Author Archives: Epichall

Wednesday 1st December 2021 – ONCE AGAIN I HAVEN’T …

… done anything like as much today as I had wanted to.

There have been a variety of reasons for this – not the least being that I had yet another dreadful night, wide-awake at 05:20 and lying there waiting for the alarm to ring at 07:30. I tell you – I’m thoroughly sick of all of this.

As you might expect, it took a good few minutes for me to summon up the energy to leave my bed this morning and then I was pretty much wasted for the rest of the day.

After the medication I had a shower to clean myself up and bang on time Laurent came round for me. We went off to meet Thierry and then the three of us went off to meet Father Christmas and his blasted elves.

As I thought, the interview turned out to fall rather flat. I could understand the logic (whether I agreed with it or not) of submitting the questions in advance, I totally disagreed with the idea of “suggested replies”.

Children have a really fertile imagination and they need to be encouraged to develop it. And sometimes they can come up with some fascinating responses. But having them blindly reading off a script is a pretty dismal activity and it destroys the spontaneity of it all.

Having them all sitting around a table was another bad idea too because it’s always the more powerful ones who are heard. I would have interviewed them one by one where the kids could have responded without any peer pressure and chosen the pick of the answers.

In other words, this affair was micro-managed to an overwhelming degree and Laurent and I were quite disappointed about how it turned out. What had given us the idea for this was that two years ago wandering around the streets one night we had come across Father Christmas and subjected him to an off-the cuff interview. That was a resounding success.

While I was there I took a few photos of Father Christmas and his elves but I can’t publish them of course.

Back here Laurent came in for a coffee and we had a good chat about a few things, and made a few plans for the future.

After he left I went outside to wipe the rust-proofing liquid off the wheels and dry them, but painting them was out of the question. There was a howling gale again and it was sleeting.

Lunch was late again and afterwards I had the morning’s photos to edit and send off. They’ll choose one to illustrate our programme when it’s ready to broadcast.

trawler thora arriving at port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Once I’d finished that it was time for me to go off for my physiotherapy session.

The wind was if anything rather worse than it had been earlier and it was rather difficult to walk.

And I wasn’t the only one having difficulty moving around either. There was a trawler out at sea battling with the storm to come into port and behind her, Thora was being thrown about by the elements.

When I took this photo she was actually being blown sideways by the wind and was coming into port rather like a crab.

pointing wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Down at the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret the pointing of the wall was proceeding apace.

Mind you, I’m not sure what was happening there earlier. On our way back from Father Christmas there was an ambulance and a police car parked up at the side.

The personnel of the vehicles seemed to be quite interested in what was going on down below but as I wasn’t driving and as we had other things to do, I couldn’t go over and have a look.

If it’s anything interesting or important, it’ll be in the local paper in the morning.

Halfway up the hill towards the physiotherapist’s, I had to stop. Not because I was out of breath but because we suddenly had another torrential downpour. I had to nip into a doorway and put on my rain jacket.

It reminded me of how Superman and all of these other superheroes used to dash into telephone boxes and emerge seconds later with their underpants on outside their trousers. Where do they go to change now with the rise of mobile ‘phones and the demise of telephone boxes?

And then of course, there was my brother. He was often seen with his underpants on outside his trousers, but that was less to do with any superhero status and more to do with the fact that he didn’t have both paddles in the water.

No tilting platform today. There was the usual 5 minutes on the cross trainer and then a load of kinetic exercises that somehow took their toll of me.

She had me once more walking along this narrow beam and throwing a ball about. She was impressed with my reflexes co-ordination but as I have said before, my previous life as a goalkeeper and wicket-keeper had a lot to do with that.

father christmas decorations Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On the way home I came via the Place General de Gaulle.

On the way up to the physiotherapist’s I’d seen a few council workmen on up on ladders working on the trees and I was interested to see what they had been doing with them.

By the time that I returned, the workmen had gone but I noticed that some of the trees were now festooned with decorations. And if you ask me my opinion, it’s all a load of balls.

christmas decorations rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of years ago Strawberry Moose reckoned that the Christmas decorations in the Rue Paul Poirier WERE ALL BALLS too.

THis year though, there’s been a change, and not before time either. This year we have the street lined with artificial “Christmas Trees”.

Now what was I saying a few days ago about them recycling the same old decorations year after year and wishing that they would make a change?

Clearly, a great many people are very interested in the contents of my pages and pay them a great deal of attention.

La Bavolette Ii thora marité belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021A short while ago we saw Thora having a bit of a struggle to make it into port.

Well she finally arrived, as you can see in this photo, moored up at the loading bay in front of Marité, with Belle France and the newer Joly France ferry – the one with the smaller upper-deck superstructure, moored alongside her.

The little trawler in the background is an interesting boat. She’s called La Bavolette II – at least, for the moment. And I mean that too because in the past she’s been known by several different names.

She was built in 1982 out of wood and displaces 40 tonnes

philcathane l'ecume II port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021This trawler is much more interesting though.

Not Philcathane, of course – not that she isn’t interesting in herself but she hasn’t had the adventures that the other one in the photo has had.

You can tell by her registration number – beginning with “J” – that she’s a Boat from Jersey and how long is it since we’ve seen a boat from the Channel Islands here in port with all of the shenanigans that are going on right now?

There’s a great deal of talk about illegal fishing right now and this trawler – she’s called L’Ecume II by the way, can tell you an awful lot about that because on two occasions about which I know, her crew has been in the dock and emerged with their pockets far lighter than they were when they went in.

And not only that, 18 months ago she found herself stuck on a sandbank because her helmsman had fallen asleep at the wheel.

In other words, she’s quite a well-known boat, for one reason or another.

storm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021However I wasn’t going to hang around and admire her for too long.

As you can see, out in the Baie de Mont St Michel there was quite a storm brewing up and the gale-force wind was blowing it my way.

As a result, I wasn’t going to hang around. I was going to head for home and a hot mug of coffee, and make plans about what I was going to do for the rest of the week. I actually have a day at home without any interruptions at all – but just you watch all that change.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Before I went in I went to have a look at the beach

And that was rather a waste of time because there wasn’t any beach to look at today. The tide was right in now and the water was at the foot of the cliffs. All I had for my pains was a good battering by the wind.

Back here I had my coffee and sat down to try to do some work.

Checking my messages there was a mail from my Welsh course telling me what ingredients I need for the Christmas Cake I’ll be baking on-line on Friday evening. Treacle isn’t available here so I ended up asking Liz for advice on a replacement and chatting to her for quite a while.

For some reason, tea was quite an effort tonight. I’m experiencing brain-fade – not quite as bad as the nonsense I was churning up last night – but I couldn’t think of what to have for tea. I’d really run aground.

In the end I settled for a burger and pasta. That was the best that I could do.

Right now, although I haven’t crashed out today, I’m thoroughly exhausted so I’m off to bed where I hope that I’ll sleep until I awaken.

But not much hope of that, I’m afraid. All of this is really depressing me.

Tuesday 30th November 2021 – I HAVEN’T DONE …

… anything like as much today as I had wanted to. It’s been a story of continued interruptions.

Well, actually, it hasn’t. There’s only been one unexpected interruption, and that was Rosemary ringing me for one of our marathon chats in the middle of the afternoon. and so where the rest of the time went, I really don’t know but it certainly went somewhere.

For a change I had a reasonable night’s sleep – or, at least I think I did, but I really can’t remember. There is some stuff on the dictaphone but unfortunately I have as yet to get around to transcribing it.

First thing this morning after the medication and checking my mails and messages, I cracked on to finish off the journal entry from yesterday. In case you hadn’t noticed, I fell asleep in the middle of writing it up. I’d had a hard day yesterday too.

When I’d finished I sat down to write up my notes from the Welsh lessons from last week and from the weekend, and then to prepare for this weeks. And unfortunately I ran out of time so I went in only half-prepared.

That proved to be my downfall too. Most of the lesson went quite well but I ended up in a Zoom Room with the tutor where I forgot the word for “fifteen” … “it’s undeg pump” – ed.

After a late lunch I went outside and spent an hour or so cleaning, wire-brushing and rustproofing the two wheels that are in the back of Caliburn. When they are dry, I’ll put the first coat on and then the second one on Thursday afternoon ready for the new tyres on Friday.

Back here Rosemary phoned me just as I was sitting down with my coffee and we had a lengthy chat as usual.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Eventually, when I managed to make it outside I went over to have a look at the beach.

And today, there wasn’t any beach at which I could look. The tide is now almost all the way in so that was that as that as far as the beach went. There wasn’t anyone down there at all which is no surprise.

There wasn’t anyone about out at sea either. And that’s despite the tide being well in. That’s the time that you would expect all of the boats to be heading for home in order to be in before the harbour gates close.

workmen's compound place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was out there on the car park I went over to have a look at the workmen’s compound which was blown all the way across the car park in the storm.

By the looks of things they’ve been out collecting the various parts of the compound from around the place and grouped them all together where they used to be. They haven’t reassembled it as yet but I suppose that that’s a job for another time.

There wasn’t anyone else out there except me this afternoon so I could go for a walk in peace and quiet without having to worry about anyone else and whatever infection they might be carrying around with them.

broken concrete posts bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Round on the lawn at the end of the headland there’s a pile of old concrete pillars that they have collected from somewhere.

No matter how strong the storm was, I don’t think that it’s caused this kind of damage. By the looks of things these pillars haven’t been outside in the weather so I wonder if they have managed to fight their way into another one of the old bunkers and pulled them out.

Across the car park I went, down to the end of the headland. There was nothing going on out at sea today and there was no-one down on the bench at the cabanon vauban either, so I pushed on along the path.

chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was no change in situation at the chantier naval so I had a look over at the ferry terminal.

Over there right at the front of the queue is Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey, and behind her is one of the Joly France ferries. There’s no step in the stern so she must be the older one of the two boats.

That was about everything that was going on out there this afternoon so I came on home for a coffee and to finally make a start on some work – not that I did very much this afternoon. For some reason I was feeling quite exhausted.

Tea tonight was veggie balls with pasta and veg, and then I reorganised the freezer to make room for the curries that I made yesterday. The freezer is pretty much over-full. I should really have bought a larger freezer, but I would have filled it with other stuff instead so it wouldn’t make any difference.

So now I’m off to bed. I’m radioing tomorrow – going to interview a pile of elves. I have all of the exciting jobs, haven’t I?

Monday 29th November 2021 – SAY HELLO, EVERYONE …

marité normandy warrior port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… to Normandy Warrior.

Moored down there behind Marité is the newest freighter to visit the port. You won’t have seen her before because we are lucky enough today to catch her on her maiden voyage to the town

She’s the sister ship to Normandy Trader and you can tell them apart because Normandy Trader has a small upper deck behind her bridge on which lightweight articles can be loaded.

normandy warrior port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A few months ago I mentioned that the crew of Normandy Trader were talking about buying another boat.

What I had assumed that they meant was that they were going to replace her with a larger ship, but actually there’s an issue about licences and permits for larger boats and so they have managed to track down a sister ship and they are going to be operating the two simultaneously.

So here is Normandy Warrior busily being loaded with a huge pile of freight that has accumulated over the last few days for her first return journey from Granville to Jersey.

replacing christmas decorations Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Something else that has been going on today has been the repair to the town following the devastation of Storm Arwen.

The Christmas decorations in the Place General de Gaulle were savaged quite badly. Father Christmas was blown halfway down the street and the trees that they had erected to surround him were all bowled over.

As I walked past on my way to the physiotherapists they were busy re-erecting the trees. Santa had already been restored to his previous place, so let’s hope that he stays there this time.

broken slates rue general patton Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021That wasn’t the only sign of a tragedy either.

As I was walking home along the Rue General Patton I was trying to avoid all of the broken slates that were littering the floor.

It seems that there has been a roof quite badly damaged in the storm and there were broken slates everywhere. This is going to be quite a bill for someone to have to pay

It’s actually quite a testament to our building that despite being exposed to the full force of the wind, we seem to have escaped quite lightly.

school children college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021However I’ve no idea what might be happening here.

When I returned with Caliburn from having his windscreen replaced, all of the schoolkids from the College Malraux were outside on the public car park hanging around.

Whatever had caused it had happened before I arrived so I wasn’t able to identify a reason, but the fact that all of the fire doors are open seems to indicate that there has been a fire alarm and the school has been evacuated.

While we are on the subject of alarms, my alarms didn’t go off this morning. Not that it made any difference because I was wide awake. I’d had another bad night where it seemed that I hadn’t slept at all.

And seeing that there are no files recorded on the dictaphone (and it’s been quite a while since that has happened, hasn’t it?) that’s a distinct possibility.

So I fell out of bed at 06:00 and staggered off for my medication. Then back here I checked my mails and messages and then had an hour or so working on the radio programme that I should be doing this week, although when, I don’t know.

A shower was next, to get myself cleaned up, and then I changed the bedding. I’m not sure when I did that last but one thing that I did notice last night was that it was high (and I do mean “high”) time that I changed it.

And then I put set the washing machine on the go.

Having made sure that Caliburn would start, I prepared myself to leave and then headed off to the windscreen fitter’s. And with the temperature being at 2.5°C, I put my woolly hat on my woolly head for the first time this winter.

Having dropped off Caliburn I went for a walk – to buy the stuff that I need to clean his wheels, to go to Bio-Coop to see if they had any vegan cheese (which they didn’t) and then to LeClerc for a coffee, where I fell asleep for 20 minutes.

When Caliburn was ready I picked him up and drove home, and I was amazed about how pitted and grimy his old windscreen must have been.

unloading scaffolding place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Back at the building there was someone here unloading a scaffolding.

Not to climb up onto the roof, but they were actually taking it inside the building.

These rooms are quite high and to reach the ceiling is not very easy at all. It looks as if someone is redecorating and the scaffolding must be to enable them to paint the ceiling.

Back here I sat down to carry on with the radio programme but unfortunately I dozed off again. As a result I had rather a late lunch.

After lunch I tracked down the rest of the things that I need to give Caliburn his showroom appearance and then headed off to town.

black pearl spirit of conrad Courrier des Iles charles marie anakena aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury I could see that a trawler was just pulling up at the Fish Processing Plant.

She’s Black Pearl, one of the newer trawlers in the port whom we saw sail into port a while back.

Also in the shot are a load of the hire yachts that re laid up over the winter. We have, from left to right, Spirit of Conrad on whom we went up the Brittany coast 18 months or so ago, and then Charles Marie with the little Courrier des Iles moored against her.

Over on the right, Anakena is moored against the quayside with Aztec Ladymoored against her.

installing christmas lights avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021With the Rampe du Monte à Regret being closed while they repoint the wall, I carried on down the Rue des Juifs.

Down in the Avenue de la Liberation the Council’s cherry picker was out installing more Christmas lights. I wonder what this lot of lights is going to be like this year.

Heading through town, I climbed back up the Rue Couraye towards the physiotherapists, stopping off at Carrefour on the way. I forgot the tomatoes this weekend and I bought a can of energy drink to help my climb the hill back home.

At the physiotherapist’s she tightened up the screw on the cross trainer t make it harder for me to work the machine, and then I had a few kinetic exercises to carry out.

Finally I was put on the tilting platform and she obviously likes my company … “I can’t think why” – ed … because she let me stay on the machine for an extra 10 minutes.

abandoned railway line parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I came back down the steps at the Parc Du Val Ès Fleurs to see how the work was going.

From up above though, I could see that they are slowly advancing with the kerb along the line of the old abandoned railway. They are still a long way from finishing it though.

They’ve not made it to the road yet so it was something of a muddy tramp across the churned-up grass onto the car park and then down the steps to the bottom by where they have installed the keep-fit equipment

cutting wood parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was on my way down there I heard the sound of a circular saw being used .

As I walked a little further on I could see that there was a van and a trailer. There was a generator in front of the van and they were using it to power a circular bench-saw.

Having cut the wood into the required length the guy working the saw carried it off to his friends who were working out of shot on the course of the abandoned railway line.

And judging by the amount of wood that he has on the trailer, he’s going to be working there for quite some time.

creating boardwark abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021What they are actually doing is construction some kind of boardwalk at the side of the concrete pathway that they have laid.

While I was going past I asked them if they would be going the full length of the abandoned railway track and they replied in the affirmative. And I can imagine that it will be fun riding a bike on that in the pouring rain.

But once again it’s pretty dismal, all of this concrete that they have been laying all over the place. I’m sure that they could do much better than that if they really tried, but they seem to be singularly lacking in imagination around here.

parc des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile further down the road I came upon the Parc des Docteurs Lanos.

It’s still quite a mess, churned up by all of the heavy vehicles that have been driving on there moving all of the stuff about, and that is going to take a considerable amount of effort to restore it, unless they do as they have done elsewhere an sink it under a mass of concrete.

And talking of stuff, there seems to be considerably less stuff on there now. They are using it up as a considerable rate and the fact that they aren’t replacing it with any rapidity seems to indicate that the work is slowly coming to an end.

rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And talking about masses of concreete, here’s a photo of the view behind me showing the Rue du Boscq.

Last time that we looked down here they were laying yet more concrete reinforcement matting and sure enough, while I was away in Leuven they have poured yet more concrete down.

One of these days I’ll post a photo of the car park at Lezardrieux where we visited with Spirit of Conrad. There, they laid out the car park with small stone setts and used setts of different colours to mark out the lines and it all looked quite nice.

rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the other end of the street, the situation was just the same.

Another mass of concrete poured down at this end too. It all looks so dreary and depressing.

Mind you, there’s a lorry-load of earth down there and they are tipping it into the gap between the edge of the concrete and the stone wall to the right. I wonder if that is where they will be planting the hundreds of trees that they have promised.

But anyway I left them to it and carried on home dodging the broken slates in the Rue General Patton.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Yesterday we saw a really nice sunset, with what remained of the sun peeking through a small gap in the clouds.

This afternoon, we had a similar phenomenon. There wasn’t as much cloud this afternoon and so the effect was much more dramatic.

In the background we can see the church at Cancale across the bay on the Brittany coast, silhouetted against the orange sky, just to the left of centre.

It is one thing that I like about this time of year. At the time when I usually go for my walk, we have some wonderful lighting effects. We’ve seen quite a few already and there will be plenty more before Spring, I hope.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Before I went in for my afternoon coffee, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to look over onto the beach.

There wasn’t anything going on down there this afternoon, for the simple reason that there wasn’t much beach for anything to be happening on. The tide was well in right now.

So on that point I came back in for my coffee and carried on with some work, but I knocked off earlier than I normally do.

That’s because in a fit of extravagance (or forgetfulness) I bought two loads of peppers at the weekend and I had no idea of when I was going to use them. So I made one of my mega-curries with peppers, mushrooms, a tin of diced veg and a tin of white beans.

It was absolutely delicious and there’s plenty left. So when it’s cooled down and there’s some more room in the freezer, I’ll parcel it all up into individual helpings and freeze them for later use.

But right now I’m off to bed. I’ve had a very long day, walked miles and I’m exhausted. I want to make the most of this and hopefully have a really good sleep for a change.

Sunday 27th November 2021 – I ACTUALLY MANAGED …

workmen's compound place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… to go out and about this afternoon to see what damage Storm Arwen had caused.

First port of call has obviously to be the workmen’s compound down at the bottom. Or, rather, what is left of the workmen’s compound.

Parts of it are all tangled up over there, but the rest of it is all over the place in the car park, along with all kinds of other rubbish that has been blown in from all over the place as well

There are going to be some very unhappy people when they come in the morning to inspect their vehicles.

repairing medieval city walls place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another place that was going to be interesting to see is the face of the medieval city walls that they are repairing underneath the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

The walls are still standing, which is a surprise after the battering that it received, but the protection that the workmen built to protect themselves from objects dropped from above did not. And that’s hardly a surprise becuase, as we said the other day, it looked rather flimsy.

The first job on Monday morning therefore will be to re-erect their little shelter. And then they can crack on with the repairing. And by the looks of things they seem to be doing a reasonable job. We can’t afford to have them going for a Burton.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché au chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile, up above in the Place, the scaffolding seems to have survived. The 5 tonnes of water in those pallet tanks seemed to have done its job.

All in all, we seem to have been quite fortunate with the storm. Gusts of 136 kph are not to be sneezed at, and the town’s firemen were called out 36 times during the storm, so it seemed that plenty of people had it far worse than we did.

It didn’t even keep me awake all that much. Although I didn’t go to bed as early as I would have liked, I managed to spend more time asleep than I have done just recently.

That’s not to say that I didn’t go on any travels during the night. In fact, quite the reverse. We were at school last night. My brother had been summoned before the headmaster for something so he actually left at about 08:30 and was playing for another team early on. We had to be back by 10:00 so at 09:45 I went over to the door to meet him. he came out with a group of other people, one of whom was someone from the radio. We all started to talk a little about my brother’s issues although he looked extremely happy just then when he came out. Then something and I don’t know what reminded me that I had to do something with the green folder and send it off to another house at school to have a listen before I could go ahead with the radio programme.

Later on I had Caliburn except that it wasn’t Caliburn but my red Cortina estate, loaded up with all my stuff for moving house like I did when I was moving from the UK to Brussels. I had to go somewhere for a few days so I parked it up in the street in Underwood Lane near where I lived. On my way back we went to a house to pick up some shovels and spades. It was 04:00. A woman came out and I thought that she looked familiar. It turned out that she’d been the person who had bought one of my houses somewhere else. It was her but she’d since moved and bought another house. She was telling me that I now have a house down there as well. We collected everything and went into the street but we couldn’t see Caliburn anywhere. We walked up and down that street 3 or 4 times and there was no trace of him. We were thinking about which scrapyards to ring up, all of this kind of thing but there was still no trace

Later still on I was back in the hospital and I couldn’t find a shovel that I’d use to dig a grave. I pointed to that fellow but he didn’t see us so I thought that I’d stick my 2 bodies into 1 grave. I needed to enlarge the grave. There was a fight going on between fishermen, farmers and the French police. I thought that now there wasn’t very much attraction so I’ll stop where I am because someone was after the issue fee “I see Eric” but I didn’t know my name and I wanted everything cleared up. And what that was all about I have no idea.

Finally we’d been up in the High Arctic as far as Grize Fiord and even further. We’d been in this town watching the aeroplanes come in to land and then all set off back home again. I had this old double-decker bus that we were driving, heading up the A5 from London. My car was in front and for some unknown reason it was driving on its own, driving really recklessly and I was convinced that there was going to be an accident with this. All of a sudden it did a turn right across several carriageways and pulled up against the kerb. I stopped the bus and went round to see what was going on. My brother was there so I asked him why he did that strange manoeuvre. He pointed to this shop selling clothes. I stuck my head in but couldn’t see anything exciting. While he was there I said to the people on board the bus “let me have my stuff and I can load my car ready to go”. I took a few bits and pieces out but someone on the top deck picked up my big sports bag and dropped it over the top straight into the boor of the car. It went in with an Enormous crash. I said that I hoped that there was nothing breakable in there, like my portable computer. Then I had a look at the bus. All the time that it had spent in the High Arctic had taken its toll and it was as rusty as hell, rusting everywhere as f it had just happened overnight. Even the sides of the bus were rusty and you could see the name of the previous owner, “Lena Tours” because of how the bodywork had rusted. I wondered how we were able to drive this without the police stopping us and taking a look.

And why does my brother keep on showing up in my voyages? Why can’t it be someone like Zero or Castor or TOTGA?

Anyway, leaving my bed at 09:00 was not very easy this morning but it had to be done and I staggered into the dining are for my medication. I checked my mails and messages, made a quick breakfast and went for my Welsh lesson – all 5 hours of it.

The time passed quite quickly too, and the one hour for lunch passed even quicker because I seem once more to have run out of pizza dough so I made to make a hurried batch. And it didn’t turn out too badly either, all things considered.

We had plenty of fun in our lessons today and I hope that I remember everything that we learnt. Some of it wasn’t familiar at all so I imagine that it’s South Walian and that will lead to a few complications when we’re back in our normal class on Tuesday after the weekend school.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As soon as the lesson finished I grabbed the camera and finally made it outside.

Having seen the compound across the car park I went down to the wall at the end of the car park here to see what was happening on the beach.

There were actually two people down there, which was a surprise. The weather might have moderated somewhat after the wind of the last couple of days but it was still really cold and not the kind of weather that I would have chosen to be down there.

But there’s no accounting for taste.

outdoor tidal swimming pool donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little further on along the beach towards Donville-les-Bains there was something strange in the water.

My first thought was that it was an ancient wreck uncovered by the storm, something that is a regular occurrence in many parts of the world.

However it seems to be the tidal swimming pool down there at Donville. I didn’t recognise it because I don’t think that I’ve seen it more than a couple of times in all the time that I’ve lived here.

There must be some kind of optical illusion or trick of the light that has made it so visible this afternoon.

tidal swimming pool plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Having inspected the work down at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux I headed off along the path at the foot of the city walls, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been down here.

A little earlier I’d already seen the tidal swimming pool at Donviille-les-Bains so I was interested to see the one at the Plat Gousset here to see if it had survived the storm.

It seems to have managed okay but there’s some kind of turbulence going on at the back og the pool so I wonder what that is all about.

Perhaps they’ve caught the Loch Ness Monster. I didn’t realise that the storm had been that intense.

generator building equipment Square Maurice Marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another feature that occurs quite regularly on these pages is the state of the Square Maurice Marland.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, they spent quite a while on repairing the place a few years ago and since then it’s been left todecay, something that seems to have happened a lot more rapidly that I had tought.

While I was there today though, I noticed that a pile of equipment has arrived here, includiing what looks like a diesel generator in a soundproof box. So maybe things are going to start moving again.

building equipment Square Maurice Marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And a little further on, I can see that they already have.

The part where the children’s entertainments used to be is now cordoned off and they have a strange tracked machine just there. That certainly looks as if it means business.

Much of the surrounding area has been sheeted over too and there’s some building material stacked up too. This is looking as if it’s going to be quite interesting and I’ll be back here more often than I am at the moment to check on things.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Leaving the Square Maurice Marland I headed off towards the Rue St Michel to see how things were unfoding there.

It was difficult to see anything from down at the bottom end the other day because of all of the machinery, so this afternoon I came up via the alley at the top

From this angle it’s quite clear that they’ve scraped away the old horrible surface and that does actually look deep enough to lay some cobbles. But having been disappointed in the past by this kind of thing, we’ll have to see what happens.

And then wonder how long it will be before they dig it up again.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021From the end of the Rue st Michel I walked onto the city walls.

It’s going quite dark quite quickly now and I just about caught the last few rays of sun as the reflected up and through a couple of small holes in this really thick cloud cover.

That was the cue for me to head home. No coffee tonight as I’m pretty-much coffeed out after all that I’ve drunk today. I rolled out my pizza and then went to pair off my music instead, although I won’t be preparing a programme tomorrow as I’m having Caliburn’s windscreen fixed.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021When I’d finished that I went to have a play with my pizza.

When it was assembled it went into the oven for 35 minutes and I was ready for it when it was finally cooked. It was quite delicious too.

having finished everything in what was a really hectic day, I’m ready for bed. I have an early start because I need a shower and a shave before I take Caliburn off. If I have to pretty myself up, that’s going to take more time than I can spare.

Saturday 27th November 2021 – NO PHOTOS TODAY …

… either. And for the simple reason that it isn’t safe to to out.

The winds have been gusting up to 136 kph today and if you remember that little compound that we saw the other day down at the end of the public car park, that is now in bits spread out all over the car park and I feel sorry for those people who left their cars parked there over the weekend.

Some time during the afternoon I went outside to bring in the rest of the shopping from yesterday and made it with the greatest difficulty to Caliburn and back again. I was intending to see if it was safe to go out for a walk but I abandoned that plan.

Strangely enough though, the wind during the night didn’t keep me awake too much and for once I had a decent night’s sleep, even though there wasn’t all that much of it.

Plenty of time to go for a ramble though. There as something happening in a zoo and there were a lot of people around there doing some tests on some of the animals. Someone said something that upset the monkeys and they started throwing stones at this building. They broke the windows and all of the insects and animals and all kinds of laboratory creatures escaped. They all crawled over my legs to get out. I was mortified because I don’t like this sort of thing at all. They had to set through to catch them and all these horrible reptile things, they were talking on the news about how “this one was going to be good for making liver and they are monitoring its progress’. They found a type that was like a stick of rock but it was in fact bone and when you sang to it, it grew. They asked me to take a sample of it back to Leuven when I next went and leave it there with them so that they could perform a whole series of tests on it. I thought that I could make it grow by singing to it any time you like. It sounded such an interesting thing to do. But I was overwhelmed by these insects all crawling over my legs trying to escape, all kinds of horrible things.

With some time before my Welsh lesson I had another go at tidying up my back-up disk and created yet more space. Consequently I ended up with more than enough space to perform a full back-up of my computer for the first time since I don’t know when.

Before anyone is worried about my back-ups, or lack thereof, there’s a 128GB memory stick that lives permanently in a USB port and I back up all of my data files onto there every night. There’s also the portable computer that I take to Leuven and I back up onto there at the end of every month and again the morning that I travel.

There are 123 students at our Welsh weekend and we are divided up into 8 groups of about 15. But depressingly, they have put me into a “South Wales” group.

If you look at a map of Wales, you’ll notice the southern and northern coasts of course, and you’ll also note that the country is bisected in the centre by the Dyfi and Severn valleys that cut the country into a “north” and south”.

These valleys, the Dyfi that flows east to west and the Severn that flows west to east have been a traditional route for invaders throughout history, whether Romans, Saxons or Normans, and were heavily fortified, and so there was little interaction between the north and the south.

As a result, the native Celtic language evolved differently in each area over the last 2,000 years and there are considerable differences between the two.

As my paternal roots are in the north-east, I’m much more home with northern Welsh and so I’m not so much at my ease with a bunch of South Walians.

We are having four sessions of 2.5 hours, 2 today and 2 tomorrow, with an hour’s break in between, and we’re revising the first 5 chapters of our course book for this year. It’s quite interesting, and well-worth the money that I paid for it … “it was free, actually” – ed.

When the course had finished I went to bring in the shopping but not to go for a walk. With the amount of stuff, some of which was quite heavy, being blown around, I didn’t think that it was wise.

However I’m keen to nip out to see how the scaffolding at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux coped, 5 tonnes of water or not.

There was time to dice and blanch a kilo of carrots ready for freezing overnight. Seeing that I was at Lidl in Caliburn yesterday, I grabbed a kilo. I may as well take advantage.

The rest of the afternoon has been spent splitting up albums on the laptop. I found a few more master tapes just recently and I’ve been giving them the business. There are still plenty more to cut up.

Tea tonight was baked potato with a couple of these small breaded burgers that I like and a handful of veg. All very tasty.

So now I’m going to chill out before going to bed. There’s an alarm tomorrow shock! Horror! as I have to go to the second half of my Welsh class.

And I hope that the alarm works in the morning. It let me down for some reason this morning – not that it made any difference because I was awake anyway. I doubt if that will be the case on a Sunday morning.

Friday 26th November 2021 – PHEW! THAT WAS EXPENSIVE!

And I don’t even have any photographs for my pains either today.

That is for two reasons too.

  1. there’s a howling gale blowing outside right now
  2. I have been busy all afternoon and couldn’t even find time to go for my afternoon walk

Before we start though, I’m not going to mention last night. You can read the dictaphone notes and make up your own mind.

A train had been requisitioned by the Germans last night and was heading off with all kinds of art treasures that had been looted. They had a man on the front with a machine gun to defend against saboteurs, all this kind of thing but in the corridor of the tender facing the engine driver was another German armed with a sub-machine gun. At a certain point the train ground to a halt and there was some panic going on outside. The commandant in charge said “we’ll get the guy with the machine gun on the crew to reinforce you” which of course caused panic because no-one there actually knew that they were being watched like this on the footplate. At the same time there was a strike going on with football players because of recognition with their previous clubs hadn’t been granted so they weren’t considered as being equal or equivalent footballers to the Premier League and weren’t being able to be picked for the Premier League sides but that was on the point of being resolved.

A little later I was with someone (and I wish that I knew who it was) on a bicycle ride on holiday. I had a rucksack on my back and she had one on hers. We’d had some kind of incident that meant that she’d used my jeans as a mop so she’d had to borrow some jeans from someone for me. We were cycling and came to this bridge over a motorway. There were several lanes and a main road and a side road and a footpath etc. Several lanes went on a bridge over the top of the motorway while a couple went through a tunnel underneath. We cycled on and came to the motorway interchange. This was an awful, really complicated road junction. We were on bikes and the vehicles were running really quickly and not giving us much time to get into position because we wanted the lane far over in the centre. Eventually we managed to pick our way through the traffic without any excitement. We noticed on the map that someone who used to work for the radio lived here in a little cul-de-sac so we thought that we’d go to visit him. He had a bungalow in a kind-of close. When we arrived he was on the doorstep saying that he was just going to bed. he told us about an incident he’d had which involved the police which had left him feeling very bitter about whatever it was that the radio was. He went to bed but we were inside the house and used his bathroom, organised a few things. We noticed that there was an orange plastic skull sitting on his bed. We wondered what that was doing. Then my partner started to take stuff out of my rucksack to rearrange it which was uncomfortable seeing as I was wearing it at the time

And then there was a sandpit there (wherever “there” was) and a kid who was very much like me as a small child playing in it. Someone said something about how he could foretell the future in various respects. I mentioned that I’d had mine told for me and it wasn’t very complimentary

This cable had an olive-green and white speckly very thick-outer a cable with a very solid rigid central core that we could make into all kinds of shapes, but none of them were anything to do with what we were trying to do. And whatever that bit is all about is a complete mystery to me.

Some time later we were driving down the M6, a big group of us. A girl whom I used to know in Scotland was there as well, heading down. At a certain moment I recognised somewhere and said “this is the start of the Morecambe Bay holiday area, isn’t it?”. They didn’t know but we’d gone about half a mile and saw a load of surfers in the water. I mentioned that there was a town down here a little further where I’d been a couple of years ago and there had been an enormous flood. We’d spent our time swimming in what was the town square. When we arrived, the town square was flooded again so we had to drive round and find a place to park and then needed to find the solicitor’s that we were visiting the next day. I was sure that I knew where it was because I’d been here before. So we went and sure enough, this was where it was. Then we had to work out where we were going to stay. Everyone else was broke so we were talking about hostels and everything. Eventually they found some kind of bed and breakfast place that was quite cheap and were talking about booking it there but some people didn’t have any money etc

When the alarm went off I couldn’t get out of bed for quite some time but eventually I forced myself out and went for my medication.

Having checked my mails and messages I cracked on (and I really did too) with the work that needed doing. The sound-files have been sent off with the accompanying notes, and so have my questions for these perishing elves.

One thing that I noticed was that my server wasn’t saving the copies of my mails, which was no surprise as my mailbox was at 101%. I spent a very happy rest of the morning going through and weeding a pile of stuff that had built up in there that should have been deleted a long time ago.

What’s filling the place up is all of the piles of stuff that I’ve been receiving about my family so I went and downloaded it all and deleted it from my mail server. Now my mailbox is now at a more-manageable 73%.

One day I’ll download a mail-handling client like Thunderbird and download everything from the mail server.

There were several phone calls to make too. I contacted the insurance company about Caliburn’s windscreen and then I rang around for some new winter tyres for Caliburn.

When I was in the Auvergne 18 months ago I’d brought a couple of spare wheels back from the Auvergne because winter tyres are now obligatory in many départements in the centre where my farm is and it’s high time that I had some.

Hunting around on the internet I couldn’t find any bargains of the make that I wanted but somewhat closer to home, a tyre fitter could supply exactly what I wanted and on the wheels on the van they will work out even cheaper than the tyres alone on the internet.

Some other stuff is needed too for Caliburn. There’s a cracked mirror and a cracked rear light that the controle technique examiner mentioned, and of course if he’s having a new windscreen he’s having new wipers to go with it.

Rosemary rang me too and we had another one of our mega-chats

After lunch I wandered off to LIDL where I spent a fortune and can’t really see what I bought with my money, except that it was too heavy to bring all of it upstairs.

Next stop was at the windscreen place. The Insurance Company told me that the windscreen people would contact me but as I was driving past, I popped in. And as luck would it, they had a windscreen in stock and a vacant spec in their workshop at 09:00 on Monday morning.

From there I drove to the tyre fitter. he didn’t have the tyres in stock but I paid a deposit and he’s ordered them and they’ll be here on Friday morning. While I was there I bought some rust killer and some wheel paint. I may as well make his wheels look pretty

Final stop was LeClerc where I spent a fortune and once again I couldn’t really see what I’d bought for my money – except the four bottles of ginger beer that they had on special offer and the new slippers to replace my worn-out ones.

By the time that I returned it was 18:00 (where does the time all go?) so I made a coffee and ended up chatting to Liz for an hour.

Tea was a burger on a bap (now that I have baps and the correct burgers) with a baked potato and vegetables, and it was delicious.

Now I’m off to bed. I need my sleep – if I get any with this astonishing storm raging outside – as I have my Welsh weekend class for the next couple of days.

Can you imagine it? Me, setting an alarm on a Sunday! Wonders will never cease.

Thursday 25th November 2021 – I MIGHT HAVE BEEN …

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… rather hasty when I posted my rather vituperative comments the other day about the state of the road surface in the Rue St Michel.

As I walked past this afternoon on my way to the Post Office I can see that the workmen have come back.

While I watched, they were digging up the surface of the road down to a depth of about 30 centimetres, and they had some rather heavy professional equipment to move the soil, as you can see.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens next down there

workmen's equipment place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021However I can tell you what is happening next on the public car park outside my building.

Aapart from the equipment and material parked down at the far end, there’s a lorry with a skip and the dumper that you saw in the previous photo is bringing the soil to dump into it.

In fact it was the rather frequent passage of the dumper and its load up and down the street here this afternoon that actually drew my attention to the fact that there was work going on somewhere in the vicinity and I ought to be tracking it down.

At least it will give me something to do rather than to wade through mountains of sleep yet again because I had another miserable night. You can tell that my the amount and distance of the voyages on which I travelled.

We were living in London last night and a lad there was living in a house as a lodger. We suddenly found out that his landlady was someone really evil, in the style of Dracula or something so we rushed round there, made our way into his or her room. All of a sudden the woman appeared at the window and was making all kinds of uncomfortable gestures. The guy with me shooed her away and we played cards or something. Later, she came back and started to assemble a scaffolding at the front of the house. We chased her away again. The 3rd time we sent the dog out but it really didn’t do much so this guy went out with the dog, and the dog put an end to this woman. We carried on playing our game, a board game with this person although we were all very reluctant to sit by the window again in case this woman appeared even though the dog had finished her off

Later on there was something about trains being converted from diesel to electric power and running on electric lines in rural locations but I can’t remember that now. It’s all gone right out of my head.

There was a spaceship that landed on some ice. We went to see this spaceship and went on board. We were just about to go to bed when we heard a noise outside. We saw one of the people who had originally been on this boat and had somehow managed to escape. They were busy putting the leg of their boat or whatever back into position after they had moved it out of the way so that they could leave. We anticipated that there was going to be some kind of concert and right as this concert started under way I can’t remember any more about this
They had to start by untangling these jeeps and air passengers and so on, making a place on the stage for me to sing and where I could record but my voice seems to have gone down an octave and I couldn’t sing the parole as high as I used to
Later on I was on some kind of seaplane and it put us down somewhere in the far North of Canada on the sea. As we started to try to clamber off I looked out of the window and saw one girl whom I knew redirecting traffic and so on
“I fell asleep here” – ed
So I didn’t know then what was happening because I fell asleep again. Stopped wondering about what was going on, and then there was the missing one about being on board that seaplane that I added at a later date – and that really makes sense, doesn’t it?
There was a big party taking place and loads of people whom I knew where there. They were all doing exciting things. My German friend, for example, was cycling up a wall. Everyone was going around trying to find a friend, partner or something like that. I knew that nothing was ever going to happen to me. Who should turn up but a long-departed friend of mine. We had a little chat but because of my health issues the idea that I would have a partner was out of the window. We started talking, a couple of us there, and suddenly she burst into tears. I asked her what was the matter and eventually it was when we said that we can’t go on like this. I said “I can’t remember saying it”. She replied “you did, several weeks ago”. I thought that she meant that I’d said it today. Anyway, I tried to explain to her about my health problems, that I had other preoccupations at the moment but it was quite difficult for me to talk as she was in such a condition

Finally, Castor and Pollux put in a brief cameo appearance and it’s been a long time since they’ve done that, isn’t it? There was something about a major airport, it might have been Luton, that was having to close down because two big budget flight companies had collapsed so now the airport wasn’t having the custom that it had. Of course, whatever business we has was going to affect that very much. I said that Travel Agency was going to be the thing to get into because people like Castor and Pollux who were growing up are not going to be very happy sitting on a coach now for 10 days. They’ll be much more interested in sitting on a beach. Whoever it was with me was saying “that will change in the future”. I mentioned “we aren’t talking about the future at the moment, we’re talking about the way things are right now.

Once more I was wide-awake long before the alarm went off, although you might not think so reading all these notes, but even so it took me an age to tear myself out of bed.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I transcribed my masses of dictaphone notes and then set about dealing with these interview sound files. I ended up with two distinct interviews, and two for the price of one is always good value, even if it did take me until tea time, although with plenty of interruptions.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Not the least of the interruptions today was for the bread.

And isn’t this a magnificent-looking loaf? It’s certainly one of the best that I have ever made and when I tried it for lunch with my salad it tasted just as good as it looked.

This one was definitely a success and if I can produce loaves like this all the time I’ll be really happy.

It probably has something to do with the amount of time that I spent kneading it and shaping it. That probably contributed quite a lot to the success.

Something else that has taken up a lot of my time just recently has been a pile of correspondence that I have received today. An enormous box of papers has come to light relating to my maternal grandfather (who died in 1951) and his side of the family. No-one knew that they existed until recently.

Someone is currently scanning everything and sending them out in dribs and drabs. I’ve jhad a few loads just recently and another batch turned up today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my maternal grandmother was a well-known Vaudeville and Music-Hall singer in Canada in the early post-World-War I era.

It turns out that my maternal grandfather was an accomplished piano player and singer, and taught at a private boarding school, Denstone College, near Rocester (and that, incidentally, explains why my grandmother died in the hospital in Stafford). Later on, he had a road haulage business in Wisbech.

The letters are fascinating stuff, in particular his castigation of his younger brother for having abandoned his own business when he became ill, totally and utterly ignoring the fact that he himself had abandoned his own two children to strangers when his wife was taken ill.

In fact, when the south-east of England was evacuated in World-War II he wouldn’t even take his own children into his safe house in Wisbech and they were cared for instead by his younger brother.

But anyway, I digress. But at least I now know why the members of my mother’s side of the family are nothing but a bunch of thespians.

There was tile this afternoon to write the two incendiary (not that it will do me much good but it makes me feel better) letters that I should have written and posted yesterday.

On the way down to the Post Office I had a call to make. We have several projects on the go for the radio right now, one of which concerns the Carnaval here, and not too far away from here lives a woman who is a costumier who makes the outfits for the carnivalers.

My task for today was to persuade her to be interviewed for the radio and after a chat of about 15 minutes she agreed. We’ll have to organise a date in the near future.

jade 3 victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way down into town, passing the Rue St Michel, I ended up at the viewpoint overlooking the port.

We have a trawler – Jade III – over there parked stern-on to the quayside. There’s a van parked next to it and a couple of guts working on untangling a fishing net. They are going to have hours of fun playing around with all of that.

Also over there are the two sad, sorry-looking Channel Island ferries, the blue and white Victor Hugo and behind her, the newer Granville. I wonder if we’ll ever see them resuming their sailings. It’s not looking very optimistic right now.

christmas decorations place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down in the town centre I posted off the two letters that I had written and then looked across at the Christmas decorations on the Place Général de Gaulle

There’s a cherry-picker down there this afternoon so it looks as if they are installing the Christmas lights. And I hope that they will be different from last year’s. I couldn’t ever understand why towns don’t meet up and swap decorations every year so that we have different ones all the time.

As for what’s going on round by Santa, we can’t see anything because of all the forest. It looks as if Birnam Wood has finally made it to Dunsinane after all.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way back home I stopped for a gander at the inner harbour.

It looks as if one of the Jersey freighters has slipped in without me knowing it because a lot of the freight that was on there last time we looked has now disappeared

But not to worry. There’s still a large pile of stuff accumulating on the quayside. It looks as if it’s all going non-stop at the moment and that will keep the little freighters busy. It’s good news for the port too as we are struggling somewhat now that the big gravel boats have stopped coming.

man fishing from beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way back home I remembered to go and have a look at the beach this afternoon.

Only one person down there this afternoon. he looked as if he was a fisherman but I couldn’t see whether or not he had a rod with him. He was however striding out into the water with some great purpose.

Back here I made myself a coffee and carried on with my reading 70 and 80-year old letters and editing the sound files for my radio intervals.

Tea was veggie balls and pasta tonight. I have mountains of those and they need to be eaten so I’m doing my best to polish them off. At this rate, I reckon that they’ll finish me off before I finish them.

Bedtime now, and tomorrow I have yet more work to do – not for me either but someone’s bunged a translating job on me at the last moment.

There are also these sound files to send off for some gap-filling, a pile of questions for a bunch of elves, some shopping to do (as I’m at a weekend Welsh School this coming weekend) and several other things before I even start to think about my own work.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Wednesday 24th November 2021 – YOU HAVE ALL HAD …

… a very lucky escape today. I was in half a mind … “your usual state” – ed … to post a photo of my naked chest today.

For the last 24 hours or so I’ve been having a pain in my chest round about where my catheter port is and when I felt it, it felt about three times the normal size

Of course, where it is on my chest, I can’t see it (not that I would want to look anyway) but on my way back from the physiotherapist I bumped into my neighbour who is a home help for the elderly and knows about these things.

She came round accordingly to have a look on her way home.

The swelling (for it is a swelling) and the “hard spot” is not actually at my catheter port but about half an inch away from it, and it doesn’t seem to be septic or anything like that.

She took a photo of it so that I could forward it to the hospital tomorrow and ask their advice. And if they can’t come up with anything, I’ll go and see my doctor.

A visit to my doctor is on the cards anyway because I’m having some serious difficulty in going off to sleep. Last night was rather later than intended but even so, being wide awake at 04:50 when I’m supposed to be lying in until 07:30 is ridiculous.

Mind you, it’s just as well that I was wide-awake because at least I wasn’t disturbed when the alarm went off at 06:00 as I’d forgotten to switch it off from last week.

After the medication and checking my e-mails I transcribed the dictaphone notes. This was a long rambling dream but I can only remember a few bits. I was living in the Netherlands or Flanders and I had to take my CPC for my coach operator’s licence. I passed and was given a certificate so I took it home. On the way back I bought some more clothes from IKEA because we had two kids. I had some quite nice towels, a bluey green one and a reddy maroon one with their own little covers which would be just the thing. My mother was pleased with the towels. She didn’t understand the certificate at first but when she did she wanted to know if I was going back into business. I said “not really but it was due for renewal so I wanted to make sure that it was up to date just in case”. But there were tons more to this but I can’t remember anything

Later on there was some kind of party and I’d been there and was on my way home. I’d left my alcohol pills there but I was bringing home the church tower with the clock on it. I met these two people down the road but I can’t remember any more yet again about this which is a shame because this was beginning to sound interesting.

While I was lying there awake waiting for the alarm at 07:30 I was off on a very long ramble with my niece to a radio station in “Piedmont”, somewhere in Eastern North America. But as I was awake (at least, I think I was), that doesn’t really count.

Once I’d organised myself I started to edit out the soundfiles of the radio interview that we did a couple of weeks ago. By the time that I stopped for lunch I’d edited about 45% on the first run through.

How I do it is that I have a first run-through and edit out all of the stuttering and stammering and breathing, stuff like that, so that it’s coherent and consistent.

Then I go back through it and cut out the bits that are irrelevant to my programme.

Finally, as with any interview, the interviewee often answers questions that haven’t been asked so we dictate the questions later and edit them in to break up what might be a monologue.

And a quick note to Grahame – recording in mono, running the tracks simultaneously with “hard left” on one track and “hard right” on the other works perfectly and gives the effect that I want. Thanks for the tip.

There was just enough time for a shower before lunch (and I’m now at my lowest weight since I stopped running) and just as I’d finished, Laurent arrived.

We went off across the courtyard to the Council’s annexe where the controller of the radio works, and discussed a forthcoming “event”. And this is going to be yet another World exclusive scoop, but more about that anon.

While we were there, we discussed a few other things here and there because we’ve long-since arrived at the conclusion that leaving things until the last minute doesn’t work. We need to have a few things in stock ready.

By now it was quite late so Laurent drove me up the physiotherapist’s, hence the absence of any photos.

Today I didn’t have a go on the tilting platform. Instead she had me on the cross trainer (where I set a new personal best) and then a pile of kinetic exercises.

When she threw me out, I had shopping to do so for a change, seeing as I hadn’t been to LIDL for ages I pushed on reluctantly up the hill and round the corner.

And for a change I managed to find everything that I needed and to be un the safe side I bought three boxes of yeast. I seem to be getting through yeast and flour at an alarming rate these days. And that reminds me – I have a loaf to bake tomorrow morning.

crane rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way back home I passed the building site that we used to observe when I came this way regularly.

There are some concrete slab walls that have gone up on the ground floor level so they seem to be at last making progress. But it’s rather slow progress, more like what you might expect of Belgian housebuilders, of which regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Carrying my rather heavy load I carried on down the hill, when I remembered that I hadn’t bought an energy drink to help me back up the hill on the other side towards home.

council workmen installing father christmas place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021In the town centre the Council workmen were out in force.

Every year there’s a Christmas display of some kind or other and this year the centrepiece seems to be a giant Father Christmas, surrounded by a pile of trees that have been brought in from somewhere.

On the way back up the hill I met my neighbour coming down so we had a chat about my catheter port, and then I came home for a coffee.

No photo of the beach because by now it was going dark quite rapidly.

Tea tonight was taco rolls followed by a soya dessert thing. It’s amazing what one finds in LIDL these days.

But right now I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted. I had a lot of things to do today and hardly did any of them. I really must get a move on.

Tuesday 23rd November 2021 – I’M NOT GOING …

… to talk about my night last night. I shall just leave you to imagine it.

The only thing that I can say is that it reminds me of that American football coach who was asked his opinion about the match in which his team had been controversially defeated.
“I’m not allowed to comment on the lousy officiating” he said.

So staggering out of bed … errr … a short while after the alarm went off, I went and had my medication.

While I was medicating I remembered a few months ago that I said that I need to cut down on the amount of medication that I take. At the time I was on 8 tablets a day.

So now, having argued with the staff at the hospital about it all, I find that I’m no on … errr … 14. That went well, didn’t it?

Back in here I went through my mails and messages and then prepared myself for my Welsh lesson. In the middle of all of this, Rosemary rang up for a chat. And for a change, we only chatted for a few minutes.

The Welsh lesson went quite well and one of my fellow students passed me a recipe for a vegan Christmas cake.

And if this isn’t enough to be going on with, there’s an on-line Zoom lesson on a Friday evening in a couple of weeks time which is based upon baking, and the subject is … a vegan Christmas cake.

It looks as if I’m going to be having a surfeit of Christmas cake this year. I suppose that it’s much more exciting than a surfeit of lampreys, to which King Henry I would be the first to agree.

After lunch I had a few phone calls to make but I was out of luck. There wasn’t anyone answering the telephone anywhere and I don’t know why. It’s not a Bank Holiday today.

person on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Later on I went out for my afternoon walk, rather later than I intended

There was something exciting going on down on the beach this afternoon. However, I’m not quite sure what it was.

There was another howling gale blowing and as a consequence the beach was almost deserted, except for this one person down there.

And despite enlarging and enhancing the image as much as I possibly could, I couldn’t make out what it was that he was doing. But it looked interesting, that’s for sure.

jersey fishing boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was looking down with one eye onto the beach, the other eye was roaming around out at sea.

At the moment, we are having some kind of turbulent issues with regard to fishing and as a result we’re encountering fishing boats in all kinds of unlikely places here and there every now and again.

There was a handful of boats out there in the Baie de Granville this afternoon wandering around looking for something to catch. They can’t be on the way home because as you saw in the previous photo, the tide is well out.

You’ll also notice how clear the weather was too. The island of Jersey is quite clear this afternoon in the background.

ile de chausey boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Once I’d gathered my wits (which takes much longer these days than it ought to do bearing in mind how few I have left) I set off along the path towards the lighthouse.

As I wandered down the path, the angle of the sun was such that a couple of boats just offshore from the Ile de Chausey were suddenly illuminated. It was quite a strange, eerie situation

The Ile de Chausey was looking quite good too and I imagined that the view down the coast towards Cap Fréhel would have been quite impressive, but I wasn’t going to clamber up on top of the bunker in this wind.

There wasn’t anyone sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban and there was no-one fishing off the rocks, so I carried on down the path towards the port.

workmen working on portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Ten days or so ago I mentioned that I wouldn’t take any more photos of the portable boat lift in the chantier naval until there was something exciting happening.

And today, we actually do have some excitement down there. They have the cherry picker extended with a few guys in the nacelle having an inspection of the metalwork.

On top of the framework there was someone clambering around making an inspection. And so it looks as if they are finally getting round to dealing with the issues that have led to it being taken out of service.

And who knows? We might even actually see it back in operation by the due date.

joly france belle france chausiaise marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Over at the ferry terminal there was one of the Joly France boats, but as you have seen it more than just a few times just recently, i’ll spare you another photo.

On the other hand, the other three boats that operate for the ferry company are all moored up together down in the borrom corner. From left to right we have Belle France, the other Joly France ferry and, on the outside, Chausiaise, the little freighter.

In the background, moored up against the quayside in her usual place is Marité. She won’t be going far for the next few months.

Back home, I had a coffee and then transcribed the notes on the dictaphone.

Yesterday’s notes are now on line and then I turned my attention to last night’s. We’d all been camping. I’d been with Liz and Terry in a caravan and several other people had turned up. My Greek lady-friend from work was there with a tent. We all went back and the next day I came up on my own with a car and caravan. I arrived far too early for the ferry across so I sorted out the car, put it in position and decided to walk into town to find some baps. Just then the Greek girl turned up. I said “so when did you leave?”. She replied “17:00”. I said “if you had said anything I would have brought you up” to which she didn’t say very much. I walked down into Crewe to go to the little bakery towards the bottom end of Victoria Street but everywhere had changed. There had been loads of demolition so I couldn’t find this bakery at all. I thought that if I went to queue in one of the supermarkets, everyone will have arrived by then and my van sitting first in the queue for the ferry and no-one could get on because it’s in the way. There was a lot more than this too but I can’t remember any of it now. But I picked myself out a bed already, a nice double bed, and thought that if no-one else turns up to share it, that will be too bad.

For tea I finally managed to eat my stuffed pepper and rice, and now that I’ve finished my journal, I’m going to bed. I have a radio interview to edit as well as going for my physiotherapy appointment.

There are a couple of letters, mainly incendiary ones, to write as well so I want to make sure that I’m in good form.

Monday 22nd November 2021 – REGULAR READERS OF …

painting shutters bar la civette rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021 … this rubbish will recall that at the start of the lockdown in March last year one of the bars in the Rue Paul Poirier, La Civette, took full advantage of the enforced closure by ripping out their shop front and replacing it with a nice new modern one.

It’s had a drop-down aluminium shutter to close it off after hours, but when I walked past today there was an elderly gentleman painting a scene of Granville Harbour on it.

It’s a beautiful job that he’s made, and so on my way past to the physiotherapist I went over and told him how much I appreciated his effort. It’s the kind of thing that the town needs to brighten it up

vehicles blocking rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that there are several regular features on these pages, one of which is “pathetic parking”.

And so when I saw this lorry and trailer parked on the pavement with a van parked (it really was parked, with no driver in it) in the middle of the street blocking it, I was in my element.

After all, not only is this the main route up to the old medieval walled city where I live, it’s a bus route too with service buses coming up here every so often. I was all ready to write something extremely offensive about it.

cherry picker rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021However, as Proverbs Chapter 16 Verse 18 tells us, “Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall”.

And that was certainly the case here. Further down the hill I noticed that the street was closed off and there was a cherry-picker doing something to the electric cables that feed the Christmas illuminations.

So I slunk off ignominiously down into town and onwards up the hill to the physiotherapist. I had a feeling that it wasn’t going to be my day today.

And I was right too. I had another awful night but you are quite used to those now so I shan’t trouble you any more about it.

What I can say though is never mind an 06:00 alarm call. I was wide awake at 04:53 this morning wishing that I was fast asleep. Even though it was a late night last night, I still had difficulty sleeping.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then launched myself into the radio programme that I need to prepare. And I would have set a new record for completing it too except that half-way through I had a ‘phone call.

The nurse who gives me my fortnightly injection just happened to be in the building taking a blood test and so could he come up and inject me while he was here instead of coming later as usual.

The place was looking like a tip with my stuff from Leuven scattered around the place, and I hadn’t had a shave or a shower for a couple of days, but if he’s here he’s here and he’ll have to take me as he found me.

When I finished the programme I had a listen to the one that I was to send off today and then had a listen to the one that I had prepared just now.

While I was doing that I was sorting through the mess of photographs that I’d discovered the other day, sorting out everything into proper directories ready to go through and weed out the duplicates of which there are more than enough.

There was a little break while I went for a shower and then I went one better than David Crosby and actually did cut my hair. Not that it was very long but it just so happened that for a change I wasn’t in a dreadful rush after my shower.

After lunch I made a start on identifying duplicates in the collection of photographs and by the time that I’d finished, 86GB had gone into the bin and I’ve only scratched the surface of it.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was a break for me to go off to the physiotherapist and as I said the other day, I’ll go today through the town to see what’s happening with the work that’s taking place here.

First stop was the medieval city walls were a couple of months ago we saw a big hole at the foot of the wall. You can see that they have made considerable advances in repairing the wall down there.

They have built themselves a nice mobile shelter as the advance along the foot of the wall. We saw the other week that the workmen working above had a nasty habit of leaving their tools on top of the wall and so some kind of protection against objects falling from above is essential.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On top of the wall it’s all quiet. There wasn’t anyone around working here today.

But they haven’t made a great deal of progress over the period since I’ve last passed by.

You can see the size of the coping stones that go on top of the wall and you will notice that several are still missing. If while they are refitting them they happen to drop one over the top while the men are working down below, then that little flimsy protection that they have built isn’t going to me of much use.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But what I really came here to see was what was happening in the Rue St Michel now that they seem to have finished and the workmen’s compound has been dismantled.

This is pretty awful isn’t it though? When they build the medieval town here in the early part of the 15th Century they went to all the trouble of surfacing the streets with some nice stone setts, but what they have done here is to just throw down a layer of asphalt.

It seems to me that despite the advances in technology over the last 100 years or so, the skill of relaying stone setts is a skill that has long-gone.

But this is a work that has been undertaken on behalf of the town council. Can you imagine what they would say if I as a private individual did work like this on a historic or listed building?

Anyway, I headed off to physiotherapist and she had me doing exercises and then some time on the tilting platform. And as he rnext patient didn’t need the tilting platform she let me stay on for some overtime.

On the way back I stopped at the Carrefour for some pears and a few other bits and pieces. They had more of those potatoes at €0:99 for 1.5kg and seeing as I’ve run out, I grabbed a bag of those as well.

Instead of going through the town centre I took the back way, the way that I took on Saturday, and it was much less busy.

tractors and freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Halfway up the hill in the Rue des Juifs, I had a pause. Not to catch my breath but to drink the drink that I’d bought.

While I was there I took a photo of the quayside. As well as the shrink-wrapped boat, there’s another pile of freight as well, and two tractors parked up on the far side. It looks as if they are going to be busy down there very soon.

From there I walked straight back home and just as I was reaching the door of my building A young boy ran over to me and asked me if I had the time.

Had it been the young girl who was with him who asked, I would have asked her if she had the inclination but things don’t happen to me like that these days.

And that reminds me. Just recently they have installed a clock factory in the leaning tower of Pisa. They thought that seeing as they had the inclination, they may as well make the time.

Back here I made a coffee and carried on with my photos, with such intensity that it was 20:15 when I noticed the time. Too late to make a stuffed pepper so I had pasta and vegetables in a cheese sauce.

Eventually I managed to listen to the dictaphone and judging by the amount of stuff there, it really must have been a disturbed night. Something had happened and we’d gone round to arrest a guy who was a film star. We’d taken a guard dog with us and also a woman who was an actress. She was in charge of the party. When we got into his house we found where he was sleeping. He was fast asleep so we were expecting this police woman to come along and awaken him and arrest him. But she seemed to be doing everything she could to avoid going along to arrest him, checking over this first and checking over that first, checking over the times of plays, running orders, all sorts of things. There was one thing there, one film and she was saying that she expected it to be a little longer than it was, all this kind of thing. The dog was starting to become restless so she told me to keep the dog under control. I told her that she ought to be arresting this guy and it wouldn’t be an issue but she was still putting off arresting this guy as much as she could.

Later on I was working as a lorry driver last night. I absolutely hated the job so I decided to leave. I went up to the dormitory and waited around until everyone had gone to sleep. There were two other people who knew how much I hated it. I decided that I would leave and let them in on my secret. Once everyone had gone to sleep I crept over to the door and they were there. The door was closed so we had to open it very quietly. Someone made a noise, but we were through and out. The lift dor wasn’t closed so we had to close the door, call the lift, get into the lift and press the button for the ground floor. The lift descended but as I looked up I could see one of my colleagues looking down on the lift and shouting into the dormitory “I can see the lift moving and it’s someone who looks like him on it”. With these other two guys we were talking about how we could exchange information about photocopying files and everything, even doing that with LPs. I said that that would have been really good with my programme of digitalising my radio equipment and everything. Of course I had half an eye on what was happening elsewhere because I was convinced that my escape had been noticed. I wondered what was going to happen next.

Finally I was leaving work again. I’d gone to the lift only I was on my bike so I cycled into the lift. Just as it was about to go down I heard voices so I pressed the door to close quickly. Unfortunately I pressed the door open and two of my colleagues, young girls, came in. They were cursing because they thought that they had missed the lift. We went down again and went out but I had forgotten my bike so I had to go back to fetch it. I ended up at the junction of Broad Street and Hightown. There I bumped into Derek Guyler, the Men From the Ministry. He and Richard Lamb were in a car going to buy some food. I’d already said to someone whom I’d met that I was on my way to buy an Indian meal for tonight’s tea. I ended up in this car with them. From the noise that it was making, one of the wheel bearings was going. Derek Guyler dragged Richard lamb out from behind the steering wheel and drove himself. We set off and ended up driving down this country lane. At the last moment I could see that part of the lane was cordoned off so I shouted “turn right”. At the very last minute he did. We went down this side road and should have turned left immediately but I forgot. We carried on driving for a while. We came across a group of Romany, women and children, who were throwing bread at horses but the bread was still in its plastic bags. We went past an area that was lined with targets for bows and arrows. We then came to a road junction where of course we would have to turn left to continue on the way that we were going. This looked like the main road between Whitchurch and Chester. I thought that if we are going to have to get to Wrenbury to pick up this meal we’ll have to do some manoeuvring down this road and I’m not quite sure of the way.

But now at last I’m going to bed. I have my Welsh class tomorrow and I really do need to have a decent sleep beforehand.

Sunday 21st November 2021 – AFTER YESTERDAY’S EXERTIONS …

… I ended up not going to bed until after 01:00. I reckon that it’s very hard to unwind after all of that effort to make it back home.

And it seems that I must have had some part of a decent night’s sleep somehow because there was nothing on the dictaphone until 07:00 this morning.

All kinds of things were going on last night but I can hardly remember anything of it. At one time there was some kind of fashion show that I was preparing but that’s all that I cam remember. There was also something about a young kid with a knife. It looked as if he or she was going to commit suicide but again I can’t remember anything about that.

Later on I had a big green Vauxhall Victor in my garden. There was some boy who used to hang around watching what I was doing, trying to help, that kind of thing. One day I came home and he had the bonnet open. I asked him what he was doing. he didn’t say anything but it turned out that he was trying to steal it. he had managed to open the bonnet but had snapped the bonnet catch. I told him to collect his stuff and clear off. he was going around telling everyone how had-done-by he was after all the help that he’s given me but I’d just thrown him out. Of course when I was asked I explained the story about trying to steal the Victor.

There was something else about me having 2 apartments, renting out one of them. There was some issue with the tax people about it and the tenant was not being very co-operative which was a surprise because he had co-operated 100% up until recently. I had no idea what was going wrong now

And later still I was in hospital, one of these recovery places. There was a girl there with me. We were sharing a room. There were all kinds of people coming through, visiting, schoolkids even. We were chatting about the people who ran the place. I was saying that they were quite quick to spot talent and had some of the inmates working for them doing various things. We went out and sat upstairs on the city walls. There were crowds of people and it was a nice afternoon. There were all kinds of things happening. There was an aeroplane flying overhead with a trawler slung underneath it. I looked and it was the same style as the ones being built by this firm in Turkey. I tried to take a photo but the camera shutter stuck and it didn’t work out. There was a girl chatting to us, wearing a very short skirt with a bikini on underneath. There were a couple of houses. We noticed that they were numbered 1,3 and 4. We wondered where n°2 was. Then we saw a narrow set of steps going up in between 3 and 4 so we imagined that there might be a bungalow or something at the top of these steps that would be n°2. Why it was n°2 and not n°3 we didn’t know. I had to go off to do something. On the way back I was very unsteady on my feet and everyone coming down this path was bumping into me and I was staggering all over the place. When I returned to where we’d been sitting, the girl had gone and I couldn’t see where she was.

Although it was about 09:30 when I finally awoke, it was about 10:30 when I left the bed. No point in rushing myself, especially on a Sunday after I’ve returned from Leuven.

Having checked my mails and messages and had a little chat on my social network I set about transcribing the dictaphone notes from Friday night/Saturday morning WHICH ARE NOW ON LINE and then from last night, which you have read just now.

When that was out of the way I sat down to pair off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. That didn’t take all that long and I do have to say that it was one of those very rare occasions when all of the joints between the tracks went together perfectly.

After brunch I spent an hour or so working on updating the journal entry from Wednesday when I set out to Leuven. I didn’t finish it then because I had to stop to make some more fruit bread rolls as I’d run out just before I left.

And for once, I don’t know what happened but I managed to make a perfect dough and that doesn’t happen all the time, does it. If they bake as well as they look, they will be wonderful.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While the dough was “resting” I went out for my afternoon walk.

From my vantage point at the end of the car park overlooking the beach I could see that there was plenty of beach to be on. However despite the beautiful sunshine this afternoon, a far cry from when I awoke and it was teeming down, there weren’t all that many people down there.

That might possibly be connected to the fact that it was howling a gale out there. I spent much of my walk clinging onto my cap, thinking that it won’t be long before I’ll be bringing out the woolly hat to go on my woolly head.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There were several other brave people walking around the path on top of the cliff.

But those of us up there were not as brave as whoever it was who was out at sea in a small cabin cruiser.

This was the only boat that was out there this afternoon and that’s hardly a surprise with this wind and this sea.

The view was really clear this afternoon but I didn’t go and stand on top of the bunker to take a photo because I would have been blown off there and my camera has already had a lucky escape up there once.

people at pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021My route from near the lighthouse takes me down the path and across the car park to the end of the headland.

Down at the bottom on the lower path are the bench and the cabanon vauban and there were a few people loitering around there this afternoon.

They weren’t sitting down on the bench as most people do, but they seem to be quite interested in whatever it was that was happening lower down on the beach and the rocks below.

But whatever it was, I couldn’t see what had attracted their attention.

men fishing pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021It wasn’t just people on the end of the Pointe du Roc either.

We had a couple of fishermen out there this afternoon casting their lines into the sea from out on the rocks. The water isn’t particularly deep out there so they won’t be going for anything big.

The waves won’t help them very much either. The wind has stirred up quite a sea and the fish will be far too disorientated in the shallow, turbulent water for them to concentrate on any hook and bait that the fishermen might be casting.

fete de st clement seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was here I had a good look at the seafarers’ memorial.

It’s the Fête de St Clément today. He was one of the very earliest Popes and because of his beliefs he was exiled to the Crimea by Trajan in 100AD or thereabouts

However, according to legend (which is disputed) he continued to practise his beliefs and tried to evangelise the other prisoners on board the ship. As a result, they tied him to an anchor and cast him into the sea.

He is therefore the patron saint of mariners and they have been decorating the monument in his honour.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021My walk continued along the top of the cliff towards the viewpoint overlooking the outer harbour0

Although I said that I wouldn’t be posting anything about the chantier naval until there is some kind of movement or change of situation, I couldn’t for a moment remember where I was up to the last time that I saw the portable boat lift.

As a result, I took a photo of it so that I can compare it with the last photograph that I took of it to see if there has been any work done on it while I was away.

And I couldn’t see anything obvious. They must still be waiting for parts.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile, over at the ferry terminal, there wasn’t all that much going on there this afternoon either.

Moored over there is one of the Joly France boats. This one is the older one of the two. You can tell that by the windows in landscape format, the larger upper-deck superstructure and the absence of step in the stern.

There isn’t much else going on over there. A couple of cars were parked up on the quayside but I couldn’t see anyone loitering about. And at least they’ve managed to fold up the crane correctly.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Moored in front of Joly France is Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes out to the Ile de Chausey.

But neither she nor her friend moored behind her will be going out to the island for a while until the tide comes back in, despite the crowds on the sea wall waiting with eager anticipation for something exciting to happen.

Before I set out for my walk, I had set the coffee machine on the go ready for when I came back so I hurried home for my coffee.

The problem with my machine though is that it doesn’t heat up the coffee enough. One of these days I’ll buy an expensive machine that will keep the coffee piping hot for hours.

While my coffee was going cold I finished off Wednesday’s journal entry and that’s NOW ON LINE as well.

Later on the fruit buns were now ready to bake so I bunged them in the oven.

vegan pizza fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While they were cooking I assembled my pizza. I’d taken the dough out of the freezer earlier and rolled it out after I came back from my walk.

Once the fruit buns were ready, the pizza went into the oven too.

The fruit buns look absolutely delicious, but I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow. The pizza on the other hand actually was delicious and I really enjoyed that. Not the best that I’ve ever made, but pretty close to it

No dessert though. It was rather filling.

Now that I’ve finished my journal I’m off to bed shortly. I’ve an early start tomorrow and a lot to do, as well as going for my physiotherapy session so I need to be on form.

Saturday 20th November 2021 – IT SEEMS TO ME …

… that you’ either getting photos or dictaphone entries right now – one or the other and not both.

But over the course of the next few days things will be brought up to date. But then that’s the story of my life these days, isn’t it?

gare montparnasse rue du départ paris France Eric Hall photo November 2021And while we’re on the subject of photos and stories of my life, look at this photograph.

For four and a half years I’ve been struggling through the underground labyrinth from the Gare Montparnasse to the metro station, going up and down flights of stairs like there’s no tomorrow, struggling with suitcases and all kinds of luggage.

Today, I walked up two half-flights of stairs and then up an escalator, and then you can see what I have to overcome in order to reach the Gare Montparnasse. Down at the end of the Rue du Départ in the distance you can see the station, one street that’s straight and level, with the only issue being to wait for the traffic lights so I can cross the road.

How easy is this compared to how I used to travel?

It might have been even easier had I had a good night’s sleep last night. But I don’t sleep very well at all in the beds at this place in Leuven and last night was no exception.

martelarenplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021It didn’t take me long to tidy everything up, make my sandwiches and pack, and I was on the road by 05:35

When I arrived in Leuven on Wednesday I had intended to take a photograph of the Martelarenplein in the daylight but I forgot and so I took a photo on my way into the station.

Of course, you can’t see the work very well because there is a fence and a covering all around it and I have to poke the camera through whatever gap I can find.

martelarenplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021And the work has now spread pout right onto the front of the station building.

They are uprooting all of that now and it looks as if they are about to replace it with a different kind of paving block, and as for why they would want to do that I don’t know.

In the foreground we can see some more tactile pavement of the type that we saw on Monday, and in the background you can see the fence with the covering over it to stop nosy people like me poking cameras in to photograph the work.

08187 class 08 electric multiple unit gare de leuven railway station Belgium photo November 2021It was 05:55 when I set foot on the station platform.

Having completely forgotten that it was early on Saturday, I found that the next express to Brussels was at 06:33 and it was freezing. However there was a local stopper, an 08 class multiple unit, leaving at 06:08.

Although it arrives at Brussels-Midi at the same time as the express, it’s a lot warmer and more comfortable inside the train than sitting on the platform so I clambered aboard. And so I did, and we set off bang on time.

Thalys PBKA 4306 gare du midi brussels Belgium photo November 2021Our train pulled in at 07:00 and my train to Paris doesn’t leave at 07:43 so I had to loiter around in the cold for a while because like most railway stations, Brussels-Midi is a freezing, draughty station with nowhere to sit out of the wind and the cold.

The train was one of the PBKA – Paris Brussels Cologne Amsterdam – units and although these are quite old now, the are quite comfortable and I was glad to be able to be allowed on board early.

It was packed too, with hardly and empty seat. It seems that the 07:13 that I used to catch is no longer running so everyone piles on board this one. I had a young lady sitting next to me but she didn’t say a word throughout the whole journey.

Well, not that I would know too much about the whole journey because I was … errr … resting for about half of it.

As I mentioned earlier, the trip from the Gare du Nord to Gare Montparnasse was the easiest that I have had to date, but when I reached Gare Montparnasse, the wheels came off.

There’s already a 75-minute wait on the freezing, draughty concourse of the railway station but I did notice that the train that I should be catching hadn’t yet arrived from Granville. We were supposed to leave at 10:54 but it hadn’t even come in by then.

By now I was frozen to the marrow so I went of to buy a coffee and as usual, exactly as you might expect, while I was distracted the train pulled in so I had to struggle on board with a suitcase, a laptop bag, a bag with my lunch in it and a full mug of coffee and just two hands to hold it all.

84569 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As a result I couldn’t take a photo of my train – I’m not an octopus – and of course it had to be the rear of a two-trainset unit so I had to do the best that I could at Granville.

It was 11:36 when we eventually set off and for a change I was feeling rather dynamic and I’m not sure why, but I actually did some work on the train back home which makes a change.

Another thing that I did was to finish off reading a book that I had started to read a long time ago, the account of Parry’s voyage in Hecla and Fury which resulted in the latter being left behind on a beach on Somerset Island in 1829.

Her anchors were recovered and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we went TO SEE THEM IN 2014

84567 84565 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Having left Paris 40-odd minutes laten we were just over an hour late arriving in Granville and that filled me full of despair. I really could have done without that.

First thing that I did was to take a photo of the front bit of the unit on which I travelled. And then I took one of the front of the unit that was pulling me along. That’s the one on the left.

Being so late they had hauled another unit, the one on the right, out of the sheds to do the return trip back to Paris.

On the way down into town I called in at the Carrefour. Whatever else that might or might not happen, I can’t do without my mushrooms for my Sunday pizza. Not at any price.

For a change I took a new route through the town centre to avoid the crowds and thus it was maybe a little easier to walk.

It was still necessary for me to stop a few times on the way up the hill towards here, one stop of which was at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

marite belle france joly france philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021We have Belle France and one of the Joly France boats, the newer one of the two with the step in the back, moored together just down below.

Marité is down there too of course and over on the far side is the trawler Philcathane, moored where the gravel boats used to tie up. It looks as if we’ve seen the last of them.

And on the quayside is another shrink-wrapped boat. This kind of work is proving to be quite lucrative for the little Jersey Freighters.

boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way up the hill I noticed that the diversion signs had gone and the Rue Cambernon was open to traffic.

Accordingly I glanced down the Boulevard des Terreneuviers to see what was happening to the workmen’s compound. And there it was! Gone! And never called me mother!

What I shall have to do on Monday on my way to my physiotherapy is to go and see how they have finished off the work there.

Back at the apartment I struggled up the stairs into the apartment and crashed down in my chair for a good while to recover. I’d had a long hard journey.

Having backed up my computer with the files off the laptop I then went for tea. I had some falafel left over from Leuven so I finished them off with some pasta.

No washing-up tonight as the water is cold. And it won’t be warm until tomorrow. Anyway I’m too tired to do it so I’m going to vegetate for a while and then go off to bed. A good sleep will do me good but that remains to be seen.

And next morning (well, afternoon actually) I was able to bring up to date the journal with details of my voyages. On Friday night I was in my Welsh class. There was a teacher and a girl and then I turned up. That made two of us. At first I couldn’t understand what was happening because my screen was just so different from how it normally was but I eventually settled down. The girl had to leave nut another guy turned up. We were talking about going to the restaurant but he asked me “have you eaten anything yet? Are you going for a meal afterwards?” I replied “I don’t have any plans as such”. Then the girl came back by which time we had a man teacher, a change from a woman and we had to go back to read this article that we had just read a couple of minutes ago.

Later on I was with Shearings and a meal that we were having as though we’d all been away for a weekend somewhere, all the employees. I worked out where the girls were sitting so I picked a seat that was behind there so I could see them. I put down my stuff and went to find some bread to toast. Someone turned up and sat at my seat. I made myself some toast and went back and had them clear off and I sat down. I wanted some more but couldn’t find any bread. In the end, in the kitchen I found a pile of fruit bread and made myself some toast from that. Someone else came and sat down on my seat again. I thought that I would move them again in a minute. Then there was no coffee left, no orange juice left. In any case these girls hadn’t come down. I thought “this is turning into a right old mess, this is”.

Friday 19th November 2021 – JUST A FEW …

… more brief notes because I’m in the middle of watching a football match and when it’s finished I’m off to bed because I have to get up at 05:00.

And I do remember that I said that I was going to update the notes from yesterday but unfortunately things didn’t quite wotk out like that. Not the least reason being the fact that I had yet another bad night last night and I ended off drifting into sleep a couple of times this afternoon when I should have been working.

It felt as if I didn’t have any sleep at all last night but considering the amount of stuff that was on the dictaphone from last night I must have fallen asleep several times.

I was out in Caliburn last night, going from Winsford to Crewe and it was very late. I couldn’t think of what was wrong. I’d been driving for a few hundred yards and I suddenly realised thet I had no headlights. I looked around and there were no electrics of any kind working in the van. Just then I was going past a farm so I pulled into the farm yard to get off the road before someone ran into the back. Jerry and Mike were there, leading some camels with kids on them. They passed in through Caliburn and out the other side and then came back that way. They asked me what I was doing so I explained. They had a few suggestions but I suggested that it was the main fuse that had gone. Jerry said “hang on. We’ll have a look” and lifted up the bonnet but said “ohh it’s a new Transit and I don’t know these ones”. I had a look and saw that the battery had shifted position so I put it back. Sure enough, there was the main fuse underneath the battery and it had broken. Some woman came by now from the farm and asked what was going on. I explained to her but she replied “we don’t have one of those”. I said that I’d have to order one but in the meantime I was sure that I could rig up something so that I could carry on driving and do whatever I had to do.
Later on there was something about dressing up in fancy dress in the Welsh class. One guy had dressed as a canwyll yr ysbryd but I thought that he should have been more like a ghost with a sheet over him as well while he was doing it. There was quite a lot to this dream but I can’t remember any more than that
Some tme later I’d been out with with my friend from Congleton. She lived somewhere out beyond Manchester but I was far too tired to take her home so she arranged for her mother to come and pick her up from my family home which was actually where she lived in Congleton. We stopped somewhere for a quick flirt about, something like that, and then I drove back. She said “don’t park where you normally park. Pull up across the road” because her aunt had parked there once and a policeman had come along and moved her on
Finally someone was making a film about the Great Train Robbery. Of course they were disguising all the names and the names of towns and so on but it was quite clear what it was. I had some kind of rôle to play in it. I was on my way to the garage where everyone was assembling. There was a policewoman directing traffic so I had a chat to her. She was saying how glad she was going to be to get off work at the end of her shift. I thought “you’re going to have a surprise later on in that case”. I arrived at the garage and everyone was trying to organise themselves but there were still a few things that weren’t working. There was this red MkV Cortina and they couldn’t make the flashers work on it. One guy was frustrated and put a great big dent in the boot. The I noticed that a few pf the things were going wrong in this organisation. Some of the equipment wasn’t up to much. I immediately thought that this was going to be a catastrophe. Everyone would be caught quite quickly because of all this. I recommended not sharing out the money until much later when the hue and cry had died down a little. Someone there had guns and everything like that. I could see that several tragedies are going to arise in this affair if we weren’t careful.

When the alarm went off I staggered out of bed for my medication and then checked my mails and messages. Liz was on line too so we had a little chat for a while.

Today’s task was to choose the music for the next four radio programmes and that took far longer than it ought to have done as well. Mind you, had I been wide awake and in the mood to work I could have done it a lot quicker than I did

After breakfast I went out for a walk. I needed a bread knife because there isn’t one here, and you’ve no idea how hard it was to actually find one around Leuven. After visiting several shops I eventually tracked one down at Hema.

While I was out I went to Delhaize to buy the salad stuff and fruit for lunch today and for my butties tomorrow on my way home.

After lunch I carried on with the music, fighting off wave after wave of sleep, mostly very unsuccessfully, but at least it was only 10 minutes here and there, not several hours as was the case a couple of months ago.

Tea was falafel and pasta followed by soya dessert, and now I’m settling down to watch the football. I’ll finish these notes tomorrow.

Thursday 18th November 2021 – JUST A FEW …

… brief notes because even though it’s not yet 21:00 I’m off to bed. I’ve had a very long an exhausting day and I’ve already crashed out once.

What didn’t help was that I didn’t have much sleep last night. And it wasn’t just a case of tossing and turning, I was off on a few voyages too I was in Bolton last night. I’d gone to see a friend and had ended up at some crossroads not too far from his place. There was something that I had to do and that meant doing it in the college so I walked from the crossroads down the hill turning left down this steep hill through these roadworks and was nearly knocked over by a few bicycles, all this kind of thing. I ended up in Bolton town centre which was a seaport. There were loads of ships around and this huge festival taking place. I had a rough idea where the college was but I hadn’t seen any signs to it. When I reached the town centre I turned left to follow the river with all these fishing boats, even a little toy fishing boat with kids on it pretending to fish. There was a huge display of like artificial city walls with castles, fires and people running around waving a strange red and gold flag. I came to a street that was written in Basque. It said “street of the high college” which I imagined was the road that I wanted. It said “to the south college” also written in Basque even though this was at the north end of the town. I thought that I would go that way. On the way down I’d passed this area where they had loads of garden sheds installed and they were renting these out £48:00 per month for people to use as storage. I thought that that was a good idea for me if I go back, to rent a storage place there and I’d have everything that I needed at my disposal. According to my dictaphone Id walked 15 minutes and 47 seconds before I’d seen this sign to go to the college but it seemed like an awful lot longer than that.

Later on I’d received a message to go to a scrapyard somewhere in the North Midlands in connection with my insurance company. I was in the Opel Senator. I arrived there and someone gave me the precise details of how to park – put the steering wheel at 111° then 1° the other way then 111° the other way. I ended up alongside a compound. While I was waiting a guy came over and opened the door to say something to me and some other guy came along and hobbled in. He said that he was going to Harwood in Essex. Then I realised what this was all about. I was part of some group that would take people to wherever they were going if it was on the way of a journey that you were actually doing. You would basically register your journey and someone would come along and add themselves in. This guy had been in a car crash and his car had been taken here after the crash on the motorway. Because I was going somewhere down south they had patched his journey in with mine and I was to take him home

Leaving the bed was rather difficult an it took me longer than usual to shake a leg. And after checking the mails and medication I selected the music for one of my future radio programmes before heading off to the hospital.

First port of call was the cardiologist who ran the same series of tests that I’d had in France a few weeks ago. And then I could stagger off to the day centre for my treatment.

In the middle of that they called me back down to the cardiology department who gave me an electrography scan, just like I’d had at the cardiologist’s in France. And surprise, surprise. The results were the same too.

THe net result of all of this is that they are going to consider the results and see me in 4 weeks time when I’m next back for my treatment.

Back in the day centre they had an extreme amount of difficulty restarting the machine that pumps the plasma into me and as a result it was long past 18:00 when I finished there.

Having picked up my medication at the chemist’s (and doing my best to cut down on my medication I’m now up to 13 tablets each day) I headed off into town but as you might expect my favourite supermarket was closed and I had to buy food for tea at the dearer one just down the road from here.

Now I’ve finished tea, I’m off to bed. It’s miles walking around one of the largest hospitals in the world and I’m up to 140% of my daily activity. No wonder I’m exhausted.

Tomorrow when I’ve had a good sleep and I’ve chosen the rest of the music for the other programmes I’ll rewrite this and include the photos and tell you some more about this thoroughly exhausting day.

Wednesday 17th November 2021 – HERE I ALL AM …

… not exactly sitting in a rainbow but sitting on the settee in my little room in the Dekenstraat in Leuven. It’s that time again.

After having a really bad night yet again, I was up and about fairly early and it didn’t take too long for me to sort myself out, make my sandwiches and coffee and do a little cleaning up (only a little) before I headed off towards the railway station.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Before I went too far, I wanted to check to see that the NIKON 1 J5 was working properly and the dull sky of the early morning was a good time to try.

At the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne overlooking the Fish Processing Plant. The plant was illuminated as the refrigerated lorries were loading up and I reckoned that if it would produce something reasonable out of this, there would be no need to nip home and fetch another camera.

And when I looked at it later, it’s come out much better than I expected. I’ve said before that it’s not that the camera is a bad camera, it’s that I’m pushing it to the limits of its capabilities.

baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The photo encouraged me to have a little tinker with the settings and try to push the camera on a little more.

Here’s a nice wide-angle photo of the northern part of the Baie de Mont St Michel. The light on Le Loup is quite clear, as if a little blurred (which is hardly a surprise in this light at this speed with a hand-held shot) and the street lights around the bay from St Pair to Carolles are quite clear too.

It seems to me that the repair that I’ve had done to the camera is working well enough and now I’m tempted to send away the old NIKON D5000 that has never worked properly since I dropped it on A CONCRETE FLOOR IN QUÉBEC

The steps down the Rampe du Monte à Regret are still closed so I had to walk all the way down the Rue des Juifs and the Rue Paul Poirier which adds a few minutes to my time. But in compensation, the climb up to the top of the hill was much easier than it was the last time I dragged a suitcase up here.

There were only one or two stops to catch my breath and in reality I suppose that I could have pushed on regardless had I tried.

gec alstom regiolis 84563 gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The train wasn’t in yet so I had to wait for about 20 minutes for it to arrive.

It was just a 6-car unit today and there weren’t all that many passengers on board. I had a pair of seats to myself and that enabled me to back up my computer in peace and quiet for a change.

There was even 15 minutes when I could have a comfortable little doze to make up for what I didn’t have during the night.

The train pulled into Gare Montparnasse on time and once more I tried the route all the way down the Rue du Départ to the metro entrance. It really is much quicker and easier than going down into the labyrinth and clambering up and down all these flights of steps.

There was only one person in the queue at the kiosk at the bottom of the steps at the Metro entrance so I thought that this would be the moment to buy another pile of tickets as I’m running low.

However the woman in front of me, a Spaniard, was having difficulty with her French and was there for ages trying to understand what the guy behind the window was trying to tell her.

Eventually I managed to be served and I dashed down onto e very crowded platform where I had to wait a few minutes until an equally-packed train came in. We all scrambled aboard and I was lucky enough to find a seat.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4551 PBA gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo November 2021At the Gare du Nord I was still earlier than I used to be despite the encounter at the ticket window.

Consequently, as you might be expecting, we had to wait for an age for our train. There was already one trainset standing at the platform, one of the TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt “Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam” trainsets, but it was too much to expect that this was going to be mine.

Our train was going to be a two-trainset unit and the rear portion arrived from Lille rather late and had to be cleaned and tidied before we could board it.

TGV INOUI 216 are TGV Reseau Duplex gare de lille flandres railway station lille France Eric Hall photo November 2021It goes without saying that I would be right down at the far end of the train. However, although it took me longer to walk right down there, it means that I have less distance to walk at Lille.

It’s one of the TGV Reseau Duplex trainsets, and so once again we are travelling in a hybrid train made up of two different types of trainset. That’s becoming more and more of a regular occurrence.

Although we were late setting out from the Gare du Nord, the train made up the time by the time we reached Lille Flandres railway station. That was good news for me because I wasn’t in the mood to run down the road.

And the walk to Lille Europe was easier than last time too.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4519 PBA gare de lille europe railway station lille France Eric Hall photo November 2021As I walked down the steps (the escalator wasn’t working) into the station at Lille Europe, the train for Brussels pulled in at the same time.

That’s not an issue because there’s a 20-minute wait while they uncouple the front trainset so there wasn’t any panic. The trainset that was left behind was another TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam trainset.

Our train set off on time and I had a nice relaxing journey reading a book on the laptop all the way to Brussels

We were a few minutes late arriving in Brussels so I had to run for my train to Leuven.

push me pull you gare du midi brussels belgium Eric Hall photo November 2021However I gave that up when I found that the escalator to the platform was out of order. I wasn’t up to running all the way up the stairs with my suitcase. Instead I went and waited for the next one.

That one was one of the pushme-pullyou trains that run between Eupen and Oostende and as usual, the locomotive was at the rear end pushing the train along.

It was only 10 minutes behind the one to Hasselt and Genk so I didn’t have to hang around too long and for a change at the Gare du Midi it wasn’t too cold and draughty standing on the platform.

class 18 electric locomotive gare de leuven railway station leuven belgium Eric Hall photo November 2021When we arrived at Leuven I had to hang a round for a couple of minutes to see what the locomotive was.

As I expected, it was one of the Class 18 electric locomotives behind (or in front of) which we travel most of the time. They provide most of the motive power to the long-distance Inter-City trains.

Once the train had pulled away I went to the supermarket at the back of the station for my drink and, for a change, my bread too. I’m not going to have time to go to the supermarket this evening so as long as I have my stuff for breakfast I’ll be fine.

cherry picker martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo November 2021Outside the railway station across the road in the Martelarenplein, there was a cherry picker parked up.

That can only mean one thing – and that is that the Christmas decorations will be going up any moment soon. It’s that time of year already.

The walk down to my little room was easier than it has been of late, and as I arrived I bumped into the centre manager. We had a little chat. After all, it’s been a few months since I’ve seen him last.

After a little doze I had a shower and washed my clothes and then went out to meet Alison. We went back to her house for falafel and chips, and a nice long chat..

Now I’m back here and I’m off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and I’m exhausted as you might expect. A good sleep will do me good and hopefully I’ll be fighting fit for my appointment.

And an early trip out to buy a breadknife as there isn’t one here and I’ll be struggling to cut the loaf that I had bought.