself by the time that they come back.

Having looked at the inner harbour, I came on back home for my banana smoothie and to carry on with some work such as transcribing the dictaphone notes from the night, but instead I fell asleep. Not the way that I wanted to end my working day.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice and veg. And since I’ve been on this kind-of diet and having my physiotherapy I’ve lost 1.6 kilos. Still another 10 kilos to go but that’s probably going to take more effort than I have in the tank.

Now I’m off to bed. Our Welsh lessons start again tomorrow and I have a lot of work to do to bring myself up to date.

Sunday 5th September 2021 – WHAT I SAW …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… down on the beach this afternoon.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s my habit to go over to the wall at the end of the car park outside my door and look down to see the activity on the beach.

But today, you’ll need a darn sight more than a good telephoto lens to penetrate this sea-fog that is rolling in with the wind from off the bay and over the headland where I’m standing. There were definitely people down there because I could hear them, but there was no chance whatever of seeing them.

sea fog baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Round the other side of the headland, it’s easy to see whereabouts in the bay is in the wind-shadow of the headland.

The two harbours and the coast down as far as St Pair sur Mer are fairly clear but further on down the coast where there is no wind-shadow the coast is overwhelmed by the sea-fog.

But that’s enough of that for the moment. Let’s go back to the start of the day.

And Bane of Britain strikes again, by somehow having managed to arrange for the alarm to go off at 06:00 this morning. One very unhappy bunny here.

It was about 09:30 when I finally staggered from my stinking pit. After the medication this morning and checking my mails and messages I made a start on the notes for yesterday that I hadn’t done last night.

Strangely enough, it didn’t take me too long to do it and by the time that I stopped for lunch, they had long-been finished.

This afternoon I made a start on pairing up the tracks for the next radio programme – the one that I’ll be preparing on Monday.

That took much longer than it ought to have done because I’ve made a conscious decision that many of the songs that I’ve been choosing are no longer appropriate for the style of programme that I want to develop. Well – they are, but not in the amount that I’ve been using them just recently.

Later on I made another pile of dough for the pizzas for the next three weeks. This one seemed to work really well and I wish that the fruit bread had turned out like that the other day.

By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon grope around the headland.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This is a view that we have seen on many occasions.

It’s the path that leads along the top of the headland towards the lighthouse, the coastguard station and the semaphore post. But unfortunately today, you can’t see any one of those things with the fog.

Nevertheless, the fog didn’t deter people from being out and about. There were far more people out there this afternoon than you would realise, and you didn’t notice them until you fell over them.

cabanon vauban people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Not just on the path towards the lighthoue either.

My walk took me across the lawn and across the car park down to the end of the headland where there is a good view across the bay. But not today, unfortunately.

We couldn’t see a thing out to sea this afternoon, but there were some people who had made their way down the steps to the little bench in front of the Cabanon Vauban, the old Customs sentry-box. I’m not sure what it was at which they were looking, but I couldn’t see anything special.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021They weren’t the only people wandering around off the beaten track in the fog this afternoon.

It will take more than a sea-fog to stop the fishermen going out to practise their art, and sure enough, there is one of them down there.

It’s very difficult to see what he’s actually doing. He has his rod in his hand but I can’t tell whether he is packing up or setting out.

And so I left him to it and headed off along the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on down there.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I could see that there was no change in occupancy in the chantier naval. Still the same seven boats that have been there for a couple of weeks.

Over on the other side of the harbour, there was one of the Joly France ferry boats moored up at the ferry terminal. Judging by its small superstructure and rectangluar windows in “portrait” format, it’s the newer one of the two near-identical ones.

As for where her older sister and the brand-new Belle France might be, I really can’t say. But I bet that they won’t be doing any sightseeing trips around the bay or a lap around the Ile de Chausey. And Chausiaise, the little freighter, is in the inner harbour.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the viewpoint further along the path, I could see into the inner harbour where I noticed that Marité wasn’t there.

She must be out at sea with passengers, and I bet that they can’t be enjoying themselves too much in this weather, with not being able to see what is going on anywhere.

There was also an aeroplane flying around overhead, but of course I couldn’t see it in this weather.

Instead, I went back home and had a banana smoothie. Despite the fog, it was hot, clammy and oppressive out there this afternoon.

Having drunk my smoothie I sat down to check the dictaphone notes but ended up dozing off for about 20 minutes. That still left time for me to find out where I’d been last night.

The first thing that I noticed was that I remarked that I had had an attack of cramp – first time for about ever. I’d forgotten all about this.

But in the meantime, a former friend of mine was speaking to me and telling me what a surprising person I am with all this news that I have that I have never told anyone. he said that he had only found out by accident so I asked him what he was on about. He said that we’d have to go out and celebrate it, all this kind of thing, and I hadn’t really any idea. It turned out that he’d heard someone say “we’d still be up to 15 people if we replace Eric quickly or get a replacement for Eric quickly enough”. “Ohh that!” I said. “I’ve just had an internal transfer in the office and going somewhere else”.

There was somewhere else about a house in Wistaston in Crewe that I was trying to sell but no-one had been to see it for a while. People had asked me why I hadn’t reduced it to sell. I replied that I’ve had it almost 20 years and very very shortly the mortgage will be paid. It’s not in my interest to sell it once the mortgage is paid because it will be increasing in value.

What was that dream about a banana that suddenly awoke me and drained everything away from me immediately? And don’t ask me what that was all about because I don’t have a clue. It’s what I must have dictated but I can’t think why.

Later on during the night I was out with Nerina. There were 4 of us, me, her, another guy and another girl, something to do with me being at the hospital. Nerina had her Wolseley 1300 and the door on it didn’t fit quite properly. While we were walking towards it there was another group of people walking towards us. One of them was joking about how easy it was to steal these cars. he took out a key from his pocket, opened the door, got in and sat at the steering wheel. The guy and I dived in, dragged him out, bent him over the car and had his arms in an arm lock. We marched him into the hospital where someone called the police. The idea was basically to frighten the wits out of him. But this went on and on and in the end I was called forward for my surgery. The boy that had come out before me now had the most beautiful white teeth so I wondered if that was what they were going to do to me. I had to go to wait by this cubby hole where the guy searched through some papers. There were people coming and going and the surgeon was rooting through these papers as well looking for the names. Someone else out of the room where we were had come out and gone past me in a wheelchair and gone into a theatre. I thought that I was going to be here all night with this. I’d told one of the others who was with us that they were in charge about the affair with this boy. I wondered how long it was going to be before they become fed up?.

There was also time to deal with a couple more of the arrears too. I’m hoping that they will be finished quite soon too so that I can update the relevant journal entries.

When that was done I divided up the pizza dough into three, rolled two in oil, wrapped them in greaseproof paper, put them in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The other, I rolled out and put in the pizza tray and left it to proof for a while. And once it was ready I assmebled it and baked it.

Here’s the finished product. It was nice and crispy for a change, one of the best that I’ve made for ages. Quite delicious too.

Now the washing-up is done and the kitchen has been tidied up and it’s all looking quite nice. i’ve finished my journal entry early too so I have a couple of things to do and then i’m off to bed. I have a radio programme to prepare in the morning so I need to be on good form because I don’t want to waste too much time.