Sunday 26th September 2021 – NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL …

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… the perfect vegan pizza.

It really was too. I had to make a new batch of pizza dough this afternoon because I’d run out of the last batch. But I used wholemeal flour instead of bleached white flour and although the taste was rather unusual, it rose to perfection.

It’s a shame that I can’t make my bread dough rise quite like this batch of pizza dough did, and I don’t know why it won’t. I shall just have to keep on practising until I can find the key.

But it’s bizarre all the same.

And that’s what I call a lie-in too. Despite not going to bed until about 00:30 I was asleep until about 10:35 this morning. And it was … errr … some time later when I finally arose from the dead.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’ve forgotten very much about the first part of my travels but it was some kind of car journey with kids and we had to make up a bed inside the car for them because it was a long way travelling through the night but I can’t remember very much about this at all.

A short while later I was with a woman and we were wandering around the streets of a strange city somewhere in Eastern Europe. It was an aimless wandering around and I let her take charge but every time she seemed to take a decision to go somewhere it was always the wrong way. But it was still quite an adventure. It was hot and stuffy with quite a lot of traffic about, including one bus where the passengers were arguing with the driver about which way to go. Then we came to a complicated road junction where I misunderstood the lights and was nearly squidged. By this time I was with Nerina. We had been somewhere the night before after she had come in. She was telling me that a she came in my brother had invited her out for a drink. She said that she had this opinion that he’d known that she had been drinking although it was 16 minutes since her last one and she should have been clear so maybe she’d drink her drink in a different way next time to provoke a different reaction in her stomach.

I was wandering around Nantwich later and it was something to do with my German friend who was there – I’d arranged to meet him so I went to phone him up but I phoned Percy Penguin instead. I had a little chat with her and we tentatively arranged to meet. Then I was back in my house getting things ready for going. Another friend had said that someone had left me a message. I had a look and it was yet a third friend looking for the seed potatoes that he’s left. I had absolutely no idea where these were so I started to hunt my through for them and couldn’t fond anything. I came across my boots that I’d been wearing that I’d forgotten all about. I wondered if I should take those because the ones that I was wearing now were extremely comfortable although they were rather old and I still couldn’t find these potatoes. Liz Ayers turned up and said something like it was time to go. I told her that we hadn’t found these potatoes and she said that she wanted to go round to my house on the way back to see whether there was anything there that we needed. This was going to end in a load of confusion.

Later still, there were some more people round at my house. I had to go off somewhere and knew that I was going to miss these people by ages because I wouldn’t be back until late. When I returned there were 2 people walking up the stairs in front of me in the dark without the light on. I was wondering what they were doing. They went to my door and rang the bell. Whoever was in my house opened the door. This woman asked “have you received a message or a bill some time today?” to which whoever it was said “no”. Just then a girl came out of my apartment, a girl who had been in there earlier and was the one whom I was afraid that I was going to miss, carrying a box of stuff to put in her car. These 2 women saw her and asked “are you leaving? I hope that you are going to come back again”. She replied “yes, I’ll be coming back”. I added “yes, she better had be coming back”. We were having this kind of chat on the stairs at about 23:00 and this girl should have gone a long time ago. I was leafing through an old file and came across a sailor’s discharge book from the Navy, showing all the ships that he had been in, where he’d been torpedoed, where his ship had broken in 2 and sank, whatever. I was so fascinated by this book and deeply absorbed in it and wasn’t folling half of what was happening in this conversation which was strange because I was very keen to keep friendly and keep in touch with this other girl.

While I was at it, I transcribed the notes from yesterday and now they are on line as well.

After lunch, I had a little vegetate – after all, it IS Sunday. I was doing some research on something that I had read about a Communist sympathiser known as Hilaire Noulens, whose real name was Jakob Rudnik as I discovered, who was sent by Comintern to Shanghai to foment rebellion against the “International Forces” in 1931 but was arrested and exposed.

In the “International Zone” of Shanghai in the 1920s and early 1930s there were all kinds of strange and bewildering goings-on until 1932 when the Japanese invasion put a stop to most of it.

Following that I organised and paired off the music for the radio show that I’ll be preparing tomorrow and a little later I went off and prepared the dough for my next batch of pizza.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk so I headed off across the car park to the wall at the end to see what was going on down on the beach.

There were quite a few people down there this afternoon. Although we are at the last weekend of September it is unseasonably warm right now with very little wind so people were taking full advantage.

There were even a couple of people in the water right up to their knees. I know that it was a nice day, but it wasn’t that nice. But then the definition of “nice water” for me is “water that is at 37°C”

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

Of course, the access there is much easier but they are closer to some competing attractions such as the Fête des Coquillages St Jacques down at the port. A plate of shellfish surely has to be a better deal?

But then I suppose there are those people who have come here to take the waters. As you can see, there are even more people up to their knees in it over there. Sooner them than me.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There wasn’t anything happening this afternoon out at sea so I had a look over to the Ile de Chausey.

The view was quite good today – not as nice as it has been but better than most days – so the colours didn’t come out particularly too well.

There was one of the two Joly France ferries (Belle France is still moored at the Ferry Terminal as I found out later) moored out there and we could see it quite clearly from here.

While I was admiring the view I fell in with another one of my neighbours and we had a lengthy chat. I seem to be quite popular these days and it’s not like me to be so sociable, is it?

While I was chatting, I was overflown by just about everything that could possibly take to the air, as you might expect. But you can’t be so impolite to break off a good chat to take a couple of photos. There will be other times.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From my viewpoint up on top of the old bunker at the back of the lighthouse I could just about make out the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel with my naked eye.

With the NIKON D500 and the 70-300mm LENS the photo came out quite clearly after I’d enhanced it somewhat and we coud see once more the land beyong the cape.

Surprisingly, apart from the Joly France boat that I mentioned earlier and something far to small to identify, I couldn’t see a single other boat out there at sea this afternoon.

yacht small boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The position in the Baie de Mont St Michel is rather different.

As I walked across the lawn and the car park, that was once more packed to the gunwhales, I could see a couple of things out there towards the Brittany coast.

I took a photo of what I saw with a view to having a closer look when I returned home. And I’ve managed to capture a yacht with its sails furled and also a smaller boat of some other type.

But what “other type” it was, I couldn’t say. I couldn’t see clearly enough.

cabanon vauban couple changing a baby pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By the looks of things, I wasn’t the only person admiring the view out across the bay this afternoon.

There was a couple sitting on the bench by the Cabanon Vauban and my first thought was that they were having a picnic. “A nice big helping of shellfish from the fête”, I mused.

Back here I had a closer look and I could see that in fact they were actually changing a baby. And I’m not sure why anyone would want to do that because any other baby is probably going to be just as noisy as the on that you already have.

F-GKAO - Piper PA-28-181 Archer 2 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Round about now I was overflown by another aeroplane and I was in a position to be able to take a photo of it.

It seems that this is one that we haven’t seen before so i’m glad that I was able to photograph her. She’s F-GKAO, a Piper PA-28-181 Archer II.

She’s spent much of the day flying around here. When I saw her, she had taken off at 16:24, flown down the coast as far as Avranches, and then along the coast to Cap Fréhel before coming back into land at 17:16.

At 18:07 she took off and, stopping at Dinard and then Dinan, disappeared off the radar near Rennes St Jacques at 19:30.

buvette fête des coqilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As you can see, the buvette at the fête is still going great guns.

There was no change at the chanter naval today, with just L’Omerta still in there, and there was only Belle France moored at the ferry terminal so I didn’t spend too long having a look around there.

It seemed to me too that there has been an expansion of the facilities there today. Yesterday, everything seemed to stop by the door into the Fish Processing plant, but today there are a few more marquees and stalls further on that seem to have attracted quite a crowd of people.

equipment on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But what had attracted me – or, at least, my attention, was the big pile of equipment in the background.

Full of curiosity I cropped it out and enlarged it to see if I might be able to work out what it all is.

It looks like another load of pipework, as far as I can tell. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while ago they did dig up part of the quayside to lay a network of pipes.

Perhaps they are going to repeat the process once the crowds disappear and the harbour is pretty much empty. Whatever happens, I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

fête des coqilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned that the crowds were still flocking to the Festival.

There are probably even more today than there were yesterday. It’s a good turnout and I’m glad that I’m up here.

You are probably wondering how come I never went down to see what was going on down there. The truth is that I don’t feel up to it. Not even the downhill part, never mind the climb back up afterwards.

What i’m going to be doing is to wait for the doctor to see the x-ray photos of my lungs and see where I go from there.

electricians compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One final thiing to see is something that I haven’t noticed before, not having come this far down the hill on my previous walks.

There’s some kind of compound been created on the waste land at the side of the Boulevard des Terreneuviers. By the looks of things and the name on one of the containers, we’re going to be seeing some electrical work taking place down here pretty shortly.

Not right now though. I came back home for a cold drink and to check on the pizza dough – to find that it had risen by an extraordinary amount.

While I was waiting for the pizza to cook, I peeled and diced about 1.5kg of carrots and blanched them ready for freezing. I hadn’t planned to buying a pile of carrots, but when loose carrots worked out at €1:79 per kilo and yet a 2kg bag was €1:29, what would you do?

That 1.5kg filled the saucepan, so I’ll do the rest tomorrow afternoon.

Bedtime now that I’ve finished my notes. An early start because I have my radio show to do so I won’t be hanging around either. I hope that I’ll have a good night’s sleep, but we shall see.

Saturday 25th September 2021 – THIS SHELLFISH FESTIVAL …

marquees fete des coquilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021 … isn’t half bringing in the crowds. And it’s absolute chaosas well by the looks of things.

Several more marquees and stalls have been set up since we last looked and they are packed to the gunwhales with people who have apparently come from all parts of France in order to indulge in an orgy of shellfish.

Including the boat Anakena, the one that was stranded in port at the height of the pandemic. You can see her, the dark blue one moored in the background. She’s been working her way around the Brittany coast, having set sail from Lorient at the end of August.

marquee marité rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And the chicane in the Rue du Port was total chaos this morning as well.

Motorists not knowing where to go and what to do, stopping, and even parking, in the most inconvenient places, and then there were the hordes of pedestrians milling about in the way of all of the traffic.

The way out to the hypermarket was chaos enough at 09:15. I shuddered to think of what it would be like by the time that I come back, so I went the long way round to reach home. And I bet that despite being the long way round, it took me much less time.

bad parking leclerc hypermarket Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While we’re on the subject of bad parking … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was enough bad parking today to fill a photo album, so I’ve selected this example for you.

It’s a delivery van delivering products to one of the boutiques in the Hypermarket. Dozens of empty spaces at this time of morning, including this disabled space right by the front door, but reversing in there is far too complicated for this guy.

What he’s chosen to do is to abandon his van in one of the car park paths, blocking in several cars while he was at it, including one with a driver who was trying to leave. But as long as he’s okay, what does he care about anyone else?

Anyway, let’s return to our moutons as they say around here.

Once more, the blasted phone people sent me a text message that awoke me during the night and I had trouble going back to sleep again. Nevertheless I must have done because the alarm awoke me at 07:30

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too so I copied the audio files onto the computer, and as I type out these notes, I realise that Bane of Britain has forgotten to transcribe them.

Off I went to the shops once I’d awoken. at Noz I didn’t spent much but at LeClerc it was another large bill, due to my buying more coffee and a pile of syrups seeing as I’m running out. I’ve given up making my own drinks for now. I’m not feeling up to tasks like that at the moment.

Another thing that I bought was some of those soya desserts in small pots. I need to vary my diet rather more than I’m doing at the moment.

Back here, having taken the long way round, it was astruggle up the stairs with my heavy shopping. But the fact that I managed it, albeit rather precariously, tells me that the physiotherapy is working somewhat.

Having put down the shopping I made myself a coffee and cut a slice of my fruit bread, and then came in here to relax for a while. I was exhausted after my efforts at the shops.

After lunch, there was football. Trefelin against Connah’s Quay Nomads in the Welsh Cup.

The gul in class was pretty evident right from the kick-off and at one point well into the second hald, the stats showed 28% Trefelin possession and 72% Connah’s Quay possession.

Nevertheless, the score at half-time was just 1-0 to the Nomads thanks to a brilliand Jamie Insall goal. The Trefelin goal was having a charmed life with shots whistling narrowly over the bar or around the post, and when they were on target, they found the Trefelin keeper in exceptional form.

Nomads scored a second goal shortly after the interval as a result of a goalmouth scramble, a goal that should quite properly have been disallowed due to a foul on the keeper, but with the Nomads having been denied a stonewall penalty in the 1st half that everyone except the referee thought should have been given, I suppose it evened things up.

The introduction of Jamie Mullan injected some more spark into the Nomads. He had a point to prove, and set about proving it.

2 late goals for the Nomads sealed what was in the end a comfortable victory, but in all honesty they should have been down the road and out of sight a long time before the interval.

old car peugeot 203 wedding civic offices Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was getting ready to go out for my afternoon walk there was quite a racket going on outside.

My apartment looks out onto the Civic Offices where the marriages take place, and it looks as if this afternoon, judging by all of the people around there, this today must have been the marriage of the Century.

But my attention was drawn to the car down there. It’s been a long time since we’ve featured an old car on these pages, and today there’s a Peugeot 203 down there – the white and red car.

These are gorgeous machines and I would have one in a heartbeat, especially a plateau, or pickup. I found one once ON THE ILE D’YEU when Cecile and I went to visit her mother, but I had to decline.

ship relaying bouchot stakes donville les bains baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As usual I went across the car park to have a look down onto the beach, but my attention was immediately drawn to this.

Whatever is going on down there, I have no idea but there’s a small ship fitted with a crane of some description, and I’m sure that that row of bouchot stakes wasn’t there yesterday.

It looks as if the bouchot farmers are having an extension, and there are quite a few people on the beach down by the campsite having a good look

And had I been feeling much better, I would have been down there having a good look with them.

people on beach rue du nord plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But enough of that. Let’s go back to the beach.

Today was cloudy and overcast so I didn’t expect to see too many people down there, especially with all of the other attractions going on elsewhere.

And I was right in that respect, at least by the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord, because there was only a handful of people there.

Farther along by the Plat Gousset there were a few more people, but that’s always the case. Access to the beach is much easier along there

f-gorn Robin DR400/120 Dauphin 2+2 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out there at the end of the car park, I noticed a light aeroplane taking off from the airfield.

She’s F-GORN, the Robin DR400/120 Dauphin 2+2 that belongs to the Aero Club de Granville, on her way out to sea

However I can’t tell you any more than that because she didn’t seem to file a flight plan, and she wasn’t picked up on radar. She’d been out for a couple of flights earlier in the day, flights that had been either recorded or picked up on radar, but for some reason or other, this one hasn’t.

trailer load of everything place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the wall at the end of the car park I set off for my walk, but as I crossed back across the car park I encountered this.

Everyone will know what some of these items are, and I’m surprised to see them on open display like this. But different countries have different attitudes of course.

But whatever the significance of it all is, it beats me. I was thinking that maybe it’s something to do with the wedding that’s going on at the Civic Offices. But it’s certainly strange behaviour and I’ll simply leave it at that.

zodiac men fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From my usual vantage point at the highest point of the walk, I had another look out to sea.

There was a zodiac out there, stationary, with a couple of guys in there. “Fishermen” I mused to myself.

But as I watched and prepared to take a photo, another zodiac came around the headland into the bay travelling at some speed so I waited until they were both in the viewfinder before I pressed the shutter.

At least the moving zodiac gave the stationary one a wide berth. Regular readers of this rubbish will have seen many photos that showed speeding boats passing fishermen far too close for comfort

cabanon vauban person sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Across the car park I went, down to the end of the headland.

There was someone this afternoon sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban having a good look out to sea. And I’m not sure why because with the mist and haze that was about this afternoon, you couldn’t see very far out across the bay this afternoon.

There weren’t any fishermen down on the rocks this afternoon, nor anyone at the peche à pied. They are all probaby at the shellfish festival having a whale of a time.

So leaving our visitor to it, I set off on the path down the far side of the headland.

cherie d'amour 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 the chantier naval this afternoon. L’Omerta was still in there all on her own.

As for the boats that have been in there just recently, sitting in the silt in the tidal harbour is the yellow Cherie d’Amour. She was in the chantier naval for a short period of time a couple of days ago.

Over at the ferry terminal, Belle France was tied up, but you’ve seen plenty of photos of her just recently. The other two Joly France boats are very probably out at sea somewhere around the Ile de Chausey waiting for the tide to come back in.

marquee chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As for where Chausiaise might be, she’s over there underneath the crane in the loading bay, preulably waiting to load up for her next trip out to the island.

While I was busy looking at the mayhem down at the fish processing plant as everyone swarms around the stalls and marquees, I noticed her over there so I fitted her into this photo of the rest of the activity.

The pile of freight to the right of the crane seems to have increased since we saw it yesterday, and it’s a good job that neither of the two Jersey freighters are coming into port today. It would otherwise have been extremely exciting to watch them try to unload with all of those cars blocking the loading bay.

buffet fete des coquilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I mentioned yesterday, no fête anywhere in France is complete unless there’s a buvette.

THis one of course is no different than anywhere else in that respect. You can see what looks like a bar and row upon row of tables and benches where everyone can sit down and enjoy a quiet drink.

The doors into the Fish Processing Plant are open, and I understand that that is where the dressing of the shellfish is taking place.

There was apparently even a space for small children to try to dress a shellfish, although what you would do with the sleeves of your garment is something that would confuse me.

la granvillaise coelacanthe suzanga port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021No prozes for guessing who this is.

The angle of the sails and the number “G90” painted thereupon will tell you that this is of course La Granvillaise. Never one to miss out on a commercial opportunity, she’s giving tourists a lap around the harbour, presumably for a couple of bob a head.

You might have noticed Marité in an earlier photo. She’s down there too, although not sailing around right now. Also down there at the back on the left is the trawler Coelacanthe and in the foreground is the new pink Suzanga.

yellow autogyro place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Finally, and last but not least, on my way back to my apartment I was overflown by the yellow autogyro.

She came around the corner from behind my building at an altitude of several hundred feet just as I was crossing the road.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then watched a couple of videos with highlights of a couple of other games from the Welsh Cup. I suppose that I should have been transcribing my dictaphone notes but I rather unfortunately forgot.

Tea tonight was the remainder of the curry from yesterday, lengthened with a small tin of lentils, and it was just as delicious. I had one of those soya dessert pots for afterwards to sweeten my palette.

Eventually, I did manage to deal with the dictaphone notes from today. I’d bumped into the captain of one of the little Jersey freighter in Granville and tried to interest him in taking part in our radio programme. But he didn’t have very much for himself to say and he asked about payment. I explained that there was no budget, that we were volunteers. He insisted that there must be some money somewhere. We went round in circles and in the end I thought that I had managed to persuade him that there was nothing. he didn’t speak French but one of his crew did so we arranged that next Sunday we would all meet in one of the bars here and he could let me know exactly what he thought and what he was able to tell me with the aid of his colleague

later, we were at a vehicle exhibition, wandering around looking at all the old lorries that were there, in the USA judging by the plates. A former friend of mine had one, an old Ford-type of lorry but there was no engine in it. We were wandering around and they lifted a flatbed back off a lorry and found that there was another flatbed underneath it, a FEMSA dated 1972. They wondered what this was doing because this was quite rare. They made a few enquiries but the owners knew nothing about it. They rang up FEMSA and quoted the body number. They replied that they sold it to that company in 1972 so this was a big mystery as what they’d bought it for and on what hat they were going to use it. There was an autojumble there as well. I was with some woman looking at all the bits and pieces. She was asking one particular guy loads of questions about stuff. All his stuff was American electrical stuff that was no good for the UK. Eventually we came back and there was a guy actually dismantling a lorry and rebuilding it while the show was going on. He was waiting for some bits but he was quite confident that he would rebuild it and have it on the road. He was planning on a drive from Northern France to South Africa in his lorry so I was interested in going along as a co-driver but he had a team. I still tried to see and ask my way around to see whether or not there might have been a place for me because it was something extremely interesting. But there were all kinds of strange people there, 3 babies, 2 of them very badly sunburnt. There was a woman dressed as a bride who was carrying a baby on her back. I thought “she’s left it rather late to be married, hasn’t she?”

So rather later than I was hoping, I’m off to bed. I’ll leave the phone in the living room where if someone messages me tonight, I wont hear it. It’s Sunday, and a lie-in tomorrow and I’m hoping to make the most of it.

But something will go wrong of course – it usually does.

Friday 24th September 2021 – MY LIE-IN THIS MORNING …

… would have been really good had it not been for the 12 text messages that I received – 8 of which were from my mobile phone supplier telling me about special offers that I neither want nor need – during the course of the early morning.

There’s always something that goes wrong whenever I try to have to lie in for a morning.

And as you also might expect, I didn’t actually feel much better when I awoke either. But more of this anon.

After the medication I sat down to finish off yesterday’s blog entry. And there were tons of it too. It’s no surprise that I fell asleep halfway through, especially as that long chat had made me start it rather later than usual.

There was a pause in the middle for breakfast but even so, not finishing it until 11:45 was rather extreme. Mind you, I did have a few other things to do while I was at it.

Once I’d done that, I turned my attention to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something last night about being in the Army in World War II in the Home Guard. Our platoon had a couple of machine guns and suddenly the alarm went off so we dashed with our machine guns to our selected point and erected our machine guns so that they were covering the beach. After we had been covering the beach for a few minutes the captain, probably Captain Mainwaring, turned round and ordered our guns to point to the right. The sergeant-major immediately leapt over the wall to accost the captain about this, as it meant that we were now no longer firing on the enemy as they landed. The captain gave him such a dressing-down and sent him back to his quarters. A couple of our soldiers were crying as they wouldn’t be able to have a direct reult on attacking the Germans and stopping them landing. We kept our position for about 5 minutes then the captain dismissed us, saying that we had performed a very valuable exercise and we could all go home, to everyone’s dismay. I was one of the last to leave, and suddenly I heard the sound of horses galloping up. I took cover and it turned out that they were on the TV. It was Kenneth Williams and someone else, some kind of medieval heroes doing something. Much as I appreciate the humour of Kenneth Williams, it wasn’t what I wanted to watch so I had to look for the remote control to flick through the channels to see what else was on.

Later on I had a girl come round to me in Virlet and she ended up staying the night. Next morning I had to take her back to work of course. We were wandering around the farm and I was showing her all of the solar panels, everything, and it all looked pretty overgrown with weeds because I hadn’t been there for ages, even on the roofs. The solar panels were still working fine. There was a ritual that I went through to make a reading but I couldn’t remember what it was. I was stuck there for a couple of minutes. I asked her if she wanted a coffee but she said “no” so I asked if she minded if she waited 30 seconds while I made myself one and I could rake it with me. She replied “no, that’s fine as well”

Finally, there was something weird last night about I was walking down a country lane. Someone had fenced off or roped off all of the grass verges, roped off the drive to his house which was really difficult, like a labyrinth or honeycomb, rows and rows of ropes going across it. As I walked past I dropped my screwdriver over the hedge so I crawled under the ropes all the way up to where my screwdriver was and I met him coling down the drive. I explained that I was after my screwdriver and we had a chat. In the end he invited me in for a coffee. By this time I’d acquired a girl, I don’t know who it was. Then he said that he’d go out shortly but he’d be back later on. We heard the sounds of him locking the door as if we were prisoners in it. We both had a shower and change of clothes and sat and waited, then we managed to make our way out of the house. By this time we had discovered a young lad who was something to do with the farm but was also having a lot of difficulties with him. We packed up a few things and I pinched a couple of carrots because I’d been on my way to the shops to try to buy some. I’d already been to the market and bought some cheese. We set off and had to dismantle a gatepost to get out and had to reassemble everything. That took a while, but we were able to get into our car and drive away, leaving the place exactly as it was before we left but obviously without us in it.

One thing that I wish I knew was “just who are these girls who keep on appearing during the night?”. Especially the one who spent the night with me in Virlet. I have a feeling that I’m missing out on an awful lot these days.

As I have said before … “many, many times” – ed … whatever I get up to during the night is far more exciting these days than whatever I do during the daytime, but it seems to be such a waste when I can’t remember who it is that I’m getting it up with.

After lunch, I had a shower and then set off for my physiotherapy session.

ile de chausey man fishing from rocks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Yesterday I mentioned that if I manage to set out early I would go for a wander around the walls to see what was going on with the repointing.

Before I did so, I stopped off at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord to see what was happening out there on the beach below me.

Not a lot, as it happens, but out there on the rocks we had a lone fisherman casting his line out into the water. I didn’t stay around to see if he caught anything.

And look how clear it is this afternoon over towards the Ile de Chausey in the background.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But let us turn our attention to the repair of the medival city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

On the inside, facing the street, they have already repaired a few patches and it looks quite nice, the work that they have done so far.

But as for the outside of the wall, they are going to be here quite a while trying to fix this. The presence of all of those plant roots are undermining the mortar and that’s what it probably causing a lot of the problem.

But if they repoint it with lime mortar (nasty corrosive stuff) as I did with my house in Virlet, they won’t have too much trouble in the future because any seed that tries to take hold will be burnt to a frazzle.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up along where that white protective sheeting has been fitted, they are also pushing on.

You can’t see very well in this photo but there are two guys down there underneath the footboard that you can see, and as I watched, they were busy raking out the old, loose mortar from the joints.

If you look lower down underneath where they are working, you can see that they have already repointed to a fair height, so they don’t seem to be hanging around, which makes a change these days.

beach diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021My route carried on around the path underneath the walls and round to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

The other day I mentioned that the beach cabins had been taken away for the winter. The Plat Gousset is looking quite bare without them.

Another thing that I mentioned was the diving platform. As you can see, the platform has also been taken away for the winter and there is just the concrete pillar left.

The swimming pool is looking quite lonely as well. No customers, and no water either. This is all a sign that Autumn has arrived, whether we like it or not, and even though it’s still extremely warm for the time of year.

classe decouverte plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Another sign that the tourist season is over is that the Classe Découverte season has started.

During the summer, the youth hostel in the town is full up with young tourists but once they have all gone, it’s the turn of the schools and their Discovery Classes to take over. That’s a big thing in France, with kids from the cities going into rural areas and kids from rural areas coming to the seaside.

Mind you, what they are going to discover at the Plat Gousset is anyone’s guess.

At the viewpoint I staggered off down the steps to the Place Marechal Foch and then crawled wearily through town and up the hill to the physiotherapist. Nothing happening at the building that we saw on Wednesday, and when something does, I’ll post a photo.

The physiotherapist put me through my paces on the tilting platform thing that he has, and I had to abandon one of the exercises, not because of my knee but because my shoulder was hurting. I’m having problems everywhere by the looks of things.

Mind you, I managed to add a few more seconds to my best on the cross trainer.

random road signs parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back home I came past the old railway line and down the steps to the Parc du Val Es Fleurs.

And we can see that just as last time, the local kids have been up to no good with the road signs again.

As I mentioned the other week, part of the park’s car park has been transformed into a store for the equipment that they are using for the building of this new road, that we’ll see in a minute.

But the compound isn’t all that secure while they are down the road working, so anything can happen. And, of course, we were all kids once too – something that many adults forget.

resurfacing parc docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So where was I? Ohh yes, walking down by the side of the old railway line towards town.

They have now stated to dig up this little park just here in order to resurface it. I

‘m not sure what the park is called but the school at the side is the Ecole des Docteurs Lanos, whoever the Docteurs Lanos where when they were at home, if they ever were, and there’s a Park somewhere in the town called the Parc des Docteurs Lanos so I imagine that this could well be it.

But it seems that nothing is sacred when they are on a mission.

grader compacter rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Now doesn’t this here in the Rue du Boscq bring back many happy memories?

Eleven years ago I was the driver of one of the very first vehicles to drive over the new TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we had endles encounters with graders as we made our way through the mountains.

There weren’t so many compacters though, which was surprising, so our drive was rather adventurous to say the least, but seeing a grader and a compacter here reminded me of old times.

digger moving rocks rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further on, there was a large digger having fun with a pile of rocks.

He was dragging them around presumably to put them into position for the compacter to come and compress them into the soil ready for a layer of smaller rocks to be laid on top.

Ohh yes, I can build you a Roman Road any time you like. That course that I studied on Historical Technology was one of the most fascinating courses I have ever studied.

Nothing much else was happening in the town centre so I made my weary way up the hill towards home.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the climb up the Rue des Juifs I stopped more times that I care to remember. This is really getting me down, this health issue.

At the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay in the port we have another pile of freight deposited down there by the crane. One of the Jersey freighters must be on her way.

But it won’t be Normandy Trader, I’ll tell you that. She’s up on blocks in the chantier naval in St Malo having a good clean, a wire-brushing and a new coat of paint to maker herself look pretty.

marquee rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours coming down so I was glad to sit down and rest for a while.

We were sitting on the wall talking, right by where they are erecting the marquees. And I can tell you what they are for as well now.

The season for the Coquilles St Jacques starts next week, and preliminary trials suggests that this is going to be one of the best seasons in modern times.

Consequently, they are going to hold a fête, a buffet and so on this weekend to celebrate what they are hoping to be an excellent season, and there will be shellfish all round for everyone, with a buvette of course. You can’t have a festival in France without there being a buvette involved.

And this is why Hera was in the chantier naval the other day. She was being cleaned and tidied because her owners are going to be giving tourists a guided visit.

bouchots donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back home I went to see what was going on down on the beach, seeing as it was round about my usual time.

Plenty of beach to be on of course as the tide is receding rapidly, but surprisingly there was hardly anyone on there. I couldn’t see more than about half-a-dozen people down there this afternoon.

But with the tide being well out, the bouchot farmers were out in force of course, harvesting close to the shore while they wait for the tide to go even further out.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On my way out, I mentioned that the air was quite clear and the views were quite good this afternoon.

The camera that I had with me today was the old NIKON D3000 fitted with the 18-105mm LENS so I’m not going to have the same photos as yesterday.

However, this one of the north-east end of the Ile de Chausey came out really well.

Back here I made myself a cold drink (I’ve finished the bottle of banana concentrate and I’m not going to open another one and leave it standing over winter) and then came back in here.

Something has cropped up just recently that featured on a web page that I wrote quite a few years ago, so I had to review the page, rewrite some of it and edit the rest to bring it up to date. And once you do one, it leads you on to another.

It relinded me of a quote by Fridtjof Nansen that I read in his book In Northern Mists “the more extensive my studies became, the more riddles I perceived – riddle after riddle led to new riddles and this drew me on”

That took me up to teatime. Plenty of mushrooms left so I made a potato and mushroon curry. There’s some left too, so I’ll lengthen it with a small tin of something and finish it off tomorrow.

After lunch I had a listen to the internet radio. It’s the last Friday of the month so I feature a live concert and tonight’s (repeated tomorrow at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK time, 15:00 Toronto/New York time) is one of the best that I have ever attended since the halcyon days of the early-mid 70s.

It took quite a bit of editing and I was keen to hear how it would come out, and I do have to say that it’s one of the finest that I have ever prepared.

It’s repeated TOMORROW at the times that I mentioned, and is podcastable afterwards. It’s well worth a listen.

moonrise eglise notre dame de cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Just before I went to bed I went into the living room to close the window.

And the moon tonight was beautiful. It was rising tonight just above the roofs of the houses in the old medieval walled city and looked rather strange, being well below the spire of the Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

It was obviously one of these essential photography moments so I went and fetched the NIKON D500.

And so right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and as yet, I haven’t fallen asleep. That is some progress, and a good night tonight should help matters even more. I hope.

Thursday 23rd September 2021 – WHAT A BEAUTIFUL …

montmartin sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… day it was today – at least, the afternoon of it.

The sky was as clear as a bell and you could see for miles, way out to sea and all along the coast too. With the sun now shining brightly, and down at a lower angle, it had lit up the town of Montmartin sur Mer as if it had been in a spotlight on a stage.

And when I blew up the photo, I could even make out some people on the beach, and that’s pretty good going for that kind of distance.

st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021The view was just as good further out to sea as well.

It was another one of those days where not only was Jersey really clear on the horizon 58 kilometres away, we could even make out some of the buildings at St Helier.

The big tower over to the left is very intriguing. It really could be anything – the “Marine Peilstand 1 Tower” which was a German Army artillery ranging point or La Tour de Vinde, a Napoleonic-era Martello tower, or even the tower the name of which I have forgotten that overlooks St Brelade’s Bay.

yacht ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further on around to the west, the Ile de Chausey was looking quite good too.

The colours weren’t as brilliant or as visible as we have seen them on the odd occasion here and there but the little white cottages at the foot of the lighthouse stand out quite clearly against the dark background of the hill on which the lighthouse is situated.

There wasn’t much going on out at sea though this afternoon. There was just a yacht drifting about rather aimlessly and what looks like a motor boat on the extreme right, but that was about everything.

trawler cap frehel brittany coast France Eric Hall photo September 2021Finally, finishing off our arc from north-east to due west, from my vantage point on top of the bunker at the back of the lighthouse the view was even better.

Right out there in the distance, 70 kilometres away, the lighthouse and fort at Cap Frehel were visible with the naked eye this afternoon, never mind with the camera’s zoom lens.

And we could even see the headland around at the end of the next bay, which I think is the Ile de Brehat at the mouth of the River Trieux

There’s a trawler out there as well, and we can even see that it has its nets out this afternoon. That’s what I call a really good day.

But I’m glad that some people had a really good day today because I had an absolutely awful one.

The night wasn’t as early as I was hoping and when the alarm went off at 06:00 I was right out of it, absolutely and completely. And having another feverish sweat as well.

There wasn’t even time to finish checking my mails and messages before I had gone west and I ended up, to my complete and utter dismay, back in bed and under the covers again. Twice in three days, after going for a couple of years without doing so. That’s a sign of how I’m feeling right now.

It was about 10:20 when I finally staggered out of bed and I’m not sure if I wasn’t feeling any worse either. It took me an age to pull myself together.

But once I did, I made an Executive Decision, and for the benefit of any new reader (of which there are more than just a few these days), an Executive Decision is one where if it’s the wrong decision, the person who made it is executed.

And the decision is that I’ve changed the time of the alarm from 06:00 to 07:30 to give myself an extra 90 minutes in bed, until this situation resolves itself one way or another. Just on Mondays will I be having an 06:00 alarm call as I have the radio stuff to do.

Once I’d had a coffee I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I had to go to meet my aunt off the ferry that was coming in at 06:00 so I had to get up early. There was half my family in my apartment and that was uncomfortable for a start. When I set off, I didn’t realise actually where I was going to have to go to meet everyone. I ended up at the shop and was in there when suddenly my mother walked in. There was some discussion with the shopkeeper about tickets to go to meet people, all this kind of thing, tickets to come back from the ferry terminal on the bus to where they were dropped off at his shop. He said “if my aunt comes, she’ll have a ticket and we can all arrange it them”. Then I had my mother and my brother trying to argue with me. I said “look, for the last 20-odd years I’ve lived on my own. I’m not used to all these people”. That led to a few ribald remarks from my brother and one or two other people. As we walked back to my apartment I found myself thinking “I wish there were some other apartments in this building vacant where I could stick them and get them out of my hair”. There was something as well that I’d told one of my sisters about a book about a Chinese disc jockey that summed up quite a lot the way that I’d been feeling. All the way back we had “my sister couldn’t be bothered to read that book” all that kind of thing and it was a most uncomfortable dream.

I was out with TOTGA last night, of all people. I’d been to go to a Conference on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday so I went to the hotel which was near Birmingham and booked myself in for the Tuesday night to start on Wednesday morning. There were another 2 people there booking and they were only booking for the Wednesday night and Thursday on the same course. He asked me why, and I recognised one of them. I knew that he lived fairly locally so I said that I imagined that he would come straight from home for the conference and then come back here for the next two nights. I can’t remember how it went on from there but there was some time to kill so I ended up going for a walk with TOTGA. We were hand-in-hand walking and chatting. She asked where I would like to go but I didn’t really have much of an idea. She said “how about the cinema?”. I’d never been to the new cinema in Crewe so I said “yes, fine”. We walked along Wistaston Road. There was a queue outside the cinema and it slowly started to move. The tickets were £27:00 to go in, so I thought that I’d pay for her but she was renewing her annual subscription so she said that she’d pay. I insisted on paying but the woman at the counter said “you know that hers is £999, don’t you?” I replied “right, in that case I’d better let you pay”. We arranged to meet one lunchtime as well. She asked me where we’d meet so I replied “why not the cinema?”. We agreed that we’d meet on the lunchtime at the cinema. Then there was the case of making a snack. She had bought me a pizza from here once so I thought “right, we’ll have a pizza”. Apparently you made your own. The cheese though was like a spread that you spread over the base of your pizza and put your topping on top which I thought was an extremely strange way of going about things but I started to do that.

I’d been working on repairing an old MkII Ford Consul. We’d had the engine all stripped down in situ and reassembled it. The owner, my father, was not very happy about everything. He saw petrol lying around in cans and he went and took them away. I had to clean all of these parts, and in the end someone went and fetched the petrol back so I cleaned all of the parts of the carburettor and reassembled it. There were still a few bits and pieces left to do including fuelling it up because there was very little petrol left in it but someone had brought a portable bed and gone to sleep right up against the car where the fuel filler was so I couldn’t reach it. In the end my father came back and asked how we were doing. I replied that it was almost done. He made a few remarks about a few bits that were missing, all this kind of thing. I said “it’s not trouble at all, they aren’t really necessary until we find out how the car runs”. We went to start it and it started first time and sounded nice. He got into it and took it for a little drive around the block. He said “yes, this is fine”, then drove off somewhere else. I remember saying “he’s not going to get very far with the few bits that are missing off it and there’s no petrol in it” And he should know about the petrol because ha was the one who stopped us filling it”.

But in the middle of all of my blasted family coming around to annoy me like they do, it must have cheered me up to have had an afternoon or evening out involving a Close Encounter with TOTGA. But in real life she had far too much sense to involve herself with me to that kind of extent.

What with one thing and another I missed out on having lunch, because, even though I didn’t feel like it, I had a task to perform

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago I bought a new printer to replace the one that was only printing in blue. I hadn’t installed it yet but this afternoon someone sent me an important communication that I needed to sign and send back, so I had to unpack it and install it.

Although it’s the same make and model as the old one, it’s an upgraded version so it took me a while to figure it out, and when I’d finished installing it, even though it would print, it wouldn’t scan.

Eventually I discovered that despite it being one of these multi-function printers from a major manufacturer, the scanner drivers aren’t included in the installation package, something that left me totally bewildered, so I had to go on-line and hunt them down.

And then I couldn’t make the machine work as I wanted. The control panel is quite complicated but seems to be lacking in functionality. I was surprised that it hadn’t installed a “scan” button on the computer desktop.

So after much binding in the marsh, I eventually discovered that the original “scan” icon for the old printer now points to the new one and once I’d realised that, it was all plain sailing.

All of this made me quite late for my afternoon walk, and when I finally made it outside, I bumped into a neighbour who kept me chatting for half an hour. Not that I had the time to spare, but I can’t spend all my life being totally unsociable with everyone.

While we were chatting, there were all kinds of stuff going on in the air. The powered red hang-glider went by overhead, followed by a couple of Nazguls, a light aeroplane and even the air-sea rescue helicopter, but you can’t interrupt your conversation to take a few pictures. It’s not very polite.

launching site for hang gliders Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One we’d parted company and gone our separate ways, like the Knights in THE HOLY GRAIL? i tried to make amends.

The field from where the Bird-men of Alcatraz take off is right next door to the cemetery, which I always thought was a good idea because if they make a mistake on take-off or landing they won’t have far to go, so I took a random photo to see if I could see anyone.

But they must have come in and untangled themselves from their equipment quite quickly because by the time that I looked, the field was pretty much deserted. The bird-men had flown.

bouchots donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Instead, I concentrated myself on what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

Plenty of beach to be on today of course with the tide being out, but not too many people on it taking advantage of the warm, almost windless afternoon.

Meanwhile, further over at Donville les Bains, they are out there in force at the bouchot beds – the beds where the mussels grow on strings rather than in the sand. You can see the tractors and trailers out there as they harvest today’s catch

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was here, I had a look to see how the repair work on the old medieval city wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux was going on

It’s been a while since we’ve had a close look, so I was hoping to see some substantial progress today. But all that I could see was that some white protective sheet had been erected to cover the scaffolding at the far end.

There are however a couple of guys on the scaffolding down at this end working on the wall so if I can get away early on my way to the physiotherapist tomorrow afternoon I’ll go for a closer look and see how they are doing.

jersey trawler Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While all of this was going on, I was having a good look around out at sea.

As I mentioned earlier, Jersey was standing out quite clearly this afternoon. With some digital enhancing we can see plenty of boats out there this afternoon, like the fishing boat over to the right that might even be the same one that we’ve seen in the bay for the last couple of days.

And it’s not all that usual that we see the eastern end of the island so clearly, yet here it is today. I was trying to identify some of the buildings there by reference to an aerial photo, but without very much success.

boats leaving harbour st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further around to the west there’s a really good view of several boats leaving the harbour at St Helier.

The one on the extreme left of the image caught my eye. Blowing up the image as much as I could, I could see that it has some kind of winching gear on the stern, but it looks too big to be a trawler.

However, there was nothing arriving at or leaving the port round about that time that corresponded with a ship of this nature.

And then we have another couple of trawlers heading our way

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy Eric Hall photo September 2021With nothing else going on over here (as if all of this isn’t enough) I went to have a closer look at Cap Fréhel, which I could see with my naked eye today, and then across the lawn and the car pary around to the end of the headland.

In the past, I can’t recall having seen fishing boats working in the strait here between Granville and Cancale over in Brittany, but that all changed fairly recently when we noticed them starting to try to exploit this area. There’s a trawler out there this afternoon trying to see what it can pull up out of the sea bed.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wonder if this constant search for new fishing grounds is due to the issues over fishing rights further out in the Baie de Granville.

hotels baie de mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned how nice the weather was today and how clear the sky was.

Down at the foot of the Baie de Mont St Michel, while we can’t actually see the Mont until someone removes the Pointe de Carolles and the Cabanon Vauban that sits thereupon, we can see the hotels on the mainland this afternoon.

If you look just slightly to the right of the foot of the Pointe de Carolles you’ll see a few white or light grey buildings. These are where anyone who comes to visit the Mont and stay overnight will usually stay because prices actually on the Mont itself are quite simply out of this world.

And there on the mainland they aren’t really all that much better, I suppose. It’s pretty much a captive audience over there.

l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, it’s “all change” at the chantier naval this afternoon.

As I walked along the path on the top of the cliff towards the port, I could see that things were looking quite different down there this afternoon. And it looks as if there has been a massive clear-out today.

The only boat that is left today is L’Omerta. The other boats that were in there – Hera, Le Pescadore and Catherine-Philippe – have now gone back into the water.

The next question is “who is going to come into the chantier naval to take their place?”.

belle france chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It’s a lot more normal over at the ferry terminal this afternoon.

The new ferry Belle France and the little freighter Chausiaise are moored over there this afternoon. The two Joly France boats are probably out at sea somewhere. And they’ve closed up the jib of the crane as well, which is good news for the hydraulic seals.

Meanwhile, in other news, there’s some kind of jogging team out there on the quayside going for a run. They’ve turned off and are starting to run along the wall around the port de plaisance.

And I’m intrigues to find out what will happen when they reach the end, because there’s a large gap in the wall. Perhaps it’s the start of a triathlon and they are all going to leap into the sea and swim across.

Back in the past, I took part in a triathlon, but only the once. I was busy doing the water leg when I suddenly thought to myself “this is silly. I’m getting the bike all rusty here”.

marquees chicane rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Over the last few days we’ve seen interesting developments taking place in the Rue du Port.

We have the chicane of course, and the marquee that they erected yesterday. But now a couple more marquees have sprung up on the car park of the Fish Processing Plant. This is all starting to become interesting.

And we can see that Marité is back in town as well. She’s been absent for the last couple of days. Well, in fact, she hasn’t really. She’s been nipping out early on the morning tide for a lap around the Ile de Chausey or over to Cancale and not come back until the evening tide.

Hence my mid-afternoon walk has missed her.

aztec lady capo di fora spirit of conrad mini y port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, In other news, we have a couple of new visitors in the port.

The white yacht on the extreme right next to the blue Aztec Lady is called Capo di Fora. Despite her Italian-sounding name, she’s actually flying the Belgian flag, as, incidentally, her neighbour Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went up and down the Brittany coast last summer.

The large grey yacht is called Mini Y, registered in the UK. She’s a “Baltic 85” yacht built in Finland in 2018 of fibre and composite construction and weighs in at just 50 tonnes.

She’s been cruising along the North European coast for the last few days and just recently has been roaming around St Malo and the waters between there and here

Back here in the apartment I had a few things to finish off and then I was just on the point of starting some work when Rosemary called me again.

Once we’d finished, it was long past my tea time so I grabbed an aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit out of the freezer and had that with some pasta. That tasted really nice, and it would have been even nicer had I not dropped the bottle of tabasco sauce in it.

***Note to self – put toilet roll in fridge tonight ***

And now I’m off to bed – going to make the most of my lie-in for the next few days to see if it makes me feel any better. Although I have a feeling that I’ll need more than this to liven me up.

Wednesday 22nd September 2021 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… I’ve actually had a good day today. Not that I’ve done very much in the way of work, but I didn’t crash out. And any day when I don’t crash out is a good day today.

Not that going to bed early helped much, because, as you might expect, I was awake again at 05:20. It’s rather pointless, isn’t it?

After the medication I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. It started off with something somewhere about me having a twin VHS recorder and I was trying to copy films from one tape to another, but it was so long since I’d done it that I couldn’t remember and I wasn’t doing very well at this. I’d tried 1 or 2 but it didn’t seem to work so I was having to go away and sit and think about how I used to do it and try to do it again. I can’t remember much more than that.

Later on I was in Brussels and suddenly had a whim to go down to the Auvergne so I climbed into Caliburn and set off. It was rush hour of course so fighting my way around the ring road was something of a nightmare with all kinds of people doing all kinds of crazy things. Eventually I arrived. I don’t remember the journey and I don’t remember arriving but the next thing that I remember was that I was sitting in what I suppose was my living room on some comfy seat on castors that you could move around with your feet. There was a big roaring fire and Rosemary was there who had presumably lit the fire for me. Later on – because I dictated the first part and then afterwards stepped right back into the place where I left off, AGAIN! – there were 2 girls there and I had to show them how to use the bathroom and everything. I looked outside and it was snowing so I went to send a text to say that it was snowing but then I thought to myself that this can’t be real – in a dream as well! – because it was August. It was getting light so Rosemary who had now transformed herself into that woman whom I knew in Stockport wondered if she should make us all a cup of tea. I thought that that was a great idea. As it became light there was a couple of dogs flying around into the area and they met up with each other and started to fight.

This was actually one of the most realistic voyages that I have had and when I awoke I was all for immediately leaping into Caliburn and leaving Brussels for the south.

This morning I had a little relax and took care of a few personal things that needed attention, and then just as I was about to start work, Rosemary rang – by pure coincidence – and we had another one of our marathon chats that went on for ever – well, until lunch time actually.

After lunch I had a shower, set the washing machine off and then headed off to the physiotherapist

chausiaise buddy m port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we discussed the two cranes on the quayside and how one of them seems to have developed some nomadic tendencies of late.

It’s been off on its travels too since we last saw it. It’s now found a place on the quayside in between Chausiaise, the Ile de Chausey ferry, and Buddy M, the trawler that came over from Ireland the other day for a reason that I have yet to discover.

There’s plenty of traffic on the quayside too and I wonder why that is. Usually there’s no big issue about parking in the public car parks once the tourists have gone home and I’ve no heard of any big event going on in the town today.

trimming vegetation Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On my way downhill in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne on my way towards the Rue des Juifs, I noticed that at last they have started to trim the vegetation.

Usually, I’m all in favour of letting the vegetation grow as much as it likes without doing too much trimming but regular readers of this rubbish will have noticed from some of the blurrings on some of the photos, that the vegetation has grown so high that it’s been getting in the way of my photos and I’m not tall enough to photograph over it.

So I’m hoping that clearing the vegetation will improve my view and improve the quality of my photos. and they need all of the improvement in quality that they can get.

“And who are the 2E et 202E de Ligne?” I hear you ask. The answer is that the Second and Two Hundred and Second Regiments of the Line were the regiments that were stationed in the barracks here where I now live.

From the town centre I pushed on up the hill towards the physiotherapist, stopping more times than I would like or care to admit, in order to catch my breath.

building due for demolition rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I came up to near the top, I stopped to have a look at what was happening to this building.

It used to be a hairdresser’s with apartments over the top but one day about a year or so ago an announcement went up in the window Fermé à cause de péril imminent – “closed on account of an immediate danger”.

A short while later I managed to wangle a view of the Order from the Préfet. The building was said to be in a dangerous, insalubrious condition with a list of faults in the apartments as long as your arm. In view of that, it was no surprise that they obtained an Order for eviction and closing of the premises.

notice of impending demolition rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The building went up for sale a while back, but today I observed that there was a sign affixed to the window.

It seems that the building has now been sold and the new owners obtained planning permission 2 weeks ago to demolish the existing building and replace it with a building of 8 apartments with commercial premises on the ground floor.

This will be another worksite that we shall follow and see how things develop, or, in this case, how they redevelop.

At the physiotherapist he put me through my paces and I actually went for 2:08 in the cross trainer thing before I had to stop for breath. That’s about 20 seconds more than my previous best.

But the sad thing is that the cross trainer is not the street on which you walk. That’s an entirely different proposition.

On my way home I called in at the Carrefour to buy an energy drink to propel me up the hill on the way back. It was quite warm and sweaty and the drink was cold so that was even better.

cherry picker crane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, I stopped on several occasions to catch my breath.

One of them was at the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing a cherry picker down there next to the crane that’s up at that end. It’s still there today, although it’s no clear what has been going on or what it has been doing.

The dark blue container by the crane is one that belongs on Mormandy Trader, by the way. She carries a few of them when she roams about, but on her last trip here (which was early Monday morning, by the way), she must have been fully loaded with other stuff.

windsurfers kayakers chateau de la crête baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up, I had another stop for breath and a sit-down to attack my drink and cool off.

Over in the distance I could see that the sailing school was in action again this afternoon but to my surprise, they aren’t yachts out there but windsurfers.

They must do a little of everything there, because there are a couple of kayakers too whom I could see.

Incidentally, they are in the artificial lagoon there. There’s a wall that traps some of the sea when the tide goes out so that the people on the beach don’t have to walk miles to the water when the tide is out.

setting up marquee rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will also recall that on Saturday I talked about the chicane in the Rue du Port.

As I walked back up the hill towards home I noticed that they now seem to be erecting a marquee down there now, and part of the car park at the Fish Processing Plant is cordoned off too.

So it looks as if maybe this weekend there is going to be an event taking place in the town, so I’ll have to prime myself for another walk.

It must be something to do with the Fish Processing Plant, I reckon, because there must be 100 places where they could set up a large marquee without having to interrupt all of the traffic in the Rue du Port.

The walk back up the final 100 metres of the hill wasn’t as bad as I was fearing although it would have been even better had I not been almost squidged by a car full of Bretons coming the wrong way down a one-way street.

peche a pied beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Before I went back to my apartment I went to see how they were getting on with the peche à pied seeing as by now the tide was miles out

Sure enough, there were quite a few people scavenging around on the rocks down there this afternoon taking advantage of the very low tide and hoping to see what they can find.

One or two people too down at the water’s edge, although I couldn’t tell if they were scavenging for shellfish or paddling in the water. The afternoon was quite nice right now, but it wasn’t that nice. Not for me, anyway.

beach plat gousset Granville donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Of course it goes without saying that I went to have a look down on the beach.

Plenty of beach to be on, but surprisingly apart from the scavengers doing the pêche à pied, there weren’t too many other people there. It’s a Wednesday afternoon and the schools are closed so I would have thought that there would have been many more people down there making the most of our Indian Summer.

And I was correct about the disappearance of the beach cabins on the Plat Gousset. They were taken away yesterday morning, apparently. That probably means that the diving platform out at the Plat Gousset has gone too.

Back here in the apartment I hung out the washing and then made the dough for my next batch of fruit bread because I had the last slice this morning. And almost immediately that I finished, a neighbour came to see me and I had to go to talk to him for about 45 minutes.

After I came back there was just enough time to update a couple of earlier journal entries with the missing dream details before it was time to bake the bread.

While it was at it I stuck some potatoes and the last slice of pie in there, and then blanched the leeks that I’d bought on Monday ready for freezing.

Tea was pie with potatoes, veg, (leeks of course included) and gravy. It was very nice too.

And now that my delicious meal is over and my notes are written, it’s time for bed. Later than I was hoping. I have a whole day at home tomorrow so I’m expecting something to pop up at the last minute to disturb me.

Tuesday 21st September 2021 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… night I had last night.

For a start, it was just after midnight when I went to bed, which means that leaving the bed at 06:00 is bound to be something of a struggle.

And then, when someone has a night as disturbed as I had, it makes things even more difficult.

It was hardly a surprise that, after I’d made my bread dough and with my Welsh lesson looming, I did something that I haven’t done for several years, and that was to go back to bed. That is a real disappointment of course, but as things stood, I was in no fit state to face a Welsh lesson.

You might think that this is something of an exaggeration, but the fact that there are no less than seven files recoded on the dictaphone during the night, that tells its own story.

The medication was more than enough for me to cope this morning but with no bread in the house I had to force myself to make the dough ready to bake later on – and then I went back to bed for three hours.

It’s no surprise to anyone that when I awoke at 10:00 I felt even worse than I had been at 06:00 but the feeling soon wore off once I’d had a coffee. I gave the bread its second kneading and then came back in here to prepare for my lesson.

The bread went into the oven and I went off for my Welsh lesson, which all passed quite well. It seems that the extra three hours of sleep did what I had hoped that it would.

My bread was delicious, nice and soft and spongy and made some really nice sandwiches. And afterwards I came back in here where I … errr … crashed out for 45 minutes. The extra three hours of sleep wasn’t that good, was it?

But then I turned my attention to the contents of “War And Peace” on the dictaphone. I’d been on a ship last night and I’d met a young girl and we had become quite friendly. We were chatting quite a lot and it turned out that she didn’t live all that far away from me. I heard that she was attending some kind of birthday party so I went over to the town where she lived and found where this birthday party was taking place in a pub. I’d ordered some clothes for her for her birthday. When I arrived at the pub I saw another girl whom I knew and quite liked go upstairs, and then another one! I thought “3 of my favourite girls upstairs in this room. Is it going to be confusing if I walk in there because I’m bound to end up talking to the wrong one. I was arranging to pay for these things and I’d been working, I wasn’t very clean, I wasn’t shaved and I had my glasses on and not my contact lenses in (and so this dates it to prior to 1996 when I had my laser surgery. First of all down the stairs came a girl who was exactly like her except that she was about 7 or 8, wearing a bottle-green party dress thing. She cleared off. Someone else came down whom I knew or in whom I was interested, then a third girl and it was she. She said that so-and-so had seen me so she’d come down to say “hello”. I replied “I was going to come and see you in a minute”. When I saw that other girl in the bottle-green dress, I mentioned it to her. She burst out laughing and said that she was her sister. She’d been on the boat with us but I didn’t remember her at all. We were talking but there were some people in the way of us so they moved out of the way, this girl came round and we squidged in on a sofa. She ended up almost sitting on me. We had a chat and I said “when these things are ready (which was going to be in about 15 minutes time) I’d bring them up”. So she went back upstairs to join this party. I was waiting for these things and ended up watching a football match. Pionsat were playing right by a river. The ground was on the other side of the river but it was flat except for one big rock in the way. The centre-forward playing for Pionsat was someone whom I didn’t know but he had some kind of lucky talisman like a big skin with a black cat skin attached to it. He was in a good goal-scoring position but his shot was blocked and blocked again so he went for his talisman and started to shake it out, ready to go back in and score this goal which he didn’t do. Then I found out that they were losing 3-1 which was a surprise to me because I’d only ever seen the ball go up the other end. I hadn’t seen it go towards the Pionsat goal at all. Then I thought that I’d better get a move on because i have to wash, shave and change and pick up these clothes. I said that I’d only be 15 minutes but I’d been side-tracked again. This party will be over and this girl will be gone by the time that I arrive there if I don’t get a move on And here I am, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as usual.

There were these people, a mother, father and a girl, and 2 other young kids there as well so that was 5. And I remembered this girl from that voyage. They were there, dressed in navy blue school uniform-type of thing, all of the children. I was trying to organise myself to go to see this girl. As I was with this family we seemed to be walking further away from where all of this was taking place and of course I really wanted to go towards it to meet this girl again and chat to her. My brother ended up talking to one girl, a flighty, flirty girl who was one of these indeterminate ages and there was something going on there that was rather disagreeable I suppose and in the end my brother took umbrage and flounced off. I think that he had asker her age, something like that, or she had asked him his age and she had made some remark about it. After my brother had gone I asked her how old she was. She replied “18” and just taking her A Levels. We had a chat about O Levels and A Levels and schools. Then she came to go for her French Oral exam and my brother was back by this time so she went rooting through my cupboard to find an ignition switch, starter motor, a few bits of wiring, everything. She festooned my brother with them with the idea that he would be some kind of car that she could describe how everything worked, how it started up, how fuel got there, everything as part of her French Oral exam.

Incidentally, all of the above is a combination of about four different sessions on the dictaphone. It seems that I was dictating my notes and then falling back into sleep again, stepping straight back into the dream where I had left off. This kind of thing happens maybe once every few months, but to have four consecutive dreams on the same subject on the same night that dovetail one into the other is something quite remarkable. Especially as I seem to be regressing into my teenage years – wishful thinking, I expect.

I haven’t finished yet either. I was with Marianne and we’d been corresponding for some time anonymously and I think that she had the assumption that I was a woman. Then we met and were talking about all kinds of various things. She was talking about some man whom she had met who had even come out to where she lived and brought her a pile of buckets of water to do something. I said “no-one is likely to do that where I live”. Then the talk moved round to Brussels. She asked me what it was like living near Schuman. I replied that I didn’t live there any more – I’d moved when I’d retired so she wanted to know what this was all about – the “retired”, so I started to tell her a few problems about what happened at work and my job.

And later I was back on my travels again looking at an old AA map that I’d cut out of an old AA handbook. I’d seen where Frome was in Somerset and seen the coast and the Severn Estuary and noticed that there were some ferries so I went down there and took a ferry across to Wales. I was explaining to the guy about how I liked the water and how I liked boats. We were having a chat but he walked away in the middle of our conversation and I was rather upset. I was taking photos but my camera wouldn’t work again. That was extremely annoying. Someone next to me was taking brilliant photos with a really long lens. I don’t know whether I’d had an ill-health thing but I ended up at a woman’s house. She had a family of 3 or 4 kids maybe. She made me a coffee and I just sat there and so on. The kids came in and everyone else made themselves a coffee so I went to ask this woman but she was busy making the beds. She said that she was going to make herself a sandwich in a minute and started talking about the mess that the garden was in when she was on her own.

Finally I had to catch a ship so I had to take a train and change trains. I had all my luggage with me, loads of it, and had to arrange for someone to help me at the railway station to cross London. I reached the railway station eventually in London but didn’t wait for someone – I went to a nearby hotel from where they came. Eventually they found someone for me and he escorted me to a room. That wasn’t what I wanted at all. In the end I had to wait for him to go. There was something about when my train pulled in at one station the other train that I needed pulled up alongside it. I could step out of one door into another, but the doors weren’t open alongside so I had to go all the way round and up the stairs and across the walkway and back down the other side. I’m not too sure about all of that. But there I was in the hotel room and had to get everything together. Someone was there delaying me and I didn’t have half my things. They were talking about refugees and some Fiji child who had been abandoned on a station. In the end with about a minute to spare I managed to grab everything and threw it all into an Ikea bag and dived down to the station. There, everyone was beckoning me. I couldn’t find my train. In the end, it wasn’t a train that I wanted but a boat. We reached this quayside harbour place. Someone wanted to check my ticket but I showed him the wrong one from when I was in Germany the week before. Eventually the boat came in. It was a little, I dunno, 40-seater something, not at all the ship that I was expecting to go to the Arctic. There were all these animals, wildlife around but no-one knew what they were. One woman with us dived in to go and swim with some of them. There were cats there fishing, pulling the fish out and eating them and everything. It was nothing like that I expected at all, this trip. This boat was tiny.

Is it any surprise that after all of that during the night, I was totally exhausted.

And I wish that I knew who the girl was. I have a feeling that I know her, but she wasn’t one of our “usual suspects”. That’s the kind of thing that annoys me. I feel that I’m missing out on something really good.

peche a pied place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021In between all of that, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

And in a change from the advertised programme, I wandered off to have a look down onto the rocks because the tide was quite well out this afternoon.

Sure enough, there were several people at the peche à pied, scavenging amongst the rocks for shellfish and picking them up to put in their buckets. What you might call “flexing your mussels”, I suppose.

beach plat goussset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And then I could return to my usual routine of going round to look down on the beach.

The wind has dropped from yesterday and while it was a little colder, it was rather brighter. Hence there were a few more people down on the beach that there were yesterday.

And it looks as if I’m not the only one who thinks that the summer season is over and that winter is on its way. Over there on the Plat Gousset we can see that the beach cabins have been removed. We’ve seen the storms that crash down on there during the winter and if they didn’t put the cabins into hibernation, they would come back next season to a pile of matchwood.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out there looking down onto the beach, my other eye was roaming around looking at what was going on out at sea.

There wasn’t anything close at hand but right out to sea on the way to the Channel Islands there was what looked like a fishing boat out there working.

She’s far too far out for me to be able to identify her but I was wondering if she was the same one who was out there yesterday but is now trawling further out in the bay

boats ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Surprisingly enough, given how things have been this last while, there seemed to be plenty of activity out by the Ile de Chausey.

There are at least two large yachts out there, and there’s also a large powered boat heading this way from the island.

She’s too far out to be able to identify, even blowing up and enhancing the image, but I did notice thathalf an hour or so after I returned home one of the Joly France ferries put into port.

And look how clear the sky is. The colours on the Ile de Chausey are quite evident this afternoon, even though the island is 18 kilometres away.

fishermen inshore shellfishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Closer to home, there was a small boat just offshore close to the end of the headland.

It was stationary and judging by what I could see, they had fishing roads raised so it looked as if they were fishermen looking for a good place to cast their lines.

But as I watched, one if the inshore shellfishing boats complete with buoys and, presumably, lobster pots came around the corner. The boat passed very close to our boat-load of fishermen and I don’t suppose that they appreciated it very much.

Not that I know very much about fishing, but turbulent water as is churned up by a fast-moving boat is not the place to go casting your lines, and most boats would steer well clear if they notice a boat out there fishing.

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 aircraft out there in the Baie de Granville heading back towards the airfield.

She’s one of our aeroplanes from the Aero Club de Granville – F-GSBV, the Robin DR400 180. She had taken off at 15:22, flown down to Avranches, back up and around the Ile de Chausey and finally came in to land at 15:58

There was plenty of path for me to walk before I could come in to land at my apartment. I went to have a look from my viewpoint on the bunker to see if I could see down to Cap Fréhel but despite the clear view this afternoon, it only went so far and I couldn’t see right dow that far.

Instead, I walked down across the lawn and the car park down to the end of the headland but there was nothing going on at all there, not even anyone sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

le pescadore catherine philippe l'omerta hera chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Instead of loitering there I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was happening down in the harbour.

And we seem to have had a tactical substitution today in the chantier naval. It made me thing that it was a good idea to have gone for a wander around there yesterday morning because Cherie d’Amour, whom we saw yesterday having come in earlier that day by the looks of things, has now disappeared.

“Gone! And never called me mother!”

However we still have four boats down there because the trawler Hera has now appeared in the yard and is now up on blocks over by the portable boat lift. It’s all go down in the chantier naval.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A short while ago I’d noticed that there was a large boat heading towards the port, so I was interested to see who was moored at the ferry terminal.

As it happens, there was only the very new Belle France moored up over there. That means that the boat out there at the Ile de Chausey heading for home will be one of the two Joly France boats.

But look at the crane just there. There doesn’t seem to be anyone working it right now, but leaving the jib in the fully-extended position like that is going to put quite a weight on the hydraulic seals and they won’t be lasting all that long.

crane quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There was plenty of activity over in the inner harbour this afternoon.

We have two portable cranes in there, one in the loading bay where the Jersey freighters and the other round by where the gravel boats used to tie up. That one doesn’t often move about but it was moving about this afternoon as I was watching. You can see the driver in the cab.

The big yellow marker buoys that were in the gravel bins back there now seem to have moved. Does this mean that we are going to have another major delivery of gravel and hence another gravel boat coming in. I hope so.

crane quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The other crane, the one in the loading bay, was also busy too.

There are two small lorries down there, one with what looks like a cherry picker on the back and the other one with what looks like a HIAB. This might indicate that there might be a repair about to be made to the crane, but I didn’t see any activity at the lorries.

That was really all of the activity that was going on down there. With nothing else to report, I headed off for home and my coffee. It wasn’t warm enough for a banana smoothie.

buddy m port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One final thing to do though before I went home.

When I returned home yesterday I did some research into the trawler Buddy M and found that there was no photograph of her on the marine database.

The photo that I took yesterday, I didn’t like all that much so I took a better one while I was out this afternoon and uploaded it to the marine database.

In case you are wondering, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I host and maintain the AIS (Association for Information Systems) beacon for the port that picks up the pulses from the transmitters of the boats to indicate their position, and this gives me an entitlement to the fleet database and the positioning radar

Back here I carried on with my transcribing and then went for tea. Rice with taco rolls, made with the remainder of the stuffing from yesterday filled out with a few kidney beans. I’m still not having an dessert though, trying my best to keep down my weight.

But now it’s bedtime and I really am going to have an early night. But after all the sleep that I’ve had just recently, I’ll probably still be awake when the alarm goes off tomorrow.

Monday 20th September 2021 – SOME GOOD NEWS TODAY!

And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

I went to pay the laboratory for my blood test this morning and after they registered my Carte Vitale – the entitlement card for the French Social Services, they told me that I’m registered as a Maladie Grave – a “Serious Illness” case, I don’t have to pay a thing.

So as well as the nice nurses at Castle Anthrax, we now have free blood tests. This illness does have some compensations, but I’ve had to look hard in order to find them.

This morning I was up quite quickly as the alarm went off, thanks to the early night that I had, and with nothing on the dictaphone I must have had a very peaceful, restful night for a change.

After my medication I came back here to check my mails and messages.

Do any of the regular readers of this rubbish recall A PHOTO THAT I POSTED a few weeks ago?

photo from advertisement Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When I posted it I mentioned that the photo was being used on the internet as an advert for a piece of photo-editing software and that when the photo came round again I would post it for you to compare.

It’s definitely the same photo as you can see, so there is something weird going on here with this. I smell something fishy, and I’m not talking about the contents of Baldrick’s apple crumble either.

Having checked my mails and messages I then attacked the next radio programme. And despite a couple of stops for coffee and for breakfast, it was all done and dusted and ready to go by 11:05 and I don’t recall having prepared a programme as quickly as this one.

11:05 I’d finished my radio programme, and 11:06 I was on my way out to the shops to buy salad and fruit.

chicane rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There were roadworks in the Rue du Port and so we had to go through a sort-of chicane to head into town.

What complicated the issue was that firstly I was stuck behind a grockle in a mobile home crawling along at 10mph admiring the seagulls and secondly, a coach had decided to stop there despite the narrow road and the “no waiting” signs in order to discharge his passengers.

After a couple of foul oaths and curses I eventually made it to LIDL and did a lap around the shop for a pile of stuff. And forgot to buy the syrup for the soft drinks too

The laboratory closes at 12:00 for lunch and it was 12:01 when I pulled up on the car park. I just about beat the staff to the door and I was lucky in that they agreed to see me. So with the good news about my account, I headed for home and a coffee.

cherie d'amour chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way out to the shops I went past the chantier naval where I noticed that there was a new occupant this morning.

On the way back I nipped into there to see if I could find her name. Actually, she’s not a new boat because we have seen her before when she was in the chantier naval a while back.

She’s one of the smaller inshore shellfish boats called Cherie d’Amour. She’s usually been seen – for the last few weeks at least – sitting on the silt in the outer tidal harbour and not travelling very far, if at all.

Ordinarily I would have made further enquiries about her but there was no-one around her to ask.

le pescadore chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was there, there was another task that I had to do, one about which I’ve been talking for a while.

There’s been a trawler in the chantier naval for the last several weeks and i’ve never been able to find out her name. But seeing as the paintwork was almost finished I imagined that her name would have been painted on the wind deflector above the cabin windscreen.

Sure enough, they’ve repainted her name and I can now tell you that she’s called Le Pescadore. She’s one whom we’ve seen before although I’m not surprised that I didn’t recognise her because back then, she was painted light blue and yellow. But she’s certainly carrying the same registration number

l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On my way back to Caliburn I went to have a good look at L’Omerta.

She’s a catamaran-type, which explains why they are happy for her to sit in the silt when the tide goes out, and I bet that there’s a really good view from that lower window when she’s out at sea.

One thing that I noticed is that she has two screws or propellors, one on each pontoon. I don’t recall having seen that on a small catamaran before.

So back at the apartment I made myself a coffee. That was a good morning’s work and it’s one less thing to worry about.

There was a huge pile of washing-up to do because I’d forgotten to switch the water back on after my return from Leuven. It wasn’t until late last night that I realised and switched it back on. And now having clean crockery and cutlery I could make lunch.

That’s the last of the bread so tomorrow morning first thing I shall have to make some more.

After lunch I listened to the radio programme that will be broadcast on Friday night and the one that I’d prepared this morning. Friday night’s is going to be a belter – a live concert from the Crystal Palace Bowl and it’s one of the best that I have ever done

whitecap waves people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk, so with no Nazguls about this afternoon to threaten me I could make my way safely to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach.

Down on the beach there were very few people, and that’s no surprise because despite the sunshine and the bright sky; it was howling a gale out there.

You can tell that by looking at the whitecaps on the waves as they crash down onto the beach. I know that we have plenty of wind around here, but this was one of the strongest winds that we have had for a little while.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So much so that when I wwent to look out at the sea, I had to take off my cap in case it blew away.

But right out there in the Baie de Granville there was one of the smaller shellfishing boats battling away among the waves. It was having quite a battle too, trying to make progress against the weather.

There weren’t too many people around on the footpath this afternoon and none of the aeroplanes from the airfield taking to the air so I pretty much had the path to myself as I set off towards the lighthouse.

sparrowhawk fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I reached the end, I discovered that I wasn’t alone.

There were one or two people here but there was also one of our sparowhawks hovering around keeping an eye open for anything edible moving around at the foot of the cliffs. And while I was looking, he didn’t seem to be having much success.

And while we are on the subject of people not having very much success, there was a fishing boat down there just offshore. He was too far out for me to see what he was doing or if he was catching anything, but we have yet to see anyone pull anything out of the water.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The tide was too far out for me to expect to see anyone fishing from the rocks at the end of the headland at the Pointe du Rock.

There were however two people sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban braving the gale-force wind although I’m not sure why because there wasn’t anything at all going on out there this afternoon.

By the looks of things they were picking up messages on their mobile phones, but I’m sure that there must be plenty of other places nearby that are much more comfortable than down there to do it.

baie de mont st michel le loup kairon plage Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further on around the headland I could have a really good view of Le Loup, the marker light on the rocks at the entrance to the harbour.

The tide is out so we can see the rocks upon which the light sits, but we have also seen it when the tide has been right in up to the upper of the two red rings, and we can see the tide mark that is the more usual level of high tide.

In the background we can see the beach at Kairon Plage. It looks like quite a nice beach, which it is, and there are quite a few people on it too. The headland here at the Pointe du Roc acts as a windbreak so that it’s not as cold over there as it is here.

le pescadore, catherine philippe cherie d'amour l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further on along the path I came to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval.

We can see all of the four boats that we noticed this morning. From left to right we have Le Pescadore, Catherine Philippe, Cherie d’Amour and L’Omerta. Only four boats down there, which is a far cry from the heady days of a couple of weeks ago when we had no fewer than seven.

There are plenty of vehicles down there so it seems that there is plenty of work going on with the boats. I’m half-expecting to come down here one of these days soon to find that another one or two boats have gone back into the water.

yellow autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was looking down at the chantier naval, I was overflown.

In fact, I was wondering if I was going to see some aerial activity (apart from the sparrowhawk of course) with there being no Nazguls, no aeroplanes from the airfield, and too much cloud to see if there were any full-size aeroplanes going past at 35,000 feet.

However I was not going to be disappointed because rattling past overhead on its way back to the airfield came the yellow autogyro that we see quite often. And he was making heavy weather of the trip back, fighting his was through the headwinds. His rotor was going round at 13 to the dozen but he was barely inching along.

trawler buddy m port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way home to the apartment I noticed this strange trawler moored in the inner harbour.

She’s one whom I haven’t seen before so I had to make a few enquiries. She’s called Buddy M and she’s arrived here earlier this afternoon from her home port of Cork in Ireland.

Tomorrow morning I shall have to check the newspapers to find out why she arrived here because it’s a pretty strange voyage for a trawler like this to undertake.

Back here I made myself a smoothie and then spent another while sorting out some photos from several years ago until it was time for tea.

At the shop this morning I’d bought a pepper and some mushrooms so I made myself another really nice stuffed pepper – and to do the washing up again now that I have mor ehot water.

And with my notes now written, I’m off to bed. I have bread to make tomorrow and a Welsh lesson too, so I can’t hang around.

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.